HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

  • * A legal writing program that starts in the first year and continues through the upper level courses.
  • * A clinical program that entitles every student to the opportunity to represent a live client.
  • * A unique law firm program that allows students to engage in simulated cases and transactions in specific practice areas.

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • * Committed to developing lawyers who serve the public good
  • * Committed to serving the Detroit community
  • * Founded on Jesuit and Mercy principles of service and the success of each individual

Study Internationally

Study Internationally

  • * Dual degree program with the University of Windsor
  • * Extensive international law and comparative law courses
  • * Established relationship with Universite d"Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • * Downtown Detroit Location provides proximity to courts and employers
  • * Strong Alumni Network dedicated to supporting UDM graduates
  • * ability to pursue a concentration in Immigration Law

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Effective immigration policy helps U.S. keep global edge, UDM Law professor believes

Prior to law school, Aimee Guthat had no idea there was such a thing as "immigration law," despite hearing references to green cards and immigration papers.

"It didn't seem to be a big deal - how wrong I was," she says. "After surviving first year of law school, I accepted a student law clerk position with a local attorney that practiced immigration law. I thought it would be an interesting way to spend a year and get some exposure to administrative law. Now, more than 15 years later, I'm still practicing immigration law and can't imagine working in any other field."

A senior attorney with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in Troy, Guthat has taught Immigration Law as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School since 2007, and is involved in the university's innovative Law Firm Program.

"I love to learn and I love the law - and I'm very enthusiastic and passionate about what I do," she says. "The idea of sharing my knowledge and experience with law students seemed like a no-brainer to me. All they had to do was ask and I was in. Also, these students are smart. They challenge me at every turn - which is very invigorating."

The curriculum at UDM Law is specifically designed to give students critical tools for the development of professional legal skills that would normally be gained during the first year of practice, through required participation in clinical programs and the Law Firm Program. The Immigration Clinic, which gives students the opportunity to represent immigrants in a variety of non-employment based matters, is highly regarded in the field and "provides such an important community service to the immigrant as well as unique experience to the student," according to Guthat.

"When UDM added an employment-based immigration law module to the Law Firm Program, I was very excited and honored to be asked to participate."

In the immigration law module, students work through a simulation of how actual cases are processed - how communications are initiated by a client, the information presented, working through the legal analysis to identify issues and develop a strategy and presenting that strategy to the client, and finally working up the actual case.

"In effect, students are seeing just how an employment-based immigration practice works on an everyday basis, the types of issues that arise, and how to effectively deal with these issues and meet client needs," Guthat explains. "It's essentially an inside look, which other students don't get. There's a significant competitive advantage."

When entering the field of immigration law, possession of some level of practical, educational experience is critical to a successful practice.

"The issue of U.S. immigration stirs a great deal of passion in people, whether their view is pro- or anti-immigration," Guthat notes. "Further, this issue is one that's very politicized and immigration-related policies and laws are very much driven by the economy, especially in the employment-based arena. The ability to successfully interpret immigration policy, which tends to change with each administration, is gained only through experience."

The key to the U.S. maintaining its footprint and position as a leader in the global economy, she says, is to have workable immigration laws that allow companies to hire and maintain the best talent, regardless of citizenship or country of origin.

"It's no longer enough to be good at home - we have to be good everywhere. In order for the U.S. to maintain its global edge, we need to be able to retain exceptional talent here - the thinkers, the innovators, the researchers - many of whom are foreign nationals."

According to Guthat, employment-based immigration will continue to be a target among politicians and law makers at both the state and federal level, which will make entry into this field from the ground more challenging than ever.
"A new lawyer must have determination and the desire to make a difference, even if only on a small scale.  Immigration law is a very rewarding area of practice, as your actions have a real impact on not only the potential growth
and success of a U.S. enterprise, but also on the lives of many immigrants seeking better opportunity."

The extensive and complicated set of immigration laws are governed not only by the Department of Homeland Security and its sub agencies - in particular Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection, and Immigration & Customs Enforcement - but also by the Department of State and the Department of Labor.

"Each agency and sub agency has its own agenda, which may or may not be consistent with the existing rules of another agency involved in the immigration process," Guthat explains. "Immigration laws frequently change - and not just on an insignificant level."

About every decade there is a major overhaul of the immigration code with significant changes dramatically affecting individuals as well as global companies with operations in the U.S.

