Commencement 2017

Commencement 2017

Friday, May 12. For more information please read the FAQ.

STUDY INTERNATIONALLY

STUDY INTERNATIONALLY

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

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 ensures every student the opportunity to represent a client.
  • A unique law firm program that allows students to engage in simulated cases and transactions in specific practice areas.

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Downtown Detroit location provides proximity to courts and employers
  • Strong Alumni Network dedicated to supporting Detroit Mercy Law graduates
  • Ability to pursue a concentration in Immigration Law or Family Law

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

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Ever youthful Law professors share their interest in juvenile justice

Husband and wife attorneys, Bill Ladd and Jennifer Pilette recently were honored with the Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award at UDM School of Law.

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Jennifer Pilette has devoted her law career to helping youngsters -- and shares that expertise as an adjunct professor at Wayne Law, Cooley Law, and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she and her husband, attorney Bill Ladd, recently were honored with the 2012 UDM Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award.

"I was drawn to juvenile law because I wanted to serve an indigent community and few are more indigent than children," she says. "There's a great need for committed and effective counsel for indigent children and adults. By teaching law school I hope I can convey this to another generation of young lawyers."

Pilette first got interested in the law as a student at Detroit's Cass Tech in the 1970s. As part of a class assignment, she observed a court case in the Wayne County Circuit Court - and set her sights on law school as early as her junior year of high school.

"Even as a high school student I knew I wanted to do that -- to be a lawyer for people who had little to no voice in the community," she says.

After graduating in 1976, Phi Beta Kappa, in Classical Civilization and History from Wayne State University, she earned her JD from Wayne Law three years later. She spent several years with Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services and then the Juvenile Defender Office, practicing various aspects of poverty law.

While waiting for her bar results in 1979, she clerked for the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit and knew she had found her passion in criminal defense. She later became a senior staff attorney and worked there for almost 15 years.

"I enjoyed every day of my work at SADO," she says. "It was and remains an office of committed individuals dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of indigent criminal defendants. Had I not been appointed to the juvenile referee bench in 1999 I'm sure I would have remained in that position for more years without regret."

Presiding over cases in the juvenile section of the family division of the Wayne County Circuit Court is a very "grassroots" judging experience, she says.

"The juvenile court deals with the most basic issues in people's lives - can they care for their children and themselves? The issues range from poverty to substance abuse to mental illness. The delinquency aspects deal with the needs of children in the school and their supervision in the home and the community. Many times there are no good answers to these problems - it's both challenging and rewarding to assist members of the community on these levels.

"I find it equally fulfilling to assist law students in finding a career path that hopefully involves assisting those less fortunate than themselves," Pilette says.

Pilette has served as a member of the Court Improvement Committee's Education Committee; and was appointed by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office to serve on its Advisory Committee on the Lawyer/Guardian ad Litem Protocol and on the Attorney Training Task Force for lawyers practicing in the area of abuse and neglect.

She also is a contributing editor for Benchbooks published by the Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI) and has been a faculty member for MJI's annual referee training program. A frequent speaker and trainer on behalf of the court, she has an extensive history of training attorneys nationally and locally.

A local, statewide and national speaker in the area of juvenile neglect and delinquency law, Pilette has served on the Wayne County ACLU Board, is the two-term past chair of the Children's Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and currently serves on the federal Court Improvement Program Statewide Task Force of the Michigan Supreme Court.

A life-long resident of Detroit until 2004, Pilette and her husband now call Ann Arbor home. The couple met when she was a law clerk at SADO and remained friends but it was not until Pilette was appointed to the Juvenile Court that the two dated and married. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, art, travel, gardening, and spending time with family, which includes four children, ages 27 to 39, from her first marriage and 10 grandchildren.

Attorney Bill Ladd landed in a career in juvenile law quite by chance -- but finding it to be interesting and rewarding, he has been a strong and outspoken voice for youngsters ever since.

"I found the kids I represented to be both entertaining and charming -- sometimes not at the same time!" he says. "Representing kids has always been interesting to me and they are clearly one of our most disenfranchised groups. I've always felt that representing the interests of kids is the best way to get adult institutions to be more sensitive to the least powerful."

Ladd guides the next generation of attorneys to take up the torch, by teaching as an adjunct professor at Cooley Law School and at his alma mater, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law where he teams with Professor Deb Paruch in the UDM Juvenile Appellate Practice Clinic, launched last fall. Students represent children in appeals from decisions of the Juvenile Division of the Wayne County Family Court in cases involving parental rights terminations and juvenile delinquency.

"Having the opportunity to teach law school gives me the chance to interact with young aspiring lawyers and to give them a more practice-based and real-world view of the practice of law," Ladd says. "I hope it gives them a dose of realism and context for what they are doing in law school and how working with kids can be a rewarding career choice."

Ladd, who has also taught at Wayne Law, received the UDM Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award in April, sharing the honor with his wife and fellow UDM adjunct professor, Juvenile Court referee Jennifer Pilette.

