Michigan State University College of Law
|Michigan State University College of Law|
|Parent school||Michigan State University|
|School type||Independent, non-profit corporation|
|Parent endowment||US $3 billion|
|Location||East Lansing, Michigan, United States|
|Faculty||136 full time, 63 part time|
|Bar pass rate||81% (MI)|
The Michigan State University College of Law (also known as Michigan State Law or MSU 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. The current dean of the school is Lawrence Ponoroff. In October 2018, the College of Law gained approval to become fully integrated into Michigan State University, which will convert the school from a private to a public law school and is expected to take a year and a half to finalize.
The college is nationally ranked within the Best Law Schools in U.S. News and World Report, landing in the 88th spot in the 2019 rankings. The Michigan State Law Review is ranked 48 out of 317 by Washington & Lee University School of Law, which is the leading source for law journal rankings.
Notable alumni include Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth T. Clement, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and United States federal judge George Clifton Edwards Jr., politician and incoming Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger, former Michigan Senate majority leader and current U.S. Representative Mike Bishop, and current mayor of East Lansing Mark Meadows.
Detroit College of Law opened in 1891 with 69 students and was incorporated in 1893. Among the first class of 69 students to graduate were a future circuit judge and an ambassador. It was the oldest continuously operating independent law school in the United States until it was assimilated by MSU in 1997.
In 1937, the college broke ground and relocated itself in a new building at 130 East Elizabeth Street in Detroit, where it stayed until 1997. The Building was designed by architect George DeWitt Mason. It had been located at the former Detroit College of Medicine building on St. Antoine Street from 1892 to 1913; and the Detroit "YMCA" building from 1913 to 1924; the ground on which the building stood was under a 99 year lease from the YMCA. The last 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.
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 newly located college was called "Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University". The affiliation was celebrated at a function where former President Gerald Ford joined more than 2,500 guests at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts Great Hall. Ford characterized the affiliation between Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law "a bold new venture" that presents "a singular opportunity to help shape the changing face of American legal education well into the next century." 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.
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. Beforehand, she was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2001. She retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year. Lawrence Ponoroff became the Dean in the fall of 2016.
On October 26, 2018, MSU's governing board, the Board of Trustees, voted to fully integrate the College of Law into the university, thereby converting it from a private to a public law school. Interim MSU President John Engler said this move could allow the law school to excel in new areas including autonomous vehicles, the food industry, and health law. He said the law college should leverage its close geographic connection with the Michigan State Capitol to further impact the state's legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of government. Dean Lawrence Ponoroff said, "Since the original affiliation in 1995, the relationship between the university and the law college has grown increasingly closer and, at each stage, resounded in benefits to both institutions." The integration is expected to take a year and a half to finalize.
The school also currently houses the Center for Legal Services Innovation (LegalRnD), which was introduced in 2015. Its director is the school's current Assistant Dean for Career Development and former Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn partner Daniel W. Linna Jr. The program allows the students to take innovative and technology oriented classes, such as Legal Analytics, Entrepreneurial Lawyering, and E-Discovery. The goal is that once the students go through the program, they will be better-equipped to find innovative ways to deliver legal services to clients and those in need.
LegalRnD likely replaced the school's former ReInvent Law program, which was founded by the school's former Daniel Martin Katz and current Renee Newman Knake. ReInvent Law likely ceased operations when Daniel Martin Katz obtained a new job at Chicago-Kent College of Law. A popular piece of legal technology that sprouted from the ReInvent law program is the StandIn phone app, which was partially founded by school graduate Andrew Johnston.
Currently, this program is a differentiating aspect when comparing Michigan State University College of Law to other law schools. In the short time that it has existed, it has partnered up with Michigan-based intellectual property law firm Brooks Kushman in order to find an innovative way to provide legal services to startups and entrepreneurs; and it has partnered up with Canada's MaRS. LegalRnD also helped to launch a ZeekBeek directory for law students with the objective being more exposure for the law students before graduation. The program has even garnered the attention of legal blogger Kevin O'Keefe.
Academic journals and publications
Law journals at the law school are nationally ranked and include:
- Michigan State Law Review, - the flagship journal is currently ranked 64th among the nearly 1,700 journals worldwide ranked by Washington and Lee.
- Michigan State International Law Review,
- Journal of Medicine and Law (phased out),
- Journal of Business & Securities Law,
- Journal of Animal and Natural Resource Law.
- Additionally, the school also publishes Amicus, the law college's bi-annual magazine.
Clubs and school organizations
- ABA—Law Student Division Representative
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
- American Constitution Society
- Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
- Black Law Students Association
- Books to Prisoners
- Business Law Society
- Canadian Student Legal Association
- Chinese Legal Society
- Christian Legal Society
- Conservative Law Society
- Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted
- Delta Theta Phi
- Environmental Law Society
- Family Law Society
- Federalist Society
- Hispanic Law Society
- Intellectual Property Law Society
- International Law Society
- J. Reuben Clark Law Society
- Jewish Legal Society
- Kappa Omega Alpha
- Labor and Employment Law Association
- Law and Economics Society
- Law Students for Reproductive Justice
- LLM Student Association
- Medical-Legal Society
- Moot Court & Trial Advocacy Board
- MSU Behavioral and Mental Health Law Society
- MSU Law Ice Hockey Club
- MSU College of Law Athletic Association
- Muslim Law Students Association
- Native American Law Students Association (NALSA)
- O.W.L.S. (Older and/or Wiser Law Students)
- Phi Alpha Delta
- Public Interest Law Society
- Res Ipsa (Student Newspaper)
- Spartan Law Students Society
- Sports and Entertainment Law Society
- St. Thomas More Society
- Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Student Bar Association
- Tax and Estate Planning Society
- Tau Epsilon Rho Law Society
- Trial Advocacy Society
- Triangle Bar
- Wolverine Student Bar Association/Black Law Student Association
- Women's Law
- Dennis Archer '70 , former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court and former mayor of Detroit, Michigan.