"The last major piece of employment-based immigration legislation was enacted in 2000, so we are due for reform. However, since then, there have been policy memos and directives from the agencies, which in some cases certainly affect the legal analysis and requirements for certain benefits," she says. "You have to constantly study and keep your finger on the pulse of the economy, political posturing, and agency changes.  Immigration law is very
dynamic, which keeps it very interesting."

Guthat, who received her bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from Western Michigan University, and her J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law, joined Fragomen in 2000. She primarily focuses on employment-based immigration and corporate compliance, with clients ranging from small and mid-size companies to large multinational organizations in a variety of industries, including management of major OEMs and product and technology suppliers in the automotive industry.

Guthat enjoys the cultural interaction with people from countries around the world, and learning about customs and behaviors based on different religious beliefs, ethnicity, and traditions.

"I find this to be very enriching as well as helpful in understanding the thought process behind how people approach different situations."

With different approaches between U.S. and foreign entities to very common issues, such as policy development or strategic planning - especially if the foreign company is the controlling entity - clients often look to Guthat for guidance on how to communicate effectively with non-U.S. colleagues.

"There's no question we live in a global economy and the key to a strong U.S. presence in the global marketplace is the ability of U.S. companies to remain competitive," she says. "Collaboration with other corporate figures and colleagues outside of the U.S. is essential, and requires a refined level of sensitivity and understanding of the nuances between our cultures."

Above all, immigration law is about human beings, she notes.

"We live in a great country, with unparalleled freedom and liberty. Many around the world are not so lucky. It's our job to help those looking for a better life for their families to navigate through the very rough waters of legal immigration."

In many cases the legal path to immigration is a very long process, so change in policy and procedure mid-stream is a real risk that may impact eligibility for a particular immigration benefit. Guthat tries to give people hope, and hopes they will see the legal way is the right way.

"Current immigration rules are not very forgiving of violations, and as a result a short-term gain can often negatively impact future life plans, from career development and progression to family separation and loss of residence in the U.S.," she notes.

A favorite case involved a cardiothoracic surgeon with a major university hospital, with a sub specialization in pediatric cardiac surgery, and creator of an innovative, less invasive surgical procedure for treatment of a congenital heart defect in infants and pediatrics patients.

"It's an incredible development for our littlest and most vulnerable patients - and came at the hands of an immigrant," Guthat explains. "The Immigration Service agreed that our client should be granted permanent residence on the basis of his extraordinary achievements and ability in medicine. This person is someone that is truly an asset to the U.S. medical field, and has since gone on to develop cutting edge patient care programs to improve on safety and recovery at two of the leading university hospitals in the country."

Guthat and her husband Peter, both natives of Grosse Pointe, live in Grosse Pointe Farms with sons Joseph, 5, and 8-month-old Matthew. An avid reader, she enjoys skiing, spending time at Pier Park, and serving as chief "land crew" for her husband's sailing adventures.

"This is a very important job, as I'm required to make sure the extra luggage not allowed on board during the race makes it to the finish before the boat. This is especially fun when the finish line is somewhere tropical."

 

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

EVENTS


January 17, 2015 - Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 12:00 am

Time of event to be determined. 

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM Law not only teaches you the law, but teaches you how to be a lawyer.  Through your education here, you will become a lawyer who makes a difference in your workplace and your community.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the campus and speak with admissions representatives, faculty and current students.  


January 21, 2015 - Walk-in Wednesday - UDM Law Campus

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Join us for Walk-in Wednesdays. The Admissions Office extends its office hours for students who are interested in learning more about the UDM Law advantage, the application process, and law school in general. No appointment is necessary.


McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion - UDM Law Campus

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Our annual McElroy Lecture provides a forum for prominent thinkers and leaders to address fundamental issues of law, religion, and society.  It seeks to educate students, legal professionals, and the public on a variety of questions related to moral philosophy, freedom of conscience, the interaction of legal and religious institutions, and the role of religion in public life.  Its goal is to encourage discussion of these issues in our community and deepen our understanding of them.  This year's lecturer is Professor Nelson Tebbe of Brooklyn Law School.  The lecture will be held on Wednesday, March 4, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., followed by a complimentary reception.

