The School is proud of its clinical program, which is one of only a few required clinical programs in the country. Founded initially as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965, it was among the earliest clinics in the country. Since that time, the program has flourished, especially in the last nine years, and received numerous awards, including the ABA LAW Student Division’s Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award in 2006.
The required clinical program is evidence of the School’s Mission to provide an educational experience that emphasizes “experiential learning” and “service to others.” All of the clinics require students to attend weekly classes that focus on the relevant skills and substantive law for the clinic, and all provide for meaningful guided reflection. Additionally, each clinical professor works with his or her students to discuss performance and accomplishment throughout the semester, and conclude the evaluations during a copious exit interview.
For a listing of winter 2012-13 clinics, please click here
IMMIGRATION COMMUNITY LAWYERING CLINIC
LAW 5090: IMMIGRATION COMMUNITY LAWYERING CLINIC
Prerequisites: Law 2220 & Law 2960
Students serve immigrants seeking benefits under Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). Several million immigrants may stand to benefit from CIR but they need assistance to verify eligibility and to prepare the applications and compile needed supporting documents. Students partner with local nonprofits, including Southwest Solutions, ACCESS, the International Institute and other organizations serving immigrants to conduct intake, perform screening, and prepare applications for benefits. Students also work with the Michigan Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to train pro bono attorneys regarding the CIR process.
In the event that CIR is not enacted by Term I of the 2013-2104 academic year, students will be directed to other activities, including enrolling eligible immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, preparing citizenship applications for eligible Lawful Permanent Residents, as well as claims for entry and refugee status in Canada for residents of Freedom House, a Detroit-based nonprofit serving refugee claimants to Canada.
Urban Law Clinic
LAW 5010 Urban Law Clinic
Prerequisites: Law 2220
Students in the Urban Law Clinic represent indigent senior clients in variety of cases, by appearing in court and conducting administrative hearings. Students draft wills and powers of attorney, address consumer and health issues and work on social security disability matters as well. The clinic conducts interviews at senior and community centers on a regular basis. They also go out with one Mobile Law Office to meet with clients at other locations. In addition to doing intake at various sites the students also do presentations on consumer scams and other senior issues to larger groups.
In addition to the two hour class meeting every week the students perform 12 office hours. This can include work that is done outside of the clinic.
The course is limited to 10 students.
Prerequisite: Law 2220 (but can be waived).
Students in the clinic represent immigrants seeking a variety of relief and benefits, including family sponsorship, Violence against Women Act Petitions, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Students represent client in trials before the U.S. Immigration Court for clients seeking protection from persecution in their home country (asylum). The clinic also participates in hearings before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the students write briefs to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The classroom component has substantive instruction in interviewing, litigation, and appellate advocacy skills, as well as attorney-client relations, ethics, and case strategy. The clinic is designed for students with an interest in practicing Immigration Law. In addition to the two hour class each week the students do 12 office hours that can include work done outside of the clinic.
Additional Course Information: Limited to 10 students.
Mediation Training and Mediation Clinic
LAW 5070: Mediation Training
Credits: 2 P/F
Students in the course develop mediation skills while at the same time completing the 40 hour training program, which is with additional readings and work a required course to be a court-approved mediator. The class consists of lectures, discussions, drills and exercises on various areas of mediation. Students are absolutely required to enroll in LAW 5071 (Mediation Clinic) following completion of LAW 5070. Students in their last semester of school are ineligible for enrolling in the Mediation Training Course.
Prerequisite: Conversely this course is a prerequisite for taking LAW 5071, the Mediation Clinic. Students must take both courses and there is no exception or waiver of taking either.
The Mediation Training is usually open to between 16 and 22 students.
Credits: 2 P/F
Prerequisites: Law 5070 and Law 2220
Students in the clinic engage in actual mediation sessions in Michigan Courts and at Mediation Centers. They do twenty hours of mediation a semester, usually in three hour increments. And in so doing, the students develop skills in assisting parties to resolve conflicts amicably and without the need to resort to trial or other judicial proceedings. The classroom component is useful in helping students view and emulate different styles of mediation.
The Mediation Clinic is open to between 12 to 15 students.
Veterans Clinic and Project SALUTE
Students participating in the Veterans Clinic have the opportunity to represent military veterans and their families in disability cases and related matters. Students primarily practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Board of Veterans Appeals to obtain veterans benefits for service-connected disabilities. The work includes opportunities for interviewing veterans and conducting educational presentations in Michigan and around the country with Project Salute, by using the Mobile Law Office.
In addition to learning and practicing substantive Veterans law, students have the opportunity to develop general lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling, advocacy, writing, and negotiating.
