Real-World Experience with Real Impact
Michigan Law has long been known for its distinctive educational blend of leading scholarship and legal practice. In today's competitive environment, it is more important than ever for new graduates to hit the ground running in the practice of law. For more than 45 years, Michigan Law has offered clinics in which students take "first-chair" lead responsibility for real clients with real legal needs. Students represent these clients under the supervision of experienced faculty in small, intensive settings in classrooms, boardrooms, and courtrooms in Michigan and beyond. We are so committed to this formative experience that we guarantee
every student at least one upper-level clinic, with many taking more.
Our 18 clinics cover a remarkable array of practice areas from transactional to litigation and everything in between. Students represent children, families, small business owners and nonprofit agencies, the wrongly convicted, human trafficking victims, asylum seekers, startups and makers, organizations bringing business solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems, and individuals in need of core civil and criminal legal services.
BUILDING PRACTICE COMPETENCIES
With clinical faculty as supervisors, students prepare for each aspect of their cases, from interviewing clients and witnesses to negotiating with opposing counsel, drafting pleadings, conducting trials, and handling a wide variety of legal transactions. Michigan Law's clinical education provides a unique opportunity for training students to think critically and strategically about all aspects of client representation and practice by providing hands-on experience in all the core competencies of the practice of law.
Our clinical programs are infused with Michigan Law's interdisciplinary emphasis. The Child Advocacy Law Clinic, founded in 1976, incorporates the work of psychologists and social workers; the Environmental Law Clinic coordinates its classes with the School of Natural Resources and Environment; business and engineering students work side-by-side with law students on transactions supported by the Entrepreneurship Clinic and International Transactions Clinic; and the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic partners with health care centers to address the legal issues that impact the health of low-income children and their families. Most other clinics frequently rely on, or work with, experts in other fields in the course of representing clients.
The Law School's commitment to a global perspective also permeates the clinics, providing students with experience in international policy and cross-border transactions. In the Human Trafficking Clinic, students collaborate with lawmakers and international human rights organizations to combat modern-day slavery. The International Transactions Clinic—which represents clients in Tajikistan, Russia, Europe, Africa, and the United States—puts students on accelerated paths to becoming international-deal lawyers by giving students hands-on experience in, among other things, drafting cross-border investment documentation and advising clients on how to comply with the laws of multiple nations.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITMENT
Clinics allow students to gain hands-on experience helping clients who would not otherwise have access to high-quality legal representation, and to be a catalyst for transformation in clients' lives. As an example, our non-DNA Innocence Clinic has already won the release of 10 wrongfully accused people in its six years of existence. Public service is a foundational value of the Law School, and public service on behalf of the broader community is an integral part of our clinical program.
NEW CLINICAL SUITES
The growth of Michigan Law's clinics and the important pedagogical role of clinical education are reflected in the Law School's new academic building, South Hall, which opened in 2012. The building features suites for the clinical programs, enabling faculty and students to meet with clients in a professional, business-style setting.
Michigan Law's clinical offerings, combined with our legal practice curriculum and breadth of practice-based coursework such as seminars and simulation courses, compose a rich portfolio of essential learning opportunities for Michigan students.