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Thompson, Dana A.

Clinical Professor of Law
Transactional Law Clinics Program
Community Enterprise Clinic
Entrepreneurship Clinic

3128 Jeffries Hall
Professor Dana A. Thompson, '99, is a clinical professor of law and directs Michigan Law's Transactional Law Clinics Program, the Community Enterprise Clinic, and the Entrepreneurship Clinic. She is the founding director of Michigan Law's Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represents University of Michigan student-led startups and other start-up ventures. Prior to the Entrepreneurship Clinic, she taught in the Law School's Urban Communities Clinic, where she represented small businesses, start-up ventures, and community-based organizations, primarily in Detroit. Before joining Michigan Law, Professor Thompson taught at Wayne State University Law School and founded and directed Wayne Law's Small Business Enterprises and Nonprofit Corporations Clinic. At Wayne Law, she was also the director of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History. Her article, "Accelerating the Growth of the Next Generation of Innovators," discusses the importance of campus incubators collaborating with law school clinics and was published in the Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal in 2013. Another article, "L3Cs: An Innovative Choice for Urban Entrepreneurship and Urban Revitalization," also was published in 2013 in the American University Business Law Review. The article explores the role that low-profit limited liability companies, also known as L3Cs, could play in establishing viable minority-owned urban small businesses. Professor Thompson also writes about small-business legal issues in various publications, including Crain's Detroit Business. She is a contributing author to Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers, and Policymakers, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. Prior to entering academia, Professor Thompson practiced at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco, then at Miller, Starr and Regalia, where she specialized in commercial real estate and corporate law. She then joined the Nature Conservancy as regional counsel, representing the organization on land conservation transactions. In November 2014, Professor Thompson was elected statewide by the citizens of Michigan to serve on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, which elects the president of the university, has general supervision of the university, and controls all expenditures from university funds, among other duties. Professor Thompson also serves on the board of directors of TechTown Detroit. She is the immediate past chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section and is a past co-chair of the Legal Educator's Committee of the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also is the immediate past co-chair of the Association of American Law School's Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee. In addition, she served on the Michigan Community Resources Board of Directors and she served on former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's emerging Small Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Council. Professor Thompson received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was editor of the Michigan Law Review, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.

Recent Publications

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Gave the keynote speech about the unequal access to capital and other resources for businesses owned by women and people of color, Duke University's Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity's Capital Matters conference, October 2019.

Panelist, "A Lawyer's Life: Life as a Transactional Lawyer," University of Michigan Law School, October 2019.

Presented during the panel session, "Collaborating for Innovation: Cooperative Approaches to Supporting the IP and Business-Law Needs of Entrepreneurs," Midwest Conference on Clinical Legal Education," University of Michigan Law School, October 2019.

Presented "Preparing Students to be Interdisciplinary Collaborators for Change," 2019 Association of American Law Schools Clinical Conference, May 2019.

Presented "Primer on Community Economic Development," ABA Forum of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, January 2019.

Presenter, "Examining Race and Privilege in Community Economic Development," Association of American Law Schools conference, New Orleans, January 2019.