Faculty and Curriculum
It is axiomatic that the overall caliber of curriculum interest areas and faculty at any highly selective law school is at least very good. But beyond that shared standard are distinct differences in emphasis and approach, of which one notable example is Michigan’s leadership in interdisciplinary legal scholarship.
The interdisciplinary approach is grounded in the conviction that the capacity to connect the work of one intellectual field to another has both intrinsic academic merit and pragmatic value. Much as mastery of domestic law alone is no longer training for lawyers in our global domain, so too is mastery of a codified body of legal knowledge and professional skills inadequate for leadership in law. Whether our graduates pursue legal practice or academia, or apply their legal training to another field, they benefit from having been trained to approach problems from multiple perspectives and to devise solutions that draw upon the contributions of many fields. A corporate lawyer who is wholly unfamiliar with business training, or an environmental lawyer with no foundation in natural resources, are lawyers who are not able to navigate as effectively as are lawyers who have received the training available at Michigan. That our students recognize these benefits is reflected in the significant percentage who pursue dual-degree programs, as well as the large number who apply up to 12 credits from non-Law coursework toward their J.D. While many schools have come to recognize the benefits of interdisciplinary training, Michigan’s historic position at the forefront of the movement, as well as its ability to draw upon the considerable strengths of a world-class public university, make it uniquely well-situated to offer such training.
While law schools often focus on a single field in their interdisciplinary approach, our faculty expertise covers an extraordinary range of subjects, including classics, economics, feminist theory, history, life sciences, natural resources, philosophy, political theory, and public policy. We offer depth as well, whether measured by the number of professors who are also voting faculty members of a world-class department in another discipline, or the number with Ph.D.s in cognate disciplines, or the number who are Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Of course, the School leads as well in traditional legal doctrine. The nation’s preeminent treatises in evidence, commercial law, property, remedies, securities regulation, and criminal procedure are the work of Michigan faculty. And the School’s faculty and curricular strength in areas such as business and corporate law, international law, intellectual property, environmental law, tax law, constitutional law, and public interest are especially noteworthy.