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Who We Are

Faculty and Staff

Dana A. Thompson, Director and Clinical Professor of Law

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.

Gowri Krishna, Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law

Professor Gowri Krishna is a visiting clinical assistant professor of law in the Community Enterprise Clinic. She is a professor of law at New York Law School in New York City, where she founded the Nonprofit and Small Business Clinic. She is an experienced clinical educator with a strong focus on economic, racial, and social justice.

She began her career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Urban Justice Center, where she led a project that provided legal services to low-wage immigrant worker groups. After her fellowship, Professor Krishna taught community economic development clinics at Fordham School of Law, the University of Michigan Law School (2012-2013), and Roger Williams University School of Law.

In 2018, she founded the Nonprofit and Small Business Clinic at New York Law School, where she leads students in counseling New York City nonprofit and community-based organizations, worker cooperatives, social ventures, and neighborhood-based entrepreneurs that could not otherwise afford legal services on matters such as corporate formation, governance, tax and real estate issues, and contracts.

Throughout her career, Professor Krishna has maintained a steady focus on confronting the country's widening wealth gap and addressing threats to immigrants' rights, workers' rights, and public services. She has promoted innovative approaches to community-building that draw on the strengths of traditionally underrepresented and under-serviced groups, and she has advocated for workers' rights to dignified jobs free of abuse and exploitation.

She is an expert on immigrant-owned worker cooperatives and has presented on her work at the American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting and the American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law Annual Meeting. Professor Krishna also chaired the Community Economic Development Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section and regularly organizes meetings of New York City community economic development attorneys.

In addition, she has published scholarship on worker cooperatives and movement lawyering.

Professor Krishna earned her BA in Social Thought and Analysis and Political Science from Washington University of St. Louis and her JD from Fordham University School of Law, where she was highly active in public service and human rights groups.

Kelly Pfeifer, Clinical Fellow

Kelly Pfeifer's area of interest is equitable development. She focuses her practice in the CEC on providing transactional legal services to neighborhood-based entrepreneurs and small businesses in the city of Detroit. Prior to joining the CEC, Professor Pfeifer was Supervising Attorney at Community Law Center, Inc., in Baltimore, Maryland, where she counseled nonprofit organizations in a variety of matters including entity choice and formation, tax exemption applications and compliance, contracts, community benefits agreements, and land use matters. She received her BS from Purdue University and her JD from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she obtained a certificate in environmental law and was a student attorney in the Community Development Legal Theory and Practice course.