Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The $370,245 “Professor Emeritus”: Fourth Tier Dung Pit Thomas M. Cooley Law Sewer’s Thomas E. Brennan

TTTThoma$ M. Cooley Recently Called Out By LSAT Instructor:

Check out this April 30, 2012 blog entry from LSAT tutor Steve Schwartz. The piece was entitled “Cooley Law School Founder Still Paid Six Figures. Why?” Here is the opening:

“Former Michigan Chief Justice and Cooley Law School founder Thomas E. Brennan retired in 2002.

According to Cooley's 3 most recent IRS filings available on GuideStar, he received $370,245 (2009-10 - PDF p35), $368,581 (2008-9 - PDF p50), and $365,008 (2007-8 - PDF p6) in total compensation for each of those years.

These IRS documents suggest that his formal titles are "Professor Emeritus" and "Former President" and that he works just 10 hours/week. Taking the average of his total compensation for these 3 years, and assuming he worked 52 weeks/year (no vacations), he earned $707.58/hour during this 3-year period.” [Emphasis mine]

The author also points out that tuition went from $28,740 in 2009-2010 to $36,750, for the 2011-2012 academic year. By the way, if you have trouble going to sleep, click on the attached video - where this dinosaur pontificates on boring constitutional and basic U.S. history. What law student doesn’t want to hear the incoherent political ramblings of an old fart?!

Here are Shwartz’z concluding and cutting comments:

“Key questions:

-Why has Cooley provided Brennan with over $350,000/year in compensation while he's ostensibly been living across the country in Florida, retired, and working on unrelated projects? 

 -What degree of value has he truly provided to the law school, and the students, since retiring? 

 -For how long will the law school continue to compensate him at the students' expense?”

Apparently, the commode fully understands that it can continue to pay retired faculty members handsome salaries, as long as the federally-backed student loan system is in place. But the pigs keep squealing and bragging about having the largest enrollment of any ABA-accredited school.  Yes, because that is such a great accomplishment.

Brennan’s Background:

Thomas Brennan authors a blog that focuses on politics, golf, and old man rants. Does the school really feel that such work is worthy of a big-ass paycheck?! (After all, how many classes does he teach?) As you can see, Thomas E. Brennan will turn 83 later this month. Surely, you are aware that Thomas E. Brennan was chief of Michigan’s state supreme court. He founded this private landfill, which opened its TTTT doors in 1972. Since that time, the school has buried a lot of its graduates financially.

I reported on this man’s ridiculous salary, back on July 18, 2011. What do you expect from such an embarrassing, putrid institution? Read the entire entry, to view some interesting marital and family relationships among the board and faculty.

Fourth Tier Cesspool Cooley Also Pisses Away Money on Other Endeavors:

On February 23, 2010, ATL’s Elie Mystal backhanded the toilet, for purchasing naming rights to a triple A baseball stadium. The entry was labeled “Thomas M. Cooley Law School Buys Stadium Naming Rights.” Here is a highlight, from that piece:

“Okay, the legal economy is in the tank. Recent law graduates are having a tough time finding jobs. Graduates from lower tier law schools are getting squeezed as top tier law students and deferred associates compete for jobs and opportunities. You get the picture.

Now enter Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The school that’s ranked 12th by Thomas M. Cooley Law School and is considered fourth tier by everyone else. With over 3,500 full- and part-time students, Cooley gives new meaning to the term “diploma mill.” Despite the terrible economy the school is expanding, ensuring that even more law students will know what it feels like to pay off post graduate educational debts with extra shifts at McDonalds.

What is Cooley Law School doing to improve the lot of the students suckered into a 4th tier law school? It’s buying the naming rights to a minor league baseball stadium. I’m not joking. Cooley is taking the tuition dollars of its students and buying naming rights. Naming rights. I guess replacing all the desks and lecterns with steaming piles of dung was just a little bit too expensive for the bigwigs at Cooley. Buying naming rights gets the same message across to students.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, because purchasing naming rights to a baseball stadium is going to help Cooley students land paid employment, right?!?! It is CLEAR that the school does not put the interests of its students first. In the end, the fourth tier trash pit is simply seeking to market itself to a bigger audience.

Keep in mind that this PRIVATE DIPLOMA MILL - which already operates four locations in Michigan - will soon open a new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida. Yes, this school truly cares about providing its students with a quality “education,” huh?!?! In terms of watering down the product, this fifth branch is a further waste of money. However, the school likely sees it as a wise investment.