 

NEWS

  • PRO BONO PROJECT AT THE U.S. IMMIGRATION COURT– UDM is the only law school in the country to take the lead on such a project

    The U.S. Department of Justice recently approved a project sponsored by UDM's Immigration Law Clinic to provide rights presentations and relief screenings to Central American women and their minor children who entered the U.S. during the recent "surge" in such persons fleeing their home countries. UDM's partners in the project are the Michigan Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), and the American Bar Association (ABA). UDM is the only law school in the country to take the lead on such a project.

    In addition to helping women and children navigate the complexities of the Immigration Court process, the project will help participants in UDM's Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program and UDM's clinic students hone their interviewing and advising skills. Specifically, they will advise, counsel, refer, and, in certain cases, represent women and their children. UDM will also conduct a series of regular trainings for AILA members regarding forms of relief, best practices for representation, and issues unique to women and children respondents.

     

    >>

  • UDM LAW SHINES AT NATIONAL MOOT COURT COMPETITIONS

    The School of Law congratulates the Moot Court Board of Advocates, whose three teams placed high in national competitions over the weekend. The teams' briefs finished at or near the top of competitions in Washington, D.C. and Columbus, Ohio.

    The National Veteran's Law Moot Court team of Jennifer Richards and Christopher Ferlito, coached by Professor Peggy Costello, won the award for Best Respondent Brief at the competition in Washington, D.C. They competed against twenty teams.

    Samantha Boyd and Alexander Brown, coached by alumnus Sean Cowley '09, participated in the New York City Bar Association National Moot Court Competition. The team argued very well in Columbus and achieved a top 10 brief score.

    The team of Emily Banks, Eva Janta, and Julia Abd-Elseed also competed in the New York City Bar Association National Moot Court Competition, receiving one of the highest brief scores in the tournament. Coached by alumni Javon Hindo '13 and Alanna P. O'Rourke '10, they advanced to the quarterfinals. The team was defeated by a margin of merely 1.5 points and narrowly missed the semifinal round.

    >>

  • UDM LAW PROFESSOR LARRY DUBIN PROVIDES EXPERT COMMENTARY ON MICHIGAN'S GAY MARRIAGE BAN

    Professor Larry Dubin commented in the Detroit News recently that the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the DeBoer case, upholding MIchigan's gay marriage ban in a 2 -1 split decision by the panel, is an attractive case for the U.S. Supreme Court to review on appeal.  "It is the only circuit that held that voters in a state can deny the right to marriage to same-sex couples.  There also is a good record that was made at trial before Judge Friedman," Dubin said.  "It seems logical that the Court will take this case now that there is a division among the federal circuit courts."

    Michigan couple take gay marriage plea to high court, Nov. 17, 2014, Detroit News (quoting Professor Larry Dubin)

  • ASST. DEAN MARKEISHA MINER PROVIDES ON-CAMPUS INTERVIEW ADVICE IN MICHIGAN LAWYERS WEEKLY

    In a recent edition of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, UDM Law Assistant Dean of Career Services and Outreach Markeisha Miner provided advice to students on how to have a successful on-campus interview.  Some of her key points were to dress professionally, keep your cellphone powered off and stored away, and take advantage of the School of Law's Mentor Jet practice interview session.

    Read Michigan Lawyers Weekly Article "Getting to Know You - How Law Firms Handle the On-Campus Interview"

     

  • 3L VANESSA GUERRA WINS MICHIGAN’S 95TH DISTRICT HOUSE RACE

    vg

    3L Vanessa Guerra, D-Bridgeport Township, became Representative Guerra on November 4 after winning the race for Michigan's House of Representatives to represent her home region of the 95th District. The 25-year-old law student and Bridgeport Township trustee was still canvassing the District on election day and commented, "You can never take anything for granted." Her hard work certainly paid off: she won 76 percent of the vote.

    Read Article

  • UDM LAW ALUMNUS DANIEL HURLBERT RECEIVES 20 UNDER 40 LEADERSHIP RECOGNITION AWARD

    Daniel Hurlbert (’10), Manager of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Veterans Program, is a recipient of the 2014 20 Under 40 Leadership Recognition Award which recognizes the top 20 young, dynamic leaders in northwest Ohio and southwest Michigan under the age of 40.  He began his work in the veterans' services area in UDM Law's Project SALUTE and Veterans Appellate Clinic.

    Read News Article