HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE
LAWYERS WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Detroit Mercy Law provides students with hands-on learning from day one. We not only teach the law, we teach how to be lawyers. As a result, our graduates leave the School with the skills necessary to make a difference in their workplace, their communities, and the world.
A COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL WRITING PROGRAM
Writing well is an essential skill for lawyers. Detroit Mercy Law recognizes this, and we have developed a comprehensive legal writing program to prepare our graduates for the demands of the marketplace. Our first year legal writing course goes beyond the traditional memo and brief-writing and introduces our students to the drafting of pleadings and contracts. Students build on the fundamental skills taught in the first year with writing assignments in the upper level required courses. These writing assignments prepare our graduates to draft the wide variety of documents lawyers write in practice.
All Detroit Mercy Law students get hands-on experience in specific areas of law by taking one of our Law Firm Program courses. In these courses, students act as attorneys in simulated cases and transactions and develop both substantive knowledge and practical skills in a particular area of law, including business law, family law, immigration, litigation, and real estate. Students engage in the type of work attorneys are expected to do, such as interview witnesses and clients, negotiate with opposing counsel, develop factual records, and conduct hearings and oral arguments.
Every J.D. student is guaranteed a position in Detroit Mercy Law’s nationally recognized clinical program before graduating. In the clinics, students represent real clients under the supervision of experienced attorneys and further develop their advocacy, client relations, and writing skills. These clinics are also designed to meet the interests of students by allowing them to choose to represent different types of clients, including veterans seeking benefits; immigrants seeking asylum; criminal defendants facing misdemeanor charges; and emerging artists in Detroit seeking to protect their work with patents.
Detroit Mercy Law has a well-developed externship program that allows students to get academic credit for working at public and nonprofit organizations. Students work at organizations such as the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, Freedom House, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Prosecutors’ Offices and Public Defender Organizations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Wayne County Corporation Counsel’s Office. The state and federal courthouses are within walking distance of Detroit Mercy Law, and students intern throughout the year with judges in both court systems.