Gina Myers-Schulz attended a two-room rural schoolhouse, but her law school education has extended far beyond a few walls. She worked at the University of Cape Town's Gender, Health, and Justice Research Unit through Michigan Law's South Africa Externship Program, exploring how law can (and can't) address social ills across political systems. There, she also learned to advocate for clients with different cultural norms—a lesson that serves her well as a student in Michigan Law's General Clinic, where she helps clients from varied socioeconomic backgrounds who are facing everything from evictions to misdemeanor charges. Such opportunities reinforce what Gina learns in class and why it matters, and she is grateful for the scholarship, Student Funded Fellowship, and Dean's Public Service Fellowship that enabled her to turn down full rides elsewhere in order to attend her dream school. "Knowing there are donors thinking about people like me and giving their hard-earned money to support me is extra motivation to do well," says Gina, seen here outside the Ann Arbor Justice Center.
Christopher Burtley admires lawyers' ability to impact society, and when he was considering law schools, he liked that Michigan Law's vibrant, engaged student body makes an impact while still in school. The future litigator and Flint, Michigan, native is especially interested in transforming inner cities. He leads the Black Law Students Alliance (BLSA) and is co-chair of JDs in the D—a student organization that connects alumni working in Detroit with law students interested in the city's revitalization. Scholarships made Michigan Law accessible for Chris, and at BLSA's annual Butch Carpenter Scholarship Banquet he saw that the community engagement that attracted him to Michigan Law is lifelong. "The room was filled with alumni. To see people who came before you invest in the Law School is special," says Chris. "Alumni still talk about the student orgs they were a part of, because being involved enriches your law school experience and teaches you so much about yourself and others. Your experience decades from now will be defined by your relationship with your peers today."
Joseph Morrison came to Michigan Law wanting to practice corporate law. Southeast Michigan's flourishing entrepreneurial community steered him to a practice that focuses on entrepreneurial and venture capital issues. He now practices with Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Joe immersed himself in learning opportunities across the University, from business school classes to advising students through Michigan Law's Entrepreneurship Clinic, part of the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law (ZEAL) Program. Joe and fellow clinic students helped clients navigate startup issues like incorporation, product development, hiring, and board structuring. "The clinic showed me how much there was that I didn't know, and it helped me realize that there are major legal risks at every stage of a company's growth," says Joe, seen here at a student startup accelerator. "Figuring out how to help clients identify and minimize those risks while still a student was a unique opportunity I couldn't get in a classroom. ZEAL was a huge influence in shaping my career."
Professor Kyle Logue's longstanding passion (yes, passion) for insurance and tax law and his understanding of their importance in our daily lives have led him to publish widely in both fields. Logue, who is the Wade H. and Dores M. McCree Collegiate Professor of Law, is a reporter for the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Liability Insurance Project, which provides authoritative guidance for courts deciding insurance contract disputes. His recent scholarly projects range from an explanation of state insurance anti-discrimination laws—which affect the premiums we all pay for every type of insurance—to an argument for why the existing alternative minimum tax should be accompanied by an alternative maximum tax. "At Michigan, legal research has real-world implications," says Logue. "And we are fortunate to have incredible library resources and a scholarly community dedicated to making each other's work better."
Callie Dendrinos saw the effects of poverty firsthand as an AmeriCorps volunteer in a low-income school. So she wanted to go to law school to learn how to improve the system, one client at a time. The prospect of a large debt load after graduation made a top law school seem out of reach—until Callie learned about Michigan Law's Debt Management Program, also known as the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). "It's easy to say a law school is committed to public service, but Michigan proves it with the investment they make in LRAP," says Callie, who is an attorney with New Mexico Legal Aid. "All the opportunities the Law School provides would've been useless if I hadn't been able to get help managing my debt. I am so grateful for Michigan Law's tangible support of my career choice."
As a first-generation college student, Kelly Jauregui knew her parents wanted her to pursue her dreams but couldn't support her financially. She also knew, from watching her father work as a court interpreter, that she wanted to go to law school. At Michigan Law, Kelly has pursued her interest in gender issues as associate editor for the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, and plans to do pro bono work in that field once she begins full-time practice in the litigation department of Lowenstein Sandler's New Jersey office. She also has connected to her roots, while building her network and her leadership skills, as co-president of the Latino Law Students Association. A scholarship recipient herself, Kelly is proud of the group's sponsorship of the Juan Luis Tienda Scholarship, and she serves on the Law School's Nannes 3L Challenge committee to encourage recent-grad giving. "I am the beneficiary of mentors and donors who were proactive on my behalf at important moments," says Kelly. "It's my responsibility to give back."