Conclusion: Thomas M. Cooley Law Sewer is the biggest laughingstock in U.S. “legal education.” It truly is a dung heap. Only a delusional anal cyst would argue otherwise. Simply put, there is no valid justification for paying such outlandish salary to a retired “professor” - even one designated as “professor emeritus.”


  1. First post. Yay!

  2. I recently talked someone out of going law school, or Cooley I should say since it was the only school that admitted him. My friend had a 3.2 GPA but a 139 LSAT score. He applied to 5 schools (all on fee waivers) and Cooley was the only one to welcome him with open arms.

    Cooley is notorious for admitting marginal candidates (who have no shot of passing the bar exam or practicing law) and count on flunking a huge percentage of the 1L class (I believe the percentage fluctuates between 25% to 33%). And guess what? The school pockets all that tuition money while the 1L that is kicked out owes close to $40K for trying a venture that he/she was destined to fail. My friend was unaware of this practice and when he read up on it on the internet, he was smart enough to realize this scheme is just plain wrong. I suppose we know what they do with the 1L flunk outs' tuition money: It helps pay for this old geezer's lavish lifestyle in sunny Florida. Talk about a Platinum parachute.

  3. This school does flunk out a lot of its students. That's what happens when you admit anyone with a pulse. If you only scored a 139 that oughtta tell you something. You aren't cut out to be a law student, let alone a lawyer. But does this stop the kiddies from going to law school when some shit heap gives them a chance? No.

    You see, these hapless bums think and believe they're gonna set the world on fire with all their brilliance. Never mind they scored a pathetic 139 or 145 on the lsat. They can tell themselves the lsat is culturally biased or doesn't test logic well. The question that tutor guy should've asked is Can these kids get any dumber?

  4. Good lord that's a lot of money!


    Check out this dreck entitled "Honorable Thomas E. Brennan - Founder, Former President, Dean Emeritus." The fourth tier garbage heap proudly displays this homage on its website. Here is the entire text:

    "Judge Brennan was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1953, and practiced law in Detroit for nine years. He was elected to the Detroit Common Pleas Court in 1961, advancing to the Wayne County Circuit Court and finally to the Michigan Supreme Court, where he served as Chief Justice in 1969 and 1970.

    In 1972 Judge Brennan founded the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. In 1974 he resigned from the Court to become the school's first full-time Dean. During his decanal tenure, Judge Brennan founded the Cooley Legal Authors Society, the Student Bar Association, the Scholastic Review Board, the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, and he designed the school's year-round, three-divisional system.

    Judge Brennan served as President of the law school from 1979 until he retired on January 19, 2002, and also served on the Board of Directors from 1972 until 2002. The Honorable Thomas E. Brennan Law Library is named in his honor."

    To paraphrase Steve Schwartz: Why in the hell is this man still receiving a big-ass paycheck, from this school? Gratitude CERTAINLY does not need to cost $1,103,834, over the course of three years. Hell, this brief hagiography of Brennan clearly mentions that he retired from Cooley in 2002!

    You can also check out this brief 2 page PDF, where Brennan shares his political and philosophical views. The piece starts with mentioning how Brennan ran for office unsuccessfully five times, before finally being elected on his sixth try.

    Look at this gem, from column four on page one:

    “What do you tell a young lawyer?

    Work hard and do your best at serving your client and be faithful to the law and maximize your opportunities.

    I remember working with the American Bar Association one time, trying to persuade them that what we’re doing (at Cooley) is a good thing. They kept saying, well, you take all these people with LSAT scores, and blah, blah, blah…in those days the LSAT was measured from 200 to 800 or something like that, and the median score was 500. We took some people who were under 500, around 400 or so, and we had been doing it for a long time.”

    Some things never change at this diploma mill. By the way, is anyone really faithful to the human political and social construct known as "the law"?!

  6. This story reminds me of something published on Above The Law about the late President of Touro law School, where I attended:

    I wonder how many other law schools funnel student loan money around in odd ways if one cares to dig.

    1. All of them, probably....they have hookers to pay off, or guys blackmailing them over hookers, or some sort of complicated money-laundering scheme in the back room. Just bet on it.

      And I'm guessing similar crap is going on at some of the regular colleges and universities....notice at the University of California at San Diego you don't write checks to the college, you write them to the Board of Trustees (but it is a Land Grant college, so that might be an explanation.) I've heard nasty things about colleges in Louisiana (LSU-Shreveport has funding issues), Texas A&M - Texarkana tries to silence critics, some of the more rural colleges have weird drinking problems, and so on.

