Detroit Mercy Law is proud of its clinical program, which is one of only a few required clinical programs in the country. Founded initially as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965, it was among the earliest clinics in the nation. Since that time, the program has flourished receiving numerous awards including the ABA Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access with Meritorious Recognition in 2012 and the ABA Law Student Division’s Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award in 2006.
The required clinical program is evidence of the Detroit Mercy Law’s Mission to provide an educational experience that emphasizes “experiential learning” and “service to others.” Students attend weekly classes that focus on the relevant skills and substantive law and all clinics provide for meaningful guided reflection. Additionally, each clinical professor works with their students throughout the semester to discuss and evaluate performance and accomplishments and provides a final comprehensive exit interview.
For further information or questions about our Clinical Program, please call (313) 596-0262.
Immigration Law Clinic
LAW 5060: Immigration Law Clinic
Prerequisite: Law 2220 (can be waived) and Law 2960 or 6230
Students in the clinic represent immigrants seeking a variety of relief and benefits, including family sponsorship, Violence against Women Act Petitions, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Students represent clients in trials before the US Immigration Court for clients seeking protection from persecution in their home country (asylum). The clinic also participates in hearings before the US Department of Homeland Security and the students write briefs to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
The classroom component has substantive instruction in interviewing, litigation, and appellate advocacy skills, as well as attorney-client relations, ethics, and case strategy. The clinic is designed for students with an interest in practicing Immigration Law. In addition to the two hour class each week, the students do twelve office hours that can include work done outside of the clinic.
Additional Course Information: Limited to ten students.
Veterans Law Clinic
LAW 5200: Veterans Law Clinic
Students participating in the Veterans Clinic have the opportunity to represent veterans and their families in disability cases. Students practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain veterans benefits for service-connected disabilities.
In addition to learning and practicing substantive Veterans law, students have the opportunity to develop general lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling, advocacy, writing, and negotiating. The three credit clinic includes a two-hour class and nine clinic office hours each week.
Criminal Trial Clinic
LAW 5020: Criminal Trial Clinic
Prerequisites: LAW 2220
In the Criminal Trial Clinic, students represent misdemeanor defendants in district courts. The course prepares students for all practical aspects of criminal defense, including bonds, arraignments, discovery, preliminary examinations, pretrial motions, plea negotiations, sentencing guidelines, and probation issues. Students interview clients, review discovery, prepare motions, conduct plea negotiations, and appear on the record every day they are in court. The classroom component prepares students in learning both substantive criminal law and local criminal procedure. The Clinic is limited to sixteen students.
Juvenile Appellate Clinic
LAW 5100: Juvenile Appellate Clinic
Students in this clinic represent juveniles in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The appeals primarily involve child protective proceedings from Wayne County Juvenile Court (abuse and neglect); however, there may be some appeals of delinquency cases. Students write appellate briefs for the juvenile clients and argue the case to a panel of expert attorneys before the case goes before the court, with some potential for the students to argue before the Court of Appeals.
Appellate Advocacy Clinic, State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO)
LAW 5030: State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO) Criminal Advocacy Clinic
Prerequisites: LAW 1140 and LAW 2220
In the clinic, students prepare a criminal appellate brief to be submitted to the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court under the supervision of attorneys from the State Appellate Defenders Office. The students prepare motions and briefs and also deliver a mock appellate argument before a panel of attorneys who specialize in criminal appellate work. These mock arguments are done for cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. For cases before the Appellate Division, students are able to do the oral argument in line with recent revisions to MCR 8.120, the "Student Practice Rule." The classroom component for the course consists of writing, modeling, and simulated exercises aimed at developing persuasive oral and written appellate advocacy skills. The course is limited to ten students.
Intellectual Property Law Clinic
LAW 5300: Intellectual Property Law Clinic
Prerequisite: LAW 3500 Patent Law and an undergraduate/post-secondary degree in the science field
Under the supervision of patent attorneys registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), students will write patent applications for needy inventors. Students will interview an inventor, prepare drawings and a description for a patentability search, evaluate the patentability search results, prepare drawing layouts for a patent application for the inventor, and write all parts of the specifications including claims for the invention. Applications will be filed with the PTO. If an office action arrives at an appropriate time, the students will then prepare a response to the office action.