The four credit course includes a two-hour class and 12 clinic office hours each week, as well as a 10 hour orientation on substantive veterans law initially. Law 2220 is recommended, but not required.
Project SALUTE holds legal clinics throughout Michigan and the nation for veterans seeking assistance with their disability and pension benefits claims. Students from the Veterans Law Clinic and Veterans Appellate Clinic participate in the Project SALUTE clinics. Additionally, Project SALUTE trains volunteer attorneys to prepare them to represent veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in pursuit of the federal veteran’s disability or pension benefits. For more information about Project SALUTE, the schedule of outreach clinics and volunteer attorney training please visit the Project SALUTE page.
MOBILE LAW OFFICE IN SUPPORT OF THE VETERANS CLINIC, URBAN LAW CLINIC AND THE IMMIGRATION LAW CLINIC
Working with faculty, UDM students ride one of three different Mobile Law Office R/V’s. They go to senior, church and community centers throughout Detroit, and other parts of Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. They go out nationally as well. The students conduct initial interviews and provide counseling and direction to potential clients. If it is a case UDM can take, it will be referred to the Clinic. When other assistance is needed, cases are referred to either an appropriate agency or group of attorneys. The Mobile Law office is a unique but an essential deliverer of legal services to those who otherwise would not be unassisted.
Veterans Appellate Clinic
LAW 5211: Veterans Appellate Clinic
In the Veterans Appellate Clinic, students are able to represent disabled veterans and/or their dependants before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). The students learn substantive law and appellate procedure in their practice. They also develop skills in working with and interviewing clients. Their learning includes significant research and careful analysis. They develop the law and facts of each case, draft pleadings and write and file an opening brief and reply brief for the appellant. Class topics include appellate strategy, issue framing, Rule 33 conference hearings, conformance to court rules, and electronic case filing.
Students sharpen their analytical skills and become confident in their writing by going through the process of drafting appellate briefs. Students also have the opportunity to draft legislative comments, draft articles and write notes for the Veterans Law Review and articles for the Veteran Law Journal and the Veterans Law Section of the Federal Bar. The classroom component for the course also includes extensive reading requirements, including cases and statutes related to their appellate practice.
Class is limited to 6 students.
Criminal Trial Clinic
Prerequisites: LAW 2220
In the Criminal Trial Clinic students represent misdemeanor defendants in district courts. The course prepares students for all practical aspects of criminal defense, including bonds, arraignments, discovery, preliminary examinations, pre-trial motions, plea negotiations, sentencing guidelines and probation issues. Students interview clients, review discovery, prepare motions, conduct plea negotiations and appear on the record every day they are in court. The classroom component prepares students in learning both substantive criminal law and local criminal procedure.
The Clinic is limited to 16 students.
Appellate Advocacy Clinic, State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO)
Prerequisites: LAW 1140 and LAW 2220
In the clinic students prepare a criminal appellate brief to be submitted to the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court under the supervision of attorneys from the State Appellate Defender Office. The students prepare motions and briefs and also deliver a mock appellate argument before a panel of attorneys who specialize in criminal appellate work. These mock arguments are done for cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. For cases before the Appellate Division, students are able to do the oral argument in line with recent revisions to MCR 8.120, the student practice rule. The classroom component for the course consists of writing, modeling and simulated exercises aimed at developing persuasive oral and written appellate advocacy skills.
The course is limited to 10 students.
Consumer Defense Clinic
The Consumer Defense Clinic is a course where students assist indigent clients against various creditors. The issues revolve around credit card debt and other contractual debt, including medical bills. In many cases the creditors are attempting to get a judgment for excessive amounts or for a non-existent debt. In court, the students file answers, affirmative defenses, motions, and prepare for trial. They also do investigations and discovery and appear in court under MCR 8.120. The course includes both a classroom component and the biweekly participation in court. Both sessions run from 1 to 5 PM on Wednesdays. Additional reading and significant ethics exercises are also a part of the course.
The class is limited to 8 students.
Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Clinic
The Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic includes students representing clients in foreclosure proceedings. The students similarly participate in workout proceedings to assist clients in saving their homes. The clinic has already developed significant cases and is doing additional interviewing and counseling at sites throughout Detroit. In addition, cases are being undertaken at the 29th district court in Wayne, Michigan and the 43rd district court in Madison Heights, Michigan. The students will make presentations to inform community groups about foreclosure law and the problems foreclosure may pose. The clinic is also studying various issues the elderly may be encountering very closely, including reverse mortgages.
In the classroom, the students develop an understanding of the complexities of foreclosure law. This includes doing simulations, reviewing relevant case law and doing additional readings. In addition, the students develop a panoply of general litigation skills.
The clinic is limited to 10 students.