Ladd earned a bachelor's degree in history from Swarthmore College -- an interest fueled by his favorite aunt who was a high school history teacher - and his JD from the University of Detroit.

"Law seemed to follow logically from both my interest in history and my interests in social justice," he says.

His first job was as a research attorney with the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit, representing indigent defendants.

"I learned how to analyze legal issues and to write legal briefs," he says. "SADO was and is one of the best places in the country to learn how to be an effective and zealous advocate of the disenfranchised. At the same time it was also a very supportive place to work."

He then moved to the Juvenile Defender Office -- later named the Juvenile Division of the Legal Aid and Defender Association (LADA) -- where he learned to be an effective advocate for abused and neglected youngsters and delinquent children, sometimes in federal courts but primarily in the Wayne County Circuit Court, Family Division, Juvenile Section.

"I had the luxury of continuing to do appellate work where it was appropriate in representing my clients," he says. "For much of my time at LADA I was fortunate to work in an organization that was committed to representing children in an aggressive yet caring manner and in supporting me as an attorney."

He was a member of the Wayne County AWOL Task Force, developing alternative strategies for neglected court wards that leave their placements; and was a member of the Wayne County Workgroup on the Representation of Children. He was appointed by the Michigan State Court Administrator's Office to serve on its Advisory Group on Evaluation of the Representation of Children in Child Protective Proceedings, and Advisory Committee on the Lawyer/Guardian ad Litem Protocol.

For the past two years, Ladd has been an appellate and juvenile trial attorney with the Michigan Children's Law Center in Southgate. A nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that teams with social workers, doctors, psychologists, school personnel and other professionals, MCLC provides legal services to children in trial and appellate courts, advocates for the safety and wellbeing of children in the courts and through other programs and services, and represents children who have been neglected or abused or charged with delinquent behavior.

Ladd, appellate counsel in several notable Michigan appellate cases including, In re Ricks, In re EP, In re AMB, recently argued In re Mays in the Michigan Supreme Court. He is a frequent author and lecturer, and co-author of the chapter on juvenile delinquency in "Michigan Family Law" (6th ed) from the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

A past president of the Children's Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and recipient of their 2003 "Child Advocate of the Year" award, Ladd has also been nationally honored by the non-profit organization, Children's Rights and is a "next friend" in the ongoing federal class action, Snyder v Duane B.

"I received the award as a result of my efforts to represent my clients as their next friend in the federal lawsuit brought against Michigan's child welfare system," he says. "I had made efforts to represent the interests of my individual clients who were named plaintiffs in the federal suit and I had also provided general input to the lawyers at Children's Rights regarding more general aspects of the system here in Michigan."

Ladd received Child Welfare Law Certification through the National Association of Counsel for Children, which launched the certification program to recognize the importance of this specialized area of the law.

"The process of preparing for the certification test gave me a chance to broaden my knowledge of this area of the law and to gain some national recognition for specializing in this area of the law for so long," he says.

http://www.legalnews.com/detroit/1326203/

EVENTS


Book Awards Ceremony & Reception - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Detroit Mercy Law will host its annual Book Awards ceremony on February 28, 2017 at 5:00pm at Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church, followed by a celebratory reception in the atrium. Business attire is required.

The Book Awards celebrate outstanding academic and service achievement. Detroit Mercy Law presents the Book Awards to students who have ranked first in a law school course in the preceding year or who have provided exceptional service to the school. Students on the Dean’s Honor List are also acknowledged.  


McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Our annual McElroy Lecture provides a forum for prominent thinkers and leaders to address fundamental issues of law and religion. This year's lecturer is Intisar A. Rabb, a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. Dr. Rabb also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The title of Dr. Rabb's Lecture is, "Qāḍī Justice: Islamic Law as Procedure."

The lecture will be held on March 2, 2017, from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in room 226, followed by a complimentary reception in the atrium.

Register Online for McElroy Lecture>>

Event Details>>


Law Review Symposium - Room 226

Friday, March 3, 2017 - 8:30 am

The Law Review will host its annual symposium on March 3, 2017. The symposium will feature legal professionals and scholars from across the country to discuss the American Bar Association's implementation of Standards 314 and 315, which deal with formative assessments in law school classrooms.

For more information click HERE.


Detroit Mercy Law Aspiring Attorneys Workshop (By Invitation Only) - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am

Detroit Mercy Law will host its 1st  Annual Aspiring Attorneys Workshop on Friday, March 10th, 9:00 am - 12:30pm. This program is aimed at introducing high school junior and seniors from select schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District to the law school and hopefully spark an interest in pursuing a legal career.

 

Students will participate in a mock law school class taught by one of our professors, engage in activities aimed at exploring different areas of the law and career options, tour the law school, and participate in a college readiness workshop. Lunch will be provided.

 

For more information, please contact Eric McCloud, mcclouer@udmercy.edu, (313)-596-0264.

