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Thompson, Dana A.

Clinical Professor of Law
Transactional Law Clinics 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 Law Clinics Program, the Community Enterprise Clinic, and the Entrepreneurship Clinic. She has devoted most of her legal career to representing community-based organizations and small businesses on transactional matters to advance economic and racial justice in urban communities. Professor Thompson teaches in the Community Enterprise Clinic, where she represents community-based and nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, social enterprises, and small businesses in Detroit and other disinvested urban communities. She is the founding director of Michigan Law's Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represented University of Michigan student-led startups and other start-up ventures.

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 scholarship and other writings focus on urban entrepreneurship and community development, small business legal matters, and student entrepreneurship. 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.

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 and serves on other nonprofit boards. She is the 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 a past co-chair of the Association of American Law School's Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee.

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...



Gave the keynote speech about the unequal access to capital and other resources for businesses owned by women and people of color, Duke University's Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity's Capital Matters conference, October 2019.

Panelist, "A Lawyer's Life: Life as a Transactional Lawyer," University of Michigan Law School, October 2019.

Presented during the panel session, "Collaborating for Innovation: Cooperative Approaches to Supporting the IP and Business-Law Needs of Entrepreneurs," Midwest Conference on Clinical Legal Education," University of Michigan Law School, October 2019.

Presented "Preparing Students to be Interdisciplinary Collaborators for Change," 2019 Association of American Law Schools Clinical Conference, May 2019.

Presented "Primer on Community Economic Development," ABA Forum of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, January 2019.

Presenter, "Examining Race and Privilege in Community Economic Development," Association of American Law Schools conference, New Orleans, January 2019.