Thursday, September 16, 2004

Thomas M. Cooley Rankings and What It's Really Like

Given the much maligned Thomas M. Cooley School of Law ranking in USNWR combined with the disdain many in legal academia allegedly have toward this school - the place is not what I expected.

I envisioned such a lowly ranked (whatever that means) law school would have leaky plumbing, facilities that would at best prove marginal, and barely meet the ABA standards. I think I envisioned something akin to that fictional university in The Waterboy with Adam Shandler and Henry Winkler. What I found was a law school with excellent facilities, exceptionally bright and talented professors, and a student body that thus far has struck me as very level-headed and practical.

Because most of my classes are on weekends, the students I attend class with tend to be a bit older than the overall Cooley average. This is subject to color my perspective on the school overall as most, if not all, if my fellow students are fairly laid back and tend to ask (almost always) relevant questions during class. I have yet to encounter anyone asking anything really zany ("What if a kitten from Mars landed on the property...") or absurd, and the few times we have veered slightly off into goofy subject material - we tend to come back pretty quick. I think this is due to the people in my class being pretty cool, and the prof's knowing how to avoid going places we need-not-go.

I enjoy all of my classes and each of the professors has thus far been, at least in my opinion, exceptional in way or another. Property is probably the roughest to get through, but the prof is new and I think looking to find his stride. He's looking for the right balance or mix of lecture and Socratic methods, and I think in time and with some practice he'll get there. He certainly has a solid background and understanding of the subject matter, but his delivery seems to be going through some transformations. I tend to think in another couple of weeks he'll have that worked out and the class will "pick up" a bit.

While all of my professors are exceptional, some stand out more than others -but for different reasons. My Criminal Law professor is a sitting circuit judge and very practical, realistic, funny, and frankly his class is just a pure joy. If only every law class could be like Judge Tahvonen's it would be border-line bliss (well... maybe not bliss, but definitely pure enjoyment). His Socratic method is about as gentle as it gets and his lectures are never boring. This is bad and good. The good part is the class is awesome - rape, murder and incest have never been so much fun! The downside, well, it's same as the upside. I don't take as many notes as I should due in part to my enjoyment of the class.


At Wednesday, September 29, 2004 3:28:00 PM, Blogger Evan said...

Agreed. Tahvonen is great.

At Thursday, May 19, 2005 9:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how long have you been at cooley? don't you find that they are hard markers?

At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 6:58:00 PM, Blogger MajQa' said...

I've been at Cooley for one year and will be finishing my JD somewhere else.

Yes. I suspect they grade pretty hard, but that's their model - lots of people get in and very few people make it out.


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