Faculty and Curriculum
The University of Michigan Law School's faculty is considered, in the United States as well as abroad, one of the very best of the country. It is noted for excellence in effective classroom teaching, student accessibility and collegiality, as well as in legal scholarship and reform.
Michigan’s expansive and innovative law curriculum prepares students for a broad spectrum of careers anywhere in the United States and throughout much of the world. The variety of approaches to legal education and the expectation that students take advantage of the Law School’s remarkable facilities, curriculum, and faculty reflect Michigan’s philosophy that independence and diversity of thought form the most solid intellectual and ethical basis for any career.
Many of the nation's leading legal treatises and scholarly works, including those in commercial transactions, constitutional law, feminist jurisprudence, federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure, and international human rights, are the work of Michigan faculty. Excellence in the traditional fields of law is often also coupled with outstanding scholarship in other disciplines, which is another trademark of the University and the Law School in particular. In fact, more than a third of Michigan’s law professors also hold doctorates in such disciplines as history, economics, political science, public policy, psychology, sociology, classics, philosophy, and literature. Several of our faculty members are included in the ranks of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Thus, one of the School’s strengths is its leadership in the linking of laws to the insights and methods of other disciplines.
In addition, most faculty members have taught at other American universities and abroad. Outside of academia, many faculty members have also served in the federal government and as advisers to international organizations and to the governments of other countries.
To borrow the Law School Dean's description, Michigan’s broad curriculum is designed in such a way as to encourage the development and reinforcement of our students’ capacity and confidence to teach themselves new areas of law, new sets of lawyering skills, and the ability to operate in new legal or other professional settings—even after years of previous experience, and also years after our students have graduated from Michigan. As Dean Caminker concluded, "this pedagogic attitude and approach is a truly distinctive aspect of the Michigan Difference.
Apart from the interdisciplinary approach and the international perspective which permeates Michigan Law, some traditional fields of law deserve to be pointed out separately for their outstanding strength even within the overall high level, if only to respond to dominant interest from our readership: not surprisingly, corporate and financial law figure prominently. While Michigan doesn’t offer a title such as "LL.M. in corporate/financial law, one glance at any given semester’s course schedules will show that our students could easily study nothing but these subjects. At the same time, others primarily interested in human rights, for example, would come to the same conclusion in regard to their emphasis. And yet others, who would like to focus on environmental law, for instance, would relish the enormous offerings in the field, not only at the Law School, but also in cooperation with several other schools or graduate departments of the University. (Our LL.M.s are welcome to enroll in up to six credit hours of approved Michigan graduate courses, such as at the Business School or the School of Public Policy right next door.) In addition, further concentrations are enhanced by the activities organized by the Law School’s specialized centers and programs such as the Center for International and Comparative Law, the John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics, the Environmental Law and Policy Program, the European Legal Studies Program, the Japanese and Chinese Legal Studies Programs as well as the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law.
For an overview of Michigan Law’s curriculum, please refer to the Curriculum Interest Areas where further links also lead to detailed course descriptions and faculty biographies.