 

This event is sponsored by the Law School Admission Council as part of DiscoverLaw.org Months.


Prof. Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Tournament - Atrium

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 4:00 pm

The Professor Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Tournament for Detroit Mercy Law upperclass students will be held on campus in March. Professor Keenan served on the Detroit Mercy Law faculty from 1976 until he passed away in 2006. He taught numerous courses, including constitutional law, evidence, criminal law, trial practice, torts, and professional responsibility. From humble beginnings as a storefront lawyer, he was always passionate about the law and taught his students the importance of fair representation for people from all walks of life.

The preliminary rounds will be held on March 10 and March 11 and the final round will be on March 15. Alumni are needed to judge the preliminary rounds and may RSVP to the Moot Court Board of Advocates. Questions may be directed to Professor Gary Maveal.


March 11, 2017: Prospective Student Open House - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 9:00 am

Find out why men and women have been choosing Detroit Mercy Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how Detroit Mercy 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.  

To register, email cemccarthy@udmercy.edu with your name L number and number of guests.


Erin Go Law Networking Reception - Atrium

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 5:00 pm

The Board of Directors of the University of Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association invites judges, attorneys, and Detroit Mercy law students to attend its career networking reception, "Erin Go Law," on Thursday, March 16, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the atrium of the School of Law. 

Register Online>>         More Information>>


A Day in the Life of a Detroit Mercy Law Student - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:00 am

We invite you to experience "A Day in the Life of a Detroit Mercy Law Student" on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

You will meet members of the Detroit Mercy Law faculty, administration and current student and will sit in on a real class. Lunch or dinner will be provided and optional Law School Tours are also available. 

Email Caitlin McCarthy at cemccarthy@udmercy.edu to RSVP. Please include your full name, which section you'll be attending and rank the class preference (of the ones listed within the time slot you chose). 

RSVP by March 15th and you will be notified of your assigned class by March 17th.

Day Section A: 10:00 AM - 1:50 PM

Class options:

  • Estates and Trusts
  • Criminal Law
  • Canadian & US Business Organizations (students interested in Dual JD Program)

 

Day Section B: 12:30 PM - 3:25 PM

Class options:

  • Contracts
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • US Constitutional Law (students interested in Dual JD Program)

 

Evening Section: 4:30 AM - 7:20 PM

Class options: 

  • Contracts
  • Professional Responsibility

BLSA Vegas Night - Pi Banquet Hall

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 7:00 pm

The Detroit Mercy Law Black Law Students Association is hosting its 12th annual Vegas Night on Saturday, March 25, from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. at Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield. Questions regarding the event may be directed to BLSA's President, Alex Green IV.

Event Brochure>>     Event Invitation>>

Sponsorship Form>>     Purchase Tickets>>

NEWS

  • Adjunct Professor Dennis Clark Displays Passion for Giving Back

    Legal News featured Adjunct Professor Dennis Clark and the volunteer work he does in the Detroit community. Clark is a lifelong volunteer at a variety of organizations including City Connect Detroit, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing solutions to problems facing local youth and their families, where he serves as board chair.

    Read the full article here

  • State Bar of Michigan A Lawyer Helps Features Article on Judge Michelle Rick

    The State Bar of Michigan A Lawyer Helps featured an article on Judge Michelle Rick (professor of our Access to Justice course) and her activities as District 7 Director for the National Association of Women Judges.

    The Face of Justice program is a pilot program NAWJ created with the State Bar and Lansing Schools.  The intention of the program is to encourage young women and minorities to see themselves as a face of justice. 

    Read the full article here

  • Professor Alex Vernon Featured on the Cover of Detroit Legal News

    Alex Vernon WED 5942Professor Alex Vernon, Director of our Immigration Law Clinic, was featured on the cover of Thursday’s Detroit Legal News about his work to aid immigrants affected by the recent executive order.


    Read the full article here

  • Dual JD 2L Featured in the Legal News

    Dual JD Program 2L Nashara Peart was featured in the Legal News. “Given the recent change in American government and the extensive media coverage on the results of the change in power, I find it exciting to be studying law at this moment in history”.  Read the full feature here

  • Professor Beydoun and Alum Abed Ayoub were Panelists for a "Teach-In"

    Professor Khaled Beydoun and alumnus Abed Ayoub ('05) of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee were panelists for a "teach-in" hosted by the Harvard Arab Students Association Wednesday. They shared legal advice with Harvard's international students potentially impacted by President Trump's recent travel ban. 

    Read the article here

  • Lunch with a Lawyer Program

    Alumnae Florence Schoenherr-Warnez ('57) and Dana M. Warnez ('96) met with law students yesterday as part of our Lunch with a Lawyer Program. The mother/daughter duo had a strong impact on all of us who attended. They practice together at Schoenherr Cahill & Warnez PC in Center Line.

    16649469 1509516179081823_554721329069078645_n