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

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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


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.

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