  7. I blame a lot of this on the culture of the legal profession--law generally is very conservative. I came across the occasional liberal in school, but even they were obsessed with power and the exercising of it. The culture of the law prefers tradition over progress and ethics over morality. At best it is a profession that leads to logical arguments rather than sound wisdom. Case after case, decade after decade the law has not been at the forefront of doing good for society despite it's claims to the contrary.

    This is one of the few professions where you can have people who are barely alive still considered "valuable" it's all the prestige trick rearing its head. Or in this case, clearly a payoff to the person that started the ponzi scheme.

  8. This guy's 82, and he's been retired for 10 fucking years. No way in hell should he be making $300K per year. I mean, what's he doing to earn that money? He's not teaching class. Not running clinics. It's open greed on the part of the school.

  9. OhioDocReviewerMay 2, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    "The Wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley" (with apologies to Gordon Lightfoot)

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    The school, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And its library, they say, is quite roomy

    With a load of student loans, several thousand accounts more
    That the Thomas M. Cooley would soon empty.
    That big scam, it's true, was a turd through and through
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

    That school was a crime on the American side
    A crummy diploma mill in Mid-Michigan
    As the big toilets go, it was bigger than most
    With a CSO and a dean both well seasoned.

    Concluding some terms with a couple of law firms
    That they sent fully locked and loaded for Kurzon
    And later that month when the dean's phone bell rang
    Could it be that court word they'd been fearin'?

    When Graduation Day came, the old crook (the dean) came on stage sayin'.
    "Fellas, it's tough, but we no longer need ya."
    Nine months later, as employment surveys came in, he said
    "Fellas, your money was good, but now I don't know ya."

    The Dean e-mailed in, he had discovery requests comin' in
    And his TTTT school and job was in peril.
    And later that fight, when the real stats were brought to light
    Came the wreck of the Thomas M. Cooley.

    Does any one know, where the love of God goes
    When your JD gets you just ten dollars an hour?
    The alumni all say they should have dropped out their first day
    Instead they've got nothing but debt and wasted years behind them.

    The alums' marriages split up or they might have suicided;
    Many became broke and went under.
    And all that remains is shame and blame in the faces
    Of the wives and the kids over their blunder

    Ann Arbor expands its rolls, Grand Rapids bursts at the seams
    The dean adds rooms onto his nice Tudor mansion.
    Lansing, Michigan schemes off young naifs' dreams;
    Soon Tampa Bay will be open for morons.

    As everyone knows Cooley's farther below even Touro
    She'll take in any lemming that can find her,
    And the graduates will all go, as the dean and staff know
    With tons of non-dischargeable debt well-encumbered.

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
    In the Toileteer Lawyers' Cathedral.
    The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine thousand times
    For each grad from the Thomas M. Cooley.

    The legend lives on from the lawyers all 'round
    Of the big school they call Thomas M. Cooley
    Ol' Cooley, it is said, gives her grads up for dead
    And the fails of its grads come often and early.

  10. He looks jaundiced.

    Then again, he and the rest of the school's higher-ups might be infected with something even worse.

  11. This story doesn't surprise me as these types of compensation packages have become the norm in an era where there is a culture of accepted corruption. Look at what happened at Dewey LeBeouf. A few partners were guaranteed millions in exchange for non-guaranteed performance. Several took the cash while the firm leveraged itself out to bondholders in order to pay those huge sums of money and now the firm can't even pay its FEDEX bill. Thousands of associates, junior and non-equity partners will be fucked and the staff will be fucked even harder. The difference between the Dewey and Cooley situation is that the former borrowed money to pay off these parasite partners while the latter just siphons tuition money paid by sucker lemmings into these handsome compensation packages. I cannot fathom getting paid $300K every year for the rest of my life after retiring. Is this some sort of lifetime homeage payment to the man that built the Cooley gravy train?

  12. Why give all that money to one old (retired) man? What good is it doing there. I'll bet this old man is already sitting on a big stack of money. This is a waste of resources. Plain and simple.

  13. You can't really call Cooley out on this one. Why? They are not the only ones doing this. There are numerous universities that have faculty members who neither teach nor perform research. They are just there for accreditation purposes and to boost the school's image. This is so the school can say, "hey look well know legal expert X on our faculty." These phantom faculty members are just selling their credentials.

    In my school, we had SJDs, LLMs, JDs, and PhDs. But, there was one SJD in particular; who caught my attention. He taught and researched F/T each semester. He summers off. Nothing suspicious there right?

    I found out by accident; he was also F/T faculty at Cooley and two other law schools. During my three year tenure, he never took even a semester off to teach at these places.

