STUDY INTERNATIONALLY

STUDY INTERNATIONALLY

  • Dual JD program with the University of Windsor
  • Extensive international law and comparative law courses
  • Established relationship with Universite d’Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France

HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

HANDS-ON LEARNING FROM DAY ONE

  • A legal writing program that starts in the first year and continues through the upper level courses.
  • A clinical program that ensures every student the opportunity to represent a client.
  • A unique law firm program that allows students to engage in simulated cases and transactions in specific practice areas.

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Downtown Detroit location provides proximity to courts and employers
  • Strong Alumni Network dedicated to supporting Detroit Mercy Law graduates
  • Ability to pursue a concentration in Immigration Law or Family Law

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

DEDICATED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • Committed to developing lawyers who serve the public good
  • Committed to serving the Detroit community
  • Founded on Jesuit and Mercy principles of service and the success of each individual

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Effective immigration policy helps U.S. keep global edge, UDM Law professor believes

Prior to law school, Aimee Guthat had no idea there was such a thing as "immigration law," despite hearing references to green cards and immigration papers.

"It didn't seem to be a big deal - how wrong I was," she says. "After surviving first year of law school, I accepted a student law clerk position with a local attorney that practiced immigration law. I thought it would be an interesting way to spend a year and get some exposure to administrative law. Now, more than 15 years later, I'm still practicing immigration law and can't imagine working in any other field."

A senior attorney with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in Troy, Guthat has taught Immigration Law as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School since 2007, and is involved in the university's innovative Law Firm Program.

"I love to learn and I love the law - and I'm very enthusiastic and passionate about what I do," she says. "The idea of sharing my knowledge and experience with law students seemed like a no-brainer to me. All they had to do was ask and I was in. Also, these students are smart. They challenge me at every turn - which is very invigorating."

The curriculum at UDM Law is specifically designed to give students critical tools for the development of professional legal skills that would normally be gained during the first year of practice, through required participation in clinical programs and the Law Firm Program. The Immigration Clinic, which gives students the opportunity to represent immigrants in a variety of non-employment based matters, is highly regarded in the field and "provides such an important community service to the immigrant as well as unique experience to the student," according to Guthat.

"When UDM added an employment-based immigration law module to the Law Firm Program, I was very excited and honored to be asked to participate."

In the immigration law module, students work through a simulation of how actual cases are processed - how communications are initiated by a client, the information presented, working through the legal analysis to identify issues and develop a strategy and presenting that strategy to the client, and finally working up the actual case.

"In effect, students are seeing just how an employment-based immigration practice works on an everyday basis, the types of issues that arise, and how to effectively deal with these issues and meet client needs," Guthat explains. "It's essentially an inside look, which other students don't get. There's a significant competitive advantage."

When entering the field of immigration law, possession of some level of practical, educational experience is critical to a successful practice.

"The issue of U.S. immigration stirs a great deal of passion in people, whether their view is pro- or anti-immigration," Guthat notes. "Further, this issue is one that's very politicized and immigration-related policies and laws are very much driven by the economy, especially in the employment-based arena. The ability to successfully interpret immigration policy, which tends to change with each administration, is gained only through experience."

The key to the U.S. maintaining its footprint and position as a leader in the global economy, she says, is to have workable immigration laws that allow companies to hire and maintain the best talent, regardless of citizenship or country of origin.

"It's no longer enough to be good at home - we have to be good everywhere. In order for the U.S. to maintain its global edge, we need to be able to retain exceptional talent here - the thinkers, the innovators, the researchers - many of whom are foreign nationals."

According to Guthat, employment-based immigration will continue to be a target among politicians and law makers at both the state and federal level, which will make entry into this field from the ground more challenging than ever.
"A new lawyer must have determination and the desire to make a difference, even if only on a small scale.  Immigration law is a very rewarding area of practice, as your actions have a real impact on not only the potential growth
and success of a U.S. enterprise, but also on the lives of many immigrants seeking better opportunity."

The extensive and complicated set of immigration laws are governed not only by the Department of Homeland Security and its sub agencies - in particular Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection, and Immigration & Customs Enforcement - but also by the Department of State and the Department of Labor.

"Each agency and sub agency has its own agenda, which may or may not be consistent with the existing rules of another agency involved in the immigration process," Guthat explains. "Immigration laws frequently change - and not just on an insignificant level."

About every decade there is a major overhaul of the immigration code with significant changes dramatically affecting individuals as well as global companies with operations in the U.S.

"The last major piece of employment-based immigration legislation was enacted in 2000, so we are due for reform. However, since then, there have been policy memos and directives from the agencies, which in some cases certainly affect the legal analysis and requirements for certain benefits," she says. "You have to constantly study and keep your finger on the pulse of the economy, political posturing, and agency changes.  Immigration law is very
dynamic, which keeps it very interesting."

Guthat, who received her bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from Western Michigan University, and her J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law, joined Fragomen in 2000. She primarily focuses on employment-based immigration and corporate compliance, with clients ranging from small and mid-size companies to large multinational organizations in a variety of industries, including management of major OEMs and product and technology suppliers in the automotive industry.

Guthat enjoys the cultural interaction with people from countries around the world, and learning about customs and behaviors based on different religious beliefs, ethnicity, and traditions.

"I find this to be very enriching as well as helpful in understanding the thought process behind how people approach different situations."

With different approaches between U.S. and foreign entities to very common issues, such as policy development or strategic planning - especially if the foreign company is the controlling entity - clients often look to Guthat for guidance on how to communicate effectively with non-U.S. colleagues.

"There's no question we live in a global economy and the key to a strong U.S. presence in the global marketplace is the ability of U.S. companies to remain competitive," she says. "Collaboration with other corporate figures and colleagues outside of the U.S. is essential, and requires a refined level of sensitivity and understanding of the nuances between our cultures."

Above all, immigration law is about human beings, she notes.

"We live in a great country, with unparalleled freedom and liberty. Many around the world are not so lucky. It's our job to help those looking for a better life for their families to navigate through the very rough waters of legal immigration."

In many cases the legal path to immigration is a very long process, so change in policy and procedure mid-stream is a real risk that may impact eligibility for a particular immigration benefit. Guthat tries to give people hope, and hopes they will see the legal way is the right way.

"Current immigration rules are not very forgiving of violations, and as a result a short-term gain can often negatively impact future life plans, from career development and progression to family separation and loss of residence in the U.S.," she notes.

A favorite case involved a cardiothoracic surgeon with a major university hospital, with a sub specialization in pediatric cardiac surgery, and creator of an innovative, less invasive surgical procedure for treatment of a congenital heart defect in infants and pediatrics patients.

"It's an incredible development for our littlest and most vulnerable patients - and came at the