• * 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.



  • * 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



  • * 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

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Alumni Award

Justice Brian Zahra

Justice Brian K. Zahra was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court on January 14, 2011, by Governor Rick Snyder.  Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, he served 12 years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and 4 years on the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Justice Zahra received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from Wayne State University.  To finance his education, he opened and operated a small health and personal care retail store in downtown Detroit, later opening a grocery outlet, also in Detroit, with two partners.  In 1987, he graduated with honors from the University of Detroit School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review.  While in law school, he also served as Articles Editor of the State Bar of Michigan's Corporation and Finance Business Law Journal.  He then served as law clerk to Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for two years before joining the law firm of Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman in 1989.  In 1994, Governor John Engler appointed him to the Wayne County Circuit Court.  He was elected to a six-year term in 1996 and continued to serve on the Circuit Court until December of 1998, when he was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Governor Engler.  He was elected to six-year terms on the Court of Appeals in 2000 and 2006.  From December 2005 to January 2007, he served as the Court of Appeals' Chief Judge Pro Tem.

Justice Zahra has taught evidence as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  He has served on many professional and legislative committees, including the Michigan Civil Jury Instructions Committee, the Circuit Court Appellate Rules Committee, the Domestic Violence Legislation Implementation Task Force, and the advisory committee for the Michigan Judicial Institute Domestic Violence Benchbook.  He has also served on the Michigan Board of Law Examiners, which drafts and grades the examination that law school graduates must pass in order to become licensed attorneys.

Justice Zahra has been active in many civic and charitable organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Kiwanis Club International, Leadership Detroit, the Knights of Columbus, the Novi Youth Hockey Association, the Maltese American Community Club, and the Maltese American Benevolent Society, of which he is a past officer.  He is a former board member and officer of the Catholic Lawyers Society, and he is a member of the Federalist Society, having served as secretary and vice-president of the Michigan chapter.

Justice Zahra frequently attends School of Law events and is quick to respond to requests for his assistance by the administration, faculty, and student organizations.


ALUMNI Award Criteria

Spirit of UDM:  Alumni Achievement Award

On April 11, 2014, University of Detroit Mercy hosted the inaugural University-wide celebration, Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Awards.  The new event honored distinguished alumni with an Alumni Achievement Award.  The 2014 award recipient on behalf of the School of Law is Brian K. Zahra ('87), Justice, Michigan Supreme Court.  At the School of Law's Reunion on November 15, 2014, we will recognize Justice Zahra as the recipient of this tremendous honor.

The Spirit of UDM Alumni Achievement Award was established to recognize distinguished graduates, from the University's colleges and schools, who have excelled in their chosen profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in their work, and benefitted the wider community through their support.  Award recipients reflect the University's mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.


This award is what we previously called the Law Alumnus of the Year Award.  Previous recipients of that award are:

1985  Hon. James H. Brickley ('54)

1985  Nathan B. Goodnow ('30)

1985  Frank J. Kelley ('51)

1986  Donald H. Mitzel ('51)

1986  Hon. James L. Ryan ('57)

1987  Hon. Thomas G. Kavanagh ('43)

1988  Hon. George R. Deneweth ('42)

1989  John A. Kruse ('52)

1990  William L. Cahalan ('51)

1991  William D. Gilbride, Sr. ('50)

1992  James A. Courter ('61)

1993  Hon. Michael F. Cavanagh ('66)

1994  Hon. Joseph A. Sullivan ('48)

1995  Hon. Alice R. Resnick ('64)

1996  Hon. Louis F. Simmons, Jr. ('56)

1997  William D. Booth ('62)

1998  Thomas C. Mayer ('55)

1999  Charles R. Rutherford ('57)

2000  Hon. Roman S. Gribbs ('54)

2001  Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr. ('67)

2002  Hon. Peter E. Deegan ('66)

2003  Edmund M. Brady, Jr. ('66)

2004  Hon. Maura D. Corrigan ('73)

2005  L. Brooks Patterson ('67)

2006  Frederick W. Lauck ('69)

2007  Denise Ilitch ('80)

2008  Hon. Patrick J. Duggan ('58)

2009  Lawrence G. Campbell ('69)

2010  Joseph V. Walker ('72)

2011  Robert A. Ficano ('77)

2012  Hon. Michael J. Talbot ('71)

2013  Judiciary Honored


The 2014 Spirit of UDM:  Alumni Achievement Award honorees on behalf of the other schools and colleges of the University are:

School of Architecture – Philip Kinsella '58, Architect and Managing Principal, KRJDA, LLC Architects

College of Business Administration – Emil Brolick '69, '72, President & CEO, The Wendy's Company

School of Dentistry – John DiBiaggio, D.D.S. '58, Former President of Tufts University, Michigan State University and University of Connecticut

College of Engineering & Science – William C. Young '64, CEO, Absopure Water Co. and Plastipak Holdings

College of Health Professions – Nancy Susick MSN, RN '86, Senior Vice President, Beaumont Health System and President, Beaumont Hospital, Troy

College of Liberal Arts & Education – Frederick M. Seibert '70, '73, Owner & President, Preece, Inc.


