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 $2.145 billion|
|Dean||Joan W. Howarth|
|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 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.The school's rank among the nation's top 100 law schools slid to 94 in 2015, from 80th in 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report.
History and background
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.
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. 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 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.
Among the first class of 69 students to graduate were a future circuit judge and an ambassador. 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.
Move, transformation and renaming
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."
The association between the University and the College 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.[A]
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 will, however, be retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
The college is nationally ranked within the Best Law Schools in U.S. News and World Report, currently sitting at the 87th spot. 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.
LegalRnD 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.
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. 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.
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. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $190,000.
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
- 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 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 
- Henry Tourner Asher '28, a founder of Kappa Alpha Psi
- Mike Bishop '93
- Ivan Boesky '65
- Ella Bully-Cummings '98
- Barb Dempsey '78
- George C. Edwards, Jr. '44, Chief Judge 
- Geoffrey Fieger '79, former Michigan gubernatorial candidate.
- Bernard A. Friedman '68 
- Clifton E. Haley '61, Former CEO, Budget Rent a Car
- Mark Meadows '75, Current State Representative and former East Lansing mayor 
- 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
- Steve Pestka
- Brian Sims '04, Democratic representative for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 182nd District
- Richard Fred Suhrheinrich '63
- Antavius M. Weems '01, Celebrity Attorney
- Many Detroit College of Law alumni do not acknowledge their affiliation with MSU, although they were offered MSU diplomas at a cost of $400 after the merger and renaming. The school underwent a series of successive name changes: "Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University," "Michigan State University Detroit College of Law," "Michigan State University DCL College of Law", and finally, "Michigan State University College of Law."
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