- Mike Bishop '93, Michigan Senate majority leader from 2002-10 and U.S. Representative for Michigan's 8th congressional district since 2015
- Ivan Boesky '65, former American stock trader notable for his prominent role in an insider trading scandal that occurred in the United States during the mid-1980s.
- Ella Bully-Cummings '98, chief of police of Detroit, Michigan from 2003 to 2008
- Barb Dempsey '78, current mayor of Mount Clemens, Michigan
- Elizabeth T. Clement '02, Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court (2017 - current)
- John Z. DeLorean attended, but dropped out.
- Christopher D. Dingell '86, state senator and judge
- George Clifton Edwards Jr. '44, former Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and a United States Circuit Judge 
- Geoffrey Fieger '79, former Michigan gubernatorial candidate.
- Bernard A. Friedman '68 
- Clifton E. Haley '61, Former CEO, Budget Rent a Car
- Kwame Kilpatrick '00, former mayor of Detroit, Michigan
- Mark Meadows '75, mayor of East Lansing a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives
- Dennis F. Murphy '80, was a feature in murder mystery novel Wicked Takes The Witness Stand; trial judge deceased while holding office 
- Lowell W. Perry '60, American football player and coach, government official, businessman, broadcaster, and the first African-American assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL)
- Steve Pestka, former member of the Michigan House of Representatives, judge, and a Kent County, Michigan commissioner
- Brian Sims '04, Democratic representative for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 182nd District
- W. Clement Stone attended for a year, but left after he decided he could not make enough money as a lawyer.
- Richard Fred Suhrheinrich '63 Senior United States Circuit Judge
- Antavius M. Weems '01, Celebrity Attorney,
- Gretchen Whitmer '98, politician and incoming Governor of Michigan.
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- "Michigan State University College of Law: 2014 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
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- "History". Michigan State University College of Law. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
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- "Detroit College of Law Historical Marker, 130 Elizabeth Street on the exterior wall of Comerica Park behind right field". Detroit, the History and Future of the Motor City. 1701.org. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Tetens, Kristan (Fall 1998). "The Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University: Two Institutions One Vision". MSU Alumni Magazine. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- "MSU law school name change reflects integration and collaboration" (Press release). Michigan State University. 2004. Retrieved February 20, 2010.
- "Joan W. Howarth". MSU College of Law. 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "New Deans". LSJ. 2015. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- Wolcott, RJ (October 26, 2018). "MSU College of Law, previously private and independent, to become a part of the university". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- "New center aims to improve practice of law through science". MSUToday. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Law and technology innovator Daniel Martin Katz to join IIT Chicago-Kent faculty". IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Can't Make it to Court? No Problem. Meet the Replacement Lawyer App - Capterra Blog". blog.capterra.com. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "New legal partnership helps student entrepreneurs". MSUToday. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Partnering to improve access to legal services". MSUToday. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "MSU Law, Zeekbeek, announce launch of new law student directory". MSUToday. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- LexBlog, Kevin O’Keefe |; Ave, Inc 710 Second; Seattle, Suite 660. "Blogs and social media play a role in access to the law?". Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking". Washington and Lee University School of Law. 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Home page". International Law Review. Michigan State University College of Law. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- "Home page". Journal of Business & Securities Law. Michigan State University College of Law. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- "Home page". Journal of Animal and Natural Resource Law. Michigan State University College of Law. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- "MSU Law: Student Organizations". MSU College of Law. 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "MSU Law: Amicus".
- "Dennis W. Archer, Chairman Emeritus". Dickinson Wright PLLC. 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Dennis Archer". Detroit African-American History Project. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- Fallon, Ivan; Srodes, James (January 1, 1983). Dream Maker: The Rise and Fall of John Z. DeLorean. Putnam. p. 48. ISBN 9780399128219.
- "George C. Edwards Jr. Papers". Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University. 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Judges of the United States Courts: Friedman, Bernard A." Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Kilpatrick's giant step toward a lifelong dream". The Toledo Blade. August 5, 2001.
- "Mark S. Meadows". Willingham & Coté, PC. 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Biography: State Representative Mark Meadows". Michigan House Democrats. 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Wicked Takes the Witness Stand". University of Michigan Press. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- "MICHIGAN Half Staff Status". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Snyder, Rick (June 11, 2012). "Governor orders flags lowered through Wednesday, June 13 to honor Judge Dennis F. Murphy" (Press release). Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- Widder, Pat; Janega, James; Pearson, Rick (Sep 4, 2002). "W. Clement Stone: 1902-2002 Positive thinking, $100 led to fortune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- "A Foundation of Ethics, Alumnus Antavius Weems, "Super Lawyer" to the Stars" (PDF). Michigan State University College of Law. 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- Emily Lawler (6 November 2018). "Democrat Gretchen Whitmer wins Michigan governor race". MLive. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
- Guiffre, Donna J (December 31, 2011). A Centennial History of the Detroit College of Law.