    This Cooley guy is just charging $300K to use his credentials. It was probably understood from the beginning that he would never teach at Cooley.

    If you want to blame anyone, then blame the ABA for letting this practice continue.

  14. Oh! if anyone needs a BS,MBA,JD,EA for phantom faculty position let me know. I want it understood; I don't teach, research, or advise. I will not relocate. But as a phantom faculty member who will know. I can do faculty mixers and seminars if munchies are served. I reserve the right to be a F/T phantom faculty member at at least two other schools. min yearly salalry $150K.

    reply to

  15. Available: If anyone has an opening for a bullshit law faculty position, let me know. In between watching the Simpsons and playing on my Xbox, I will try to return your call.

    Minimum salary: $120K.

    Unlike the others, I will actually teach what little I know. I'll even teach 3 classes a semester.

  16. I also volunteer. I have a J.D. and M.S. and also taught at the University of Phoenix online for four years. People make fun of the UOP but I doubt it is even less selective then Cooley. I'll teach three classes a term for $115,000 undercutting 11:10 for $5K. Sorry guy but its a jungle out there. I'll even pretend to read and appreciate Brian Leitner's articles and get my TAs to write some under my name.


    You should all read this May 4, 2012 entry on Inside the Law School Scam. It is entitled “Using the legal process to silence critics.” Look at this opening:

    “The Thomas M. Cooley Law School served me with a subpoena yesterday afternoon, commanding me to produce certain documents purportedly relevant to this civil action. The documents in question include all my communications with the defendants, and "all documents and communications . . . that you had or exchanged with any person regarding how (i) Thomas M. Cooley Law School reports its post graduation employment rates or (ii) your communications with David Anziska regarding any inquiry or investigation he discussed with you about how law schools report post-graduate employment and salary data.”

    Towards the end, Campos states:

    “Cooley's real problem has nothing to do with supposed defamatory claims on what, until it filed this suit, was a profoundly obscure blog, and everything to do with what has been dubbed the the Streisand Effect. The Streisand Effect got its name from an ill-fated lawsuit brought by the famous singer against a photographer who published a photograph of her Malibu house on the internet. Streisand's suit backfired when publicity regarding it led to the photograph being viewed by hundreds of thousands of web surfers.

    Cooley is getting more on-line publicity than ever these days, such as for example this blog post, pointing out that the school's founder, "Professor Emeritus" Thomas E. Brennan was paid more than one million dollars between 2007-08 and 2009-10 for what even the school characterizes as less than ten hours per week of "work." Brennan's days seem to be in significant part filled by authoring a blog chock full of classic cranky old man rantings about, among other things, how The Gay is destroying the nation's moral fiber, while being paid more than $700 per hour (this assumes a 52-week work year) to compile "Judging the Law Schools," Cooley's very own ranking system, which in its 2010 edition is gracious enough to allow Harvard to deny Cooley the honor of being ranked the top law school in America (global and inter-galactic rankings are not yet available).”

    If you haven’t sent in your seat deposit to this commode yet, what are you waiting for, lemming?!

  18. It seems like it would actually be somewhat difficult work being a phantom law professor.

    Not so much the hours, which are extremely cushy when compared to any kind of honest (Or even some forms of dishonest work).
    The stress however of having the bare the weight of knowing that your very existance is a scam would be hard. The phantom law professor must enjoy filet mingon while knowing that their school's graduates are feasting on beef flavored raman. The phantom faculty have to live in their big house knowing that their school's graduates are living with their parents. It could drive a man to drink (Grey Goose, while the grads drink Popov to kill the pain). It can even cause madness, with symptoms to include posting ignorant rants on an ignorant blog about how the gay is taking over America or something.

    Imagine having to fly in from Flordia during Graduation, having to look your school's debt soaked graduates in the eye while you hand them their diploma; which will be mocked, or even used as a coaster by a hiring partner. It would a more genteil and refined version of working in a slaughterhouse.

  19. Geez law school, corruption, and backdoor deals seems to go hand and hand. Look forward to the follow-up articles as more and more of these so called professors are uncovered.

  20. It just keeps getting more insane / inane with each passing year:



    Consider that these conditions include that nearly 10,000 people were admitted to the New York bar last year, while according to state and federal calculations the state will produce 1,700 jobs for lawyers each year over the next decade, via net replacement and growth combined. What this means of course is that the large majority of people admitted to the New York bar aren't going to get jobs as lawyers in New York. I imagine it would also come as quite a surprise to the learned judge to be informed that most people taking the New York bar have very negative net worth, enormous educational debts (graduates of 13 New York law schools had average law school debts of more than $120,000 in 2011), and income streams -- if any -- that are far too small to service their debt obligations which means that . . . wait for it . . . they couldn't possibly afford to pay for legal services, making them ideal candidates to receive pro bono legal representation (it's like rain on your wedding day).