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation in the United States, and for Professor Ellen Katz and many Michigan Law students, it has been an ongoing laboratory for research. Katz, who is the Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law, created the Voting Rights Initiative (VRI) at the Law School to provide data about the past and present status of minority participation in the political process. The findings have served to inform courts, Congress, and public debate. For Katz, whose scholarship addresses questions of minority representation, political equality, and the role of institutions in crafting and implementing anti-discrimination laws, the VRI has exemplified her work both as a scholar and teacher. "Teaching and scholarship do not always run together," says Katz, "so it is especially gratifying to be able to combine the two as we did with the Voting Rights Initiative here at Michigan."
Our top priority is student support in all forms, so that we may continue to attract the best and brightest, while ensuring that a Michigan education is financially realistic for all students.
Scholarships As law school enrollments decline nationwide, top students are more in demand by top schools than ever before. To remain competitive with our peer schools in attracting these students, we seek your help to strengthen our pool of merit- and need-based scholarships—in terms of both the number of scholarships available and the award amounts. Your support will help ensure that the most qualified applicants will be able to choose Michigan based on fit, rather than attending a second-choice school that offers more scholarship aid. And it will ensure that students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests continue to learn together at Michigan.
Summer Fellowship Funding Michigan Law guarantees 2L summer funding for students working in government and nonprofits, but the need for funding assistance continues to grow, as summer job opportunities in the private sector are increasingly scarce. And while Student Funded Fellowships provide support for 1Ls, the demand far exceeds the resources. Since some peer schools guarantee 1L funding, your gift to summer fellowships will work toward a similar goal at Michigan and will allow our students to continue to pursue a wide variety of careers within the legal profession.
Debt Management Nearly 80 percent of Michigan Law students take out educational loans. This speaks to the need for more scholarship assistance, and the level of debt ($117,000, on average) that students incur. The Debt Management Program, also known as the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, is the broadest of its kind in that it is not restricted to alumni with public sector jobs. Your gift to LRAP will help ease the debt burden for Michigan Law graduates, enabling them to pursue their desired career paths, while enhancing the School's across-the-board reputation for excellence.
Michigan Law excels at creating opportunities for students to practice lawyering skills. Whether they are helping a local student startup incorporate through the Entrepreneurship Clinic or working with refugees in Cambodia through the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, students bring the classroom to life through experiential learning—and become the practice-ready lawyers today's employers demand. We provide our students with a best-in-class education that costs more than the old law school model. Your support will provide much-needed resources for our popular Clinical Law Program, enhance externship opportunities, and strengthen our Legal Practice Program, an essential part of the Michigan Law experience.
The Quad is an enduring symbol of Michigan Law whose beauty is unmatched. However, maintaining the integrity of old buildings, and equipping them with modern updates, creates ongoing need. Your gift in support of our facilities will keep the Quad beautiful yet functional for decades to come.
In today's competitive legal education environment, exceptional faculty are in high demand. The changing nature of the legal profession mandates that students acquire a sophisticated knowledge of a broad spectrum of issues, and that they also acquire the skills in law school to prepare them immediately for practice. To effectively accomplish this, our faculty are—and must continue to be—the best. Your gifts in support of faculty will help ensure that we can hire and retain top scholars from a wide variety of fields, and that we can equip them with the resources needed to produce cutting-edge, relevant research and scholarship.
Each of the Law School's priorities during the Victors for Michigan campaign is impacted directly by the Law School Fund. As the School's primary source of discretionary funding, the Law School Fund provides support for core programs, student scholarships, faculty research, clinics, and many significant initiatives, including the Debt Management Program, the Legal Practice Program, Student Funded Fellowships, and In-Home Seminars.
The unrestricted nature of Law School Fund gifts also ensures that the School can respond to challenges and embrace new opportunities quickly and flexibly.
"No matter where your career has taken you, you're relying on things you learned at Michigan, people you met at Michigan, or doors that your Michigan degree opens."Nicole Allen, '08
"My time in Ann Arbor was important. Living and working in the U.S. is different than studying it from abroad."Alfred Wiederkehr, MCL '68