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 nation. Since that time, the program has flourished receiving numerous awards including the ABA Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access with Meritorious Recognition in 2012 and 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.” Students attend weekly classes that focus on the relevant skills and substantive law and all clinics provide for meaningful guided reflection. Additionally, each clinical professor works with their students throughout the semester to discuss and evaluate performance and accomplishments and provides a final comprehensive exit interview.
For more information about our newest legal services project featuring the Immigration Law Clinic, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Clinic and Veterans Law Clinic at the Ford Resouce and Engagement Center (Mercado) in SW Detroit, please call (313) 596-0262.
Immigration Law Clinic
LAW 5060: Immigration Law Clinic
Prerequisite: Law 2220 (but can be waived) and Law 2960 or 6230
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.
Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Clinic
LAW 5080: 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. Students have represented homeowners before the Federal District Court, Michigan Circuit Courts, and various State District Courts. In addition, students have made 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.
Veterans Law Clinic and Project SALUTE
LAW 5200: Veterans Law Clinic
Students participating in the Veterans Clinic have the opportunity to represent veterans and their families in disability cases. Students practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs 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 the award winning Project SALUTE program.
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 clinic 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.
The award winning Project SALUTE program holds legal clinics throughout Michigan and the nation for veterans seeking assistance with their disability and pension benefits claims. Additionally, Project SALUTE trains volunteer attorneys to prepare them to represent veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in pursuit of federal veteran’s benefits. For more information about the award winning Project SALUTE program and to view the schedule of clinics and free attorney training please visit the Project SALUTE page.
Criminal Trial Clinic
LAW 5020: 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.
Juvenile Appellate Clinic
LAW 5100: Juvenile Appellate Clinic
Students in this Clinic represent juveniles in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The appeals primarily involve child protective proceedings from Wayne County Juvenile Court (abuse and neglect); however, there may be some appeals of delinquency cases. Students write appellate briefs for the juvenile clients and argue the case to a panel of expert attorneys before the case goes before the Court, with some potential for the students to argue to the Court of Appeals.
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.
Appellate Advocacy Clinic, State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO)
LAW 5030: State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO) Criminal Advocacy Clinic
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.
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.
Veterans Appellate Clinic
LAW 5211: Veterans Appellate Clinic
Students participating in the Veterans Appellate Clinic represent disabled veterans and their survivors before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Students 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.
Class is limited to 6 students.