Meet the Judges Reception - Atrium

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Meet judges of the federal and state courts during a casual reception in the UDM Law atrium and café on Thursday, October 15.  The schedule for the evening  is:  registration from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.; welcome remarks 6:00 - 6:10 p.m.; group photo 6:10 - 6:15 p.m.; network and meet the judges 6:15 - 7:30 p.m. UDM Law is co-sponsoring this event with the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit; Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers; and the Polish American Lawyers Society.
Meet the Judges Invitation>>
RSVP for Reception>>

Law Review Symposium on the Great Lakes - Room 226

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 9:30 am

The UDM Law Review will host a symposium entitled, "The Public Trust Doctrine:  An Ancient Tool for Protecting the Great Lakes from New Hazards," on Friday, October 16, from 9:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. in room 226.  Topics include, "A Proper Framework for the Public Trust Doctrine and the Great Lakes," and "Trails and Microplastics:  New Developments."  The symposium is complimentary but advance registration is required.

Law Review Symposium Invitation>>

Reunion for All Law Alumni - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, October 24, 2015 - 7:00 pm

The School of Law's annual Reunion will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. at the School's Riverfront Campus.  As part of the festivities, we will celebrate the the 50th anniversary of our clinical program; selection of Hon. Anthony J. Fiorella, Jr. as UDM's 2015 Alumni Award recipient and Richard T. Krisciunas as the 2015 Time and Talent Award recipient; and the special anniversaries of the classes of 1965, 1990, and 2005.  The Reunion is for all School of Law alumni.  Additional details may be found on the Reunion website.


November 14, 2015: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 9:00 am

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 7, 2016: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 5:30 pm

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.  


  • Professor Richard Broughton discusses gun control on WDET radio

    UDM Law Professor Richard Broughton was interviewed by Detroit Free Press editor Stephen Henderson on October 6 on WDET 101.9-FM's "Detroit Today." The subject was "How We Balance Freedom and Safety in a Pro-Gun Society;"  LISTEN TO SHOW>>


    The legal community came together to celebrate UDM Law's 103rd annual Red Mass on September 29.  Judges, attorneys, civic leaders, faculty, and law students of all faiths filled Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church to pray together at the beginning of the new judicial term. View Red Mass Photos>>  Read More>>



    Professor Alex Vernon represented the Immigration Law Clinic in participating in "Become a Citizen Day" hosted by the Chaldean Community Foundation and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit on Saturday, September 19, in Sterling Heights. Attorneys and volunteers from these organizations and other firms assisted permanent residents in applying for citizenship. This was part of a nation-wide effort coordinated by organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association.



    Four UDM Law students will compete in the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan's 16th Annual National Trial Advocacy Competition in Lansing on October 9-11, 2015. The prosecution team will be led by Scott Ruark and Nina Paolini-Lotarski, and the defense team members are Hannah Treppa and Patrina Bergamo.



    UDM Law will offer new programming this fall to meet the needs of its entrepreneurial-minded students and graduates interested in developing their own law practices. Eight different free workshops have been scheduled for September 23 to November 18 at the School of Law campus, exploring the practical implications of developing a solo or small firm practice, and some will also be available for online viewing. The School was awarded a $30,000 grant from the DeWitt C. Holbrook Memorial Fund to fund and expand its Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program to add these workshops through a new Center for Solo and Small Firm Practice.

    Register for Workshops>>

    Press Release>>


    In the Fall 2015 issue of Conversations, a semi-annual magazine published by the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, alumnus Allen Elzerman '03 praises UDM Law's commitment to social and criminal justice.  In his article, "On Loan to the Poor," Elzerman discusses how he personifies that commitment through his work as a public defender and how his sense of fulfillment is more important than financial gain.

    On Loan to the Poor, Conversations magazine, Issue 48 - Fall 2015 (written by Allen Elzerman '03)