Michigan State University College of Law

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Michigan State University College of Law
MSU Law School 2.jpg
Parent school Michigan State University
Established 1891
School type Independent, non-profit corporation
Parent endowment US $2.000billion[1]
Dean Joan W. Howarth
Location East Lansing, Michigan, United States
Enrollment 907[2]
Faculty 136 full time, 63 part time
USNWR ranking 87th
Bar pass rate 81% (MI)[3]
Website MSU Law

The Michigan State University College of Law is a private law school located in East Lansing, Michigan which is affiliated with Michigan State University. Established in 1891 as the Detroit College of Law, it was the first law school in the Detroit, Michigan area and the second in the state of Michigan. According to Michigan State University's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 36.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[4]

History and background[edit]

The Law College Building.

Detroit College of Law opened in 1891 with 69 students and was incorporated in 1893. It was the oldest continuously operating independent law school in the United States until it was assimilated by MSU in 1997. The original location of the Detroit College of Law in Downtown Detroit is commemorated by a plaque at Comerica Park, the home stadium of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, which now occupies the site.

Detroit College of Law's first home was in the Detroit College of Medicine building from 1892 to 1913. From 1913 to 1924 it was housed in the YMCA building. In 1935 the college broke ground for a new building at 130 E. Elizabeth Street.

Among the first class of 69 students to graduate were a future circuit judge and an ambassador.[citation needed] A woman in the first class and an African American in the second were precursors of the Law College’s commitment to excellent educational opportunity for all sectors of the population.[citation needed]

The college became affiliated with Michigan State University in 1995 to enhance that school's curriculum and reputation. It relocated to East Lansing in 1997, when its 99-year lease with the Detroit YMCA expired, and the original building was demolished to make way for Comerica Park. The association between the two schools has led to a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program at the law college. Today, the college remains one of only two independent law schools to be affiliated with a research university. Many Detroit College of Law alumni do not recognize their affiliation with MSU, although they were offered MSU diplomas at a cost of $400 after the merger.

In April 2004, the school changed its name to the MSU College of Law, becoming more closely aligned academically with MSU. Although it operates as a constituent college of the university, the college of law remains financially independent and receives no state or university funding.[5]

Joan Howarth began her deanship at Michigan State University College of Law on July 1, 2008. Howarth is the 11th dean and first female dean in MSU Law’s 117-year history. Howarth had been a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2001.[6]

The college is nationally ranked within the Best Law Schools in U.S. News and World Report, currently sitting at the 87th spot.[7] The Michigan State Law Review is ranked 48 out of 317 by Washington & Lee University School of Law, which is the main leading source for law journal rankings.[8] [9]

Academic journals and publications[edit]

Law journals at the law school include: Michigan State Law Review[10] (the flagship journal), Michigan State International Law Review,[11] Journal of Medicine and Law,[12] Journal of Business & Securities Law,[13] and Journal of Animal and Natural Resource Law.[14] All of these journals are nationally ranked.[15] Additionally, the school also publishes Amicus, the law college's tri-annual magazine.[16]


According to Michigan State University's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 36.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[17] Michigan State University's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 38.9%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[18]

ABA Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates[19]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 301 Graduates


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Michigan State University Law School for the 2013-2014 academic year is $51,270.00.[20] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $190,000.[21]

Clubs and school organizations[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2010 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ http://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/ABA_LSAC_Consumer_Information_2014.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/ABA_LSAC_Consumer_Information_2014.pdf
  4. ^ "Michigan State University Law School 2013 ABA Employment Report". 
  5. ^ "MSU law school name change reflects integration and collaboration". MSU. 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Joan W. Howarth". MSU College of Law. 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  7. ^ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+4
  8. ^ http://lawlib.wlu.edu/lj/index.aspx?mainid=187
  9. ^ http://www.law.msu.edu/news/2011/releases/LawReview-Ranking.html
  10. ^ Michigan State Law Review
  11. ^ Journal of International Law
  12. ^ Journal of Medicine and Law
  13. ^ Journal of Business & Securities Law
  14. ^ "MSU Law: Student Organizations". MSU College of Law. 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  15. ^ "Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking". Washington and Lee University School of Law. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  16. ^ "MSU Law: Amicus". 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  17. ^ "Michigan State University Law School 2013 ABA Employment Report". 
  18. ^ "LST Score Reports: Michigan State University Profile". 
  19. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  20. ^ "Michigan State University Law School Cost of Attendance". 
  21. ^ "MSU Law LST Costs Report Profile". 
  22. ^ "Dennis W. Archer, Chairman Emeritus". Dickinson Wright PLLC. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  23. ^ "Fourth District Judges". Michigan Court of Appeals. 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  24. ^ "George C. Edwards Jr. Papers". Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  25. ^ "Judges of the United States Courts: Friedman, Bernard A.". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  26. ^ "Clifton E. Haley". MSU College of Law. 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  27. ^ "Mark S. Meadows". Willingham & Coté, PC. 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  28. ^ "Biography: State Representative Mark Meadows". Michigan House Democrats. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  29. ^ "Biographical Information: Hon. Dennis F. Murphy, Trial Judge". 46th Circuit Trial Court. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 

External links[edit]