Wayne State University Law School
||This article may contain academic boosterism which primarily serves to praise or promote the subject and may be a sign of a conflict of interest. (May 2011)|
|Wayne State University Law School|
|Location||Detroit, Michigan, USA|
Wayne State University Law School is located in Midtown, the City of Detroit’s Cultural Center, and is one of the schools of Wayne State University. It is one of two public law schools in the state of Michigan and has educated and trained lawyers since 1927. Wayne Law’s more than 11,000 alumni include judges, justices, law firm partners and government officials working in all 50 states and at least 12 foreign countries.
The Law School was founded in 1927 and was originally named the Detroit City Law School as part of the City Colleges of Detroit. Allan Campbell served as the Law School’s founding dean, which graduated its first class with the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree in 1928.
The City Colleges of Detroit thrived and was subsequently renamed Wayne University in 1933. In 1956, the university joined Michigan State University and the University of Michigan as one of the state’s three major public research institutions and was renamed Wayne State University.
The Law School received full American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation in 1939. The school’s Moot Court program (originally called the Case Club) was established in 1938, and the Wayne Law Review began publication in 1954. As an additional honor, members of the Wayne Law Review were awarded Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees rather than LL.B. degrees (J.D. degrees were awarded to all law students with an undergraduate degree beginning in 1965). In 1965, the Law School’s students founded the Free Legal Aid Clinic, which is now operated in conjunction with Lakeshore Legal Aid and Neighborhood Legal Services.
At the urging of the ABA and the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners, Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan Law School joined to form the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in 1960.
Deans of the Law School have included Allan Campbell (1927–1937), Arthur Neef (1937–1966), Charles Joiner (1968–1975), Donald Gordon (1975–1980), John Roberts (1980–1987), John Reed (1987–1993), James Robinson (1993–1998), Joan Mahoney (1998–2004; first female law school dean in Michigan history), Frank Wu (2004–2008), Robert Ackerman (2008–2012) and Jocelyn Benson (interim 2012–2014; permanent 2014–present). Benson is the youngest woman ever to lead a U.S. law school.
According to Wayne State University's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 53.3% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required employment within nine months of graduation. Wayne State University's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 30.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
There were approximately 419 students enrolled in the Law School’s J.D. program as of 2014. According to American Bar Association data, entering law students in 2014 had undergraduate GPAs ranging from 2.99 (25th percentile) to 3.52 (75th percentile), and LSAT scores ranging from 152 (25th) to 160 (75th). The Law School’s 2014 acceptance rate was 49%, and graduates maintained a 2013 bar passage rate of more than 78%, above the state average of 69% for all takers of the Michigan Bar Exam.
U.S. News & World Report's rankings for 2015 placed Wayne Law at 87 out of 194 accredited law schools. Wayne Law's alumni continue to outpace all other Michigan law schools, including U of M Law School, on the "Super Lawyers" list within the state of Michigan, representing 29 of the Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers. This list encompasses lawyers who have achieved or continue to achieve success in the field of law.
Tuition and fees at Wayne State University Law School for the 2014–15 academic year are $15,012.85 per semester (for 15 credits). In October 2014 Wayne Law announced a tuition freeze through at least the 2015–16 school year, as well as additional scholarships that amount to the equivalent of a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students.
Wayne Law was recognized as a Best Value law school for 2014 by The National Jurist and its sister publication, preLaw magazine. Wayne Law was the only Michigan law school recognized. Criteria for selection includes price of tuition, student debt accumulation, bar passage rate, cost of living and employment success.
Campus and resources
The Law School moved to its present location in 1966. In 2000, the Law School completed a $17-million addition and renovation project.
In 2011, Wayne Law opened the two-story, 10,000-square-foot Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, named in honor of Judge Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, an alumnus of the Law School. Keith Center programming is funded by more than $2.5 million in endowments and includes the Damon J. Keith Collection of African-American Legal History.
In 2015, the Levin Center at Wayne Law was established and named for retired U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who is its chair and distinguished legislator in residence at the law school. Through academic programming, training and scholarship, the center will equip future lawyers, legislators and leaders with an understanding of how legislative oversight can lead to changes in public policy.
Wayne Law operates eight clinics:
- Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic
- Business and Community Law Clinic
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Clinic
- Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic
- Disability Law Clinic
- Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic
- Patent Procurement Clinic
- Transnational Environmental Law Clinic
The Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, a medical-legal partnership between Wayne Law and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, was named one of the nation's most innovative law school clinics by The National Jurist magazine in January 2015.
The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law coordinates Wayne Law’s business law courses, clinics, internships, and extracurricular/co-curricular and community engagement activities. The program offers early-stage legal assistance to local startups and creates forums for entrepreneurs to receive general legal guidance and access community resources.
The Wayne Alumni Law Group is a nonprofit firm that trains new attorneys as they assist Detroit entrepreneurs with growing their businesses.
- Damon Keith (LL.M. 1956, former Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)
- John Conyers (J.D. 1958, U.S. Congressman, former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Marilyn Jean Kelly (J.D. 1971, former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice)
- Susan Bieke Neilson (J.D. 1980, former Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)
- Arthur Tarnow (J.D. 1965, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)
- David M. Lawson (J.D. 1976, Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)
- Nancy Garlock Edmunds (J.D. 1976, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)
- Annice M. Wagner (J.D. 1962, former Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals)
- Marcia Cooke (J.D. 1977, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida)
- William Davidson (J.D. 1949, former owner of the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Shock and Tampa Bay Lightning)
- Dan Gilbert (J.D. 1987, Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans)
- Dorothy Comstock Riley (LL.B. 1949, former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice)
- Sam Bernstein (Michigan-famed attorney, founder of The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein)
- Gary Peters (J.D. 1989, U.S. Senator)
- Stephen M. Ross (J.D. 1965, founder, chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies LP)
- Lynn N. Rivers (J.D. 1992, U.S. Congressman)
- Marilyn Jean Kelly, distinguished jurist in residence; former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice
- Jocelyn Benson, expert on civil rights law, education law and election law; Wayne Law dean
- Gerald Ellis Rosen, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
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- "Wayne State snags Levin, creates center in his name". Detroit Free Press.
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- "The most innovative clinics". The National Jurist.
- "Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law". Wayne State University.
- "Wayne Law launches independent, apprentice-model law firm". Detroit Legal News.
- "Damon Keith". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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- "Susan Bieke Neilson". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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- "Dorothy Comstock Riley". Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society.
- Laitner, Bill. “He can run with anyone.” Detroit Free Press. 29 October 2006.
- "Gary Peters". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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