Okay, I have monitored this website on an occasional basis for the last 4 years. I can promise you that I am not a troll, although given what I have seen here in my time, I am sure someone will accuse me of being one. Notwithstanding that, I will give you my honest opinion of Cooley from my own perspective of being a student and graduate from there. Many people on this website will continually bash Cooley because it is the "chic thing" to do. Although, I admit that Cooley brings a lot of this ridicule upon itself by its asinine "Ranking the Law Schools Ranking System." From my own non-scientific observations of Cooley student's feeling regarding these rankings, I would guess that 90%+ of the students think that these rankings are ridiculous and do far more harm to the school than help. Regardless, they are published every year (the reasons for which I could go on about, but I will save that for another day). Anyways, as far as Cooley goes for an education, I will say that I don't feel that my quality of education suffered at all there. I went to Cooley because I wanted to be a lawyer above all else and could see myself doing nothing else (I was very interested in criminal law). I lived in the Detroit area and did not want to move because I was in (at the time) a serious relationship (which ended a month into law school... bad decision in retrospect). Yes, I could have went to UDM or Wayne State, but Cooley offered me an 85% scholarship, and I could not justify going to those schools for near-sticker price given a marginal difference in reputation (if you live in Michigan, Cooley is very much considered on par with UDM and Wayne State, give or take a "big firm" or two).
Anyways, there was a couple of things I was very trepidatious about regarding Cooley when I started. First, it was the reputation on this website and others, e.g. Above the Law, etc. I had read all of the people bashing it and how I would have near zero hope of finding employment upon graduation. Second, I was also wary of Cooley's reputation of being a high acceptance/low graduation rate school. Third, I was wary of the perception that Cooley was a "degree mill" and the stigma of graduating from there, assuming I did. Despite these doubts, I decided to attend there hoping that if I did well enough I could always transfer out if I wanted to leave (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not go to ANY law school thinking this - most times you will not succeed in doing well enough to transfer). So I started in September of 2009 - and while I could probably write for hours of my different experiences at Cooley, for the most part it was a wonderful law school experience. I busted my ass my first semester and 4.0'd it, all-in-all I ended up in the top 10% of my class in my first year - I had the opportunity to transfer out, but chose not to do it for a myriad of reasons that basically boiled down to the fact that I figured out how to succeed there, and was very confident of my ability to graduate in the top 5% of my class. I did not want to take on the extra debt of a higher ranked school, when I had no interest in "big law" I wanted to be a prosecutor. I continued to bust my ass at Cooley, and by the time I graduated, I finished number 19 in my class of 519 (ridiculous class size, I know).
Despite what you may hear on this website, if you go to Cooley and you do very well, you will likely to find some kind of legal employment. I can only say this because I graduated in May took the Texas Bar in July and was hired at the first DA's Office I applied to in Texas, where I had 0 connections. I also have a number of friends who graduated in the top 25%. Two of these friends landed Federal Judicial Clerkship's in Eastern District of Michigan, a couple did Summer Associates at prestigious firms in the Detroit area, which offered them full-time positions upon the conclusions of their summers. Many of my friends have landed really good jobs at medium-size firms. Some of them have landed jobs with different federal/state agencies. I say all of this to say that it is not a guaranteed trip to your latest bar-tending gig upon graduation, as many on this website would have you to believe.
BUT here is my caveat, if you go to Cooley with the cavalier attitude that you will be handed a big firm associate position if you just graduate (as many a misguided law student has), that will not happen, you will most likely fail out in your first year, and if you do happen to graduate then good luck doing document review until a shitty personal injury firm decides to take a flier on you. You will have to bust your ass and outwork everyone around you and you will have to network the shit out of everyone you can. In my experience this is the most important part of law school (besides getting good grades), it really is all about "who you know" as far as getting a job after graduation. I know I say that after I got a job where I had 0 connections, but believe me that is the anomaly, the majority of the people I know who have gotten jobs got them because they interned/externed at a place and really blew their supervisor(s) socks off. I could keep rambling on about Cooley and my experiences but it is getting late and I have to get up early for work (which I love every minute of). So in closing I will give you my top three favorite and not so favorite things about Cooley.
Favorites: (1) The professors for the most part are awesome, most of them have had very successful careers prior to law school and they bring a very practical approach to law school, which believe me you will learn to appreciate. (2) The students at Cooley are not as competitive as other law schools, everyone (for the most part) is willing to share everything they have and in my experience there is a much greater sense of camaraderie there. (3) The legal education you will receive there is without a doubt top-notch, as much of a bad rap Cooley gets, I cannot emphasize the quality of education you will receive there. They pay and treat their professors very, very well. As such, they have very high standards when it comes to quality of education and who they hire. Now, I did have a couple of bad professors but for the most part, I do not feel my education suffered at all by attending there.
Non-Favorites: (1) The prevailing attitude at the top of the Cooley administration of "fuck everyone else and the ABA we are going to do whatever the hell we want." This really bothered me because I do think Cooley could do a lot of things to help their reputation in the law school community, but they really, honestly don't give that much of a shit. (2) Their scheduling: Cooley is set up on a trimester schedule, meaning most people go to school year round, so it makes it very difficult to do extracurricular legal work full time (although it can be done if you really want to do it). (3) The number of required courses you have to take to graduate. At Cooley, you will only be able to take a few electives (especially if you max out your externship hours) because there is a very high number of required courses that most schools do not make you take, i.e. fed admin, sales, secured transactions, bus orgs, wills/trusts, evidence, tax, etc. It is very frustrating because I was not able to take a lot of classes that I would have been able to at other law schools simply because I did not have the room to take them.
In sum, I will say that my opinion of Cooley is based upon my own experiences. You can talk to other people and they will give you a terrible review of their time there. I truly believe that if you decide to go to Cooley, it will be what you make it, but only you will be able to assess your circumstances and decide whether it is worth it for you. I am assuming you are employed already and you will be maintaining your employment. With that being the case, I can understand why you are considering Cooley (because of their weekend and night program that allows you to keep your job). If you decided to go to Cooley, I would NOT quit your job and try to keep your debt as low as possible - preferably 0 if you can handle it. It is not advisable to go to Cooley if you have to quit your job and get into a significant amount of debt - the legal market is just too saturated right now. But at the same time, if you are dead-set on becoming a lawyer no matter the cost, I understand (very, very BIG gamble). Be prepared, however, to lie awake many a sleepless night after perusing these and other forums worried about what you have gotten yourself into.