    1. This comment doesn't take into consideration that many who get a law degree have no intention of practicing law -- individuals and corporations need knowledge of the law to keep themselves on the up and up, this those with law degrees are in demand for their expertise in the area of law and research. I find this entire website to be full of jealousy and mean intent. Judge Brennan brought a lot of economic development to the city of Lansing and worked extremely hard to make it possible for those who need to know the law to get a legal education. I admire him for his entrepreneurial spirit and have no problem with him being is a fraction of what large corporations pay their top execs when they retire, and Brennan has helped thousands become law-educated men and women.....certainly more than most corporations do to improve the lot of humanity!

    2. This article doesn't take into consideration that many law school graduates don't intend to practice law, but their expertise is needed in various businesses to keep them up to date on how they must adhere to the law. Our son-in-law, for example, works in the banking industry, being sure that the business practices are within the law. Thomas E. Brennan has given an opportunity to thousands of students to gain knowledge of the law. Yes, some don't make it. But they had their chance. And many who were not admitted to other schools DID make it and are successfully practicing law in their communities. I see this blog as a expressions of jealousy and mean attacks on a man and his school, a school that has given opportunities to those that others would not consider..



    nestor (May 3, 2012 - 2:43 pm)

    It seems to me just another way for the law schools to make money. Clearly, an unlicensed JD with no experience, no office and no malpractice insurance is in no position to do meaningful pro bono work, apart from the fact that he can't anyway because law school doesn't teach the practice of law. However, law schools could add a pro boon clinic to their curricula for, say, another $1000. So, let's do a little math. Two hundred students in a class each pay $1,000, an adjunct clinical law professor is hired for $70,000 to supervise, and the school nets another $130,000 to pay to their struggling law professors. If the school is a state school, there probably isn't even a problem with malpractice due to sovereign immunity. And the New York Bar gets to feel good about itself by doing charity with other peoples' labor. It's a win-win!



    Right answer. It's a win-win. Well.. for everyone except the students, of course. And that, Dear Reader, is the Honorable and Prestigious field of Law in a Nutshell.

  22. This profession is a shithole. The judges are worse than the professors. They're run just like corrupt business (or mafia) schemes. Lure in the mark and fuck him over real good.

  23. Apparently, this fourth tier trash pit has subpoenaed another critic. Check out Cryn Johannsen's entry from yesterday.

    "FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2012

    Thomas M. Cooley Has Subpoenaed Me
    So, it looks like Thomas M. Cooley is subpoenaing me too. Law Professor Paul Campos also wrote today that the law school has subpoenaed him.

    Stay tuned for more details."

    Read all of the comments on Campos's entry above. Those numerous remarks show that this school's reputation is in the sewer. Essentially no one in legal academia or in law practice respects the commode - not counting Cooley's staff, faculty and, possibly, the alumni.

    "Student Profile

    3,745 students enrolled (JD + LL.M.)
    1,055 (28.2%) are members of minority groups
    1,818 (48.5%) are women
    220 are from foreign countries
    79.1% are enrolled part-time
    57.5% are from outside Michigan
    Median LSAT score 146
    Median undergraduate GPA 3.02"

    With such a massive enrollment, does anyone with an IQ above 70 think that the school is putting the interests of its students and graduates first?

    What a prestigious and honorable in$TTTTiTTTTuTTTTion, right?!?!

  24. His son teaches Property there. (There are rumors of another son who was asked to leave.) His son can do no wrong. Legacy douche.

  25. When's this school gonna come out with a Fourth Tier Law Journal? Everybody knows it would be a Cooley publication.

  26. AtheistATLLawyerMay 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    The answer to this mother fucking criminal is INFLATION.

    Print MORE dollars. That will devalue the 1 million this old boomer piece of shit has.

    Think about it. If the dollar is so devalued that this mother fucker's 1 million dollars is now worth 1 thousand dollars, suddenly the playing field is even.

    You basically "steal" the money this piece of old trash stole, and the "younger folks" will be able to compete.

    Inflation will destroy money in the bank by making it have less purchasing power.

    So fuck these old fucking geezers now. PRINT MORE MONEY FEDERAL RESERVE and fuck these boomer trashes NOW.

  27. Why are all of you guys so unhappy?


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