1973 : Law Classes Begin at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing

January 15, 2023 all-day

Photo of Masonic Temple Building in Lansing, courtesy of Wikipedia

With 76 students enrolled, Michigan’s 5th law school — and the only one outside Detroit or Ann Arbor — began classes on Monday night, January 15, 1973. It’s name honors a Michigan Supreme Court Justice of a century ago, Thomas McIntyre Cooley, who is remembered as one of the State’s outstanding jurists. On the Supreme Court bench from 1865 to 1885, Cooley was also Dean of the University of Michigan Law School, the first chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and author of numerous legal textbooks. He died in 1898.

Since its beginnings, the Cooley Law School expanded and became one of the largest law schools in the country. In 2006, Cooley had more than 2,900 students at its Lansing campus alone. Last year, it had fewer than 1,800 spread across five campuses.

More recently, the school has renamed itself the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and has closed one campus in Ann Arbor (as of the end of 2014).

Sources :

State Journal, January 12, 1973.

Kem Palmer, “Law school plans to sell former Masonic Temple building”, Lansing State Journal, December 22, 2014.