Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Faculty Biographies > Faculty Bio

Thompson, Dana A.

Clinical Professor of Law
Transactional Clinical Law Program
Community Enterprise Clinic
Entrepreneurship Clinic

3128 Jeffries Hall
Professor Dana A. Thompson, '99, is a clinical professor of law and directs Michigan Law's Transactional Clinical Law Program, the Community Enterprise Clinic, and the Entrepreneurship Clinic. She is the founding director of Michigan Law's Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represents University of Michigan student-led startups and other start-up ventures. Prior to the Entrepreneurship Clinic, she taught in the Law School's Urban Communities Clinic, where she represented small businesses, start-up ventures, and community-based organizations, primarily in Detroit. Before joining Michigan Law, Professor Thompson taught at Wayne State University Law School and founded and directed Wayne Law'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. Her article, "Accelerating the Growth of the Next Generation of Innovators," discusses the importance of campus incubators collaborating with law school clinics and was published in the Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal in 2013. Another article, "L3Cs: An Innovative Choice for Urban Entrepreneurship and Urban Revitalization," also was published in 2013 in the American University Business Law Review. The article explores the role that low-profit limited liability companies, also known as L3Cs, could play in establishing viable minority-owned urban small businesses. Professor Thompson also writes about small-business legal issues in various publications, including Crain's Detroit Business. She is a contributing author to Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers, and Policymakers, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. Prior to entering academia, Professor Thompson practiced at Morrison & 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, representing the organization on land conservation transactions. In November 2014, Professor Thompson was elected statewide by the citizens of Michigan to serve on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, which elects the president of the university, has general supervision of the university, and controls all expenditures from university funds, among other duties. Professor Thompson also serves on the board of directors of TechTown Detroit. She is the immediate past chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section and is a past co-chair of the Legal Educator's Committee of the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also is the immediate past co-chair of the Association of American Law School's Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee. In addition, she served on the Michigan Community Resources Board of Directors and she served on former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's emerging Small Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Council. Professor Thompson received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was editor of the Michigan Law Review, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College.

Recent Publications

More Publications...



Panelist at the "Mastering Clinical and Experiential Legal Education" session of the Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop, University of Michigan Law School, July 2017.

Presented "What Small Businesses Need to Know about Intellectual Property and Employment Law" to the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Flint, Michigan, June 2017.

Presented "Legal Aspects of Setting up Small Businesses" to small-business owners at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Flint, Michigan, March 2017.

Participated in the Weather Underground Startup Trek for student startups and sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan, March 2017.

Gave a webinar presentation on "Funding Student Legal Clinics for University Start-Ups: A Win-Win for Law School Students, University Entrepreneurs, and Your Tech Transfer Office" for Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2016.

Received a 2015 Change Leadership Award from the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries for her work with nonprofits, September 2015.​

Panelist on "The New Normal and Our Social Justice Mission" at the 38th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, May 2015. ​

Panelist on "Scholarship: Why, What, Where, and How" at the 14th Annual Transactional Clinical Conference, April 2015.​

Participated in the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries' Women's History Month Call to Service event and introduced keynote speaker U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, March 2015. ​

Sworn in as a governor on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, January 2015.​