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Cooley Law School plans to open at old Ave Maria

Tuesday, June 09, 2009
The Ann Arbor News

The Thomas Cooley M. Law School in Lansing announced Monday that it will open a campus in Ann Arbor this fall in the space that housed the Ave Maria Law School.

Ave Maria is moving from its Plymouth Road location to Naples, Fla., near Ave Maria University, which law school founder and former Domino's Pizza owner Thomas S. Monaghan built there. Classes in Ann Arbor ended last month.

"There was a unique opportunity when Ave Maria announced it would relocate to Naples,'' Cooley Law School President and Dean Don LeDuc said. "The demographics looked good, and we decided give it a shot. ... Ann Arbor's an exciting place with a long-standing connection to Thomas M. Cooley. It fits so well, it's almost irresistible.''

Cooley, a privately operated law school, opened in Lansing a little more than 100 years after Thomas M. Cooley became dean of the University of Michigan Law School.

Classes will begin at the Ann Arbor location on Sept. 8. The 84,500-square-foot campus at 3475 Plymouth Road will eventually employ 37 people, half of whom are existing Cooley employees, LeDuc said.

Tuition for the fall has not been set, but right now it is $26,800 for full-time students, LeDuc said.

In addition to Lansing, Cooley also has campuses in Auburn Hills and Grand Rapids.

As at its other campuses, Cooley in Ann Arbor will admit incoming students three times a year - January, May and September. Students starting in May can take evening courses geared to professionals who need to attend classes after work.

"We have already received deposits from 84 students confirming their position in the incoming September class in Ann Arbor,'' Paul Zelenski, associate dean for enrollment and student services at Cooley, said in a press release. "The level of interest among these existing applicants demonstrates how desirable an Ann Arbor location is for a law school.''

LeDuc said those students had applied to Cooley's other campuses but prefer the Ann Arbor location.

Cooley says it is the nation's largest law school. It has flexible scheduling that allows students to attend class during the day, night or weekend hours.