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Thompson, Dana A.

Clinical Professor of Law
Entrepreneurship Clinic

3128 South Hall

Dana A. Thompson is a clinical professor of law and the founding director and a co-professor of the University of Michigan Law School's Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represents University of Michigan student-led ventures. Prior to the Entrepreneurship Clinic, she taught in the Urban Communities Clinic, where she represented small businesses, startup ventures, and community-based organizations. Prior to joining Michigan Law, Prof. Thompson founded and taught Wayne State University Law School'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. She represents clients in corporate, nonprofit, and startup company matters. She is a contributing author to Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers and Policymakers, published by the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She is also the author of the article, "L3Cs: An Innovative Choice for Urban Entrepreneurship and Urban Revitalization," published in the American University Business Law Review (Winter 2013, Vol. 2.1). Her article, "Accelerating the Growth of the Next Generation of Innovators," was published in the fall 2013 edition of the Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal.

Prior to entering academia, Prof. Thompson practiced at Morrison and 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, where she represented the organization on land conservation transactions.

Prof. Thompson is the chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and is a past co-chair of the Legal Educator's Committee of the American Bar Association's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also is the co-chair of the Association of American Law School's Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee and sits on the board of directors of Michigan Community Resources. She also served on former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's emerging Small Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Council.

Prof. Thompson received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.

Recent Publications

"Accelerating the Growth of the Next Generation of Innovators." Ohio St. Entrepreneurial Bus. L. J. 8, no. 2 (2013): 379-91.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw | WWW

"L3Cs:  An Innovative Choice for Urban Entrepreneurs and Urban Revitalization." Am. U. Bus. L. Rev. 2, no. 1 (2012): 115.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw | WWW

"The Role of Nonprofits in CED." In Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers, and Policymakers, edited by R.A. Clay Jr. and S. R. Jones, 57-82. Chicago: American Bar Association, 2009.


Spoke about student incubator/accelerator governance issues at the Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal's symposium, "Incubators: Function and Future," Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, March 29, 2013.

Presented "Connecting Small Business Owners with Resources: An Overview of Local Practices" at the "Developing Businesses and Leveraging Resources in Detroit" conference convened by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch, October 2012.

Presented "The Development of the L3C as an Entity Choice," 10th Annual Transactional Clinicians Conference, April 16, 2011.

Presented "Choosing Your Legal Entity" to student entrepreneurs, U-M Center for Entrepreneurship, April 8, 2011.

Panelist, "Michigan and the Road to a Jobs Economy: Which Way Forward," Issues in Diversity and Social Change Lecture Series, U-M Dearborn, March 25, 2011.

Wrote an op-ed on the role of micro-businesses in rebuilding urban areas, Detroit News and Michigan Chronicle, February 2011.

Panelist, "How to Become a Law Professor," Wolverine Bar Association, February 8, 2011.

Presented a paper on low profit limited liability companies and urban revitalization at the Clinical Law Review Writer’s Workshop, October 2010.

Spoke about the Michigan Law Urban Communities Clinic’s legal assistance to small businesses at the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center meeting, October 2010.

Panelist on the "Role of Social Enterprises in American Urban Revitalization," Net Impact Conference, U-M Ross School of Business, October 2010.

Presented at former Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Emerging Small Business Leader’s Forum and discussed "Common Legal Issues Impacting New and Existing Small Businesses," September 2010.

Presenter, session entitled "Uncovering: When and How to Incorporate Our Personal Critical Perspectives and Experiences in Clinical Teaching Across a Range of Critical Theory," Association of American Law Schools Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Baltimore, May 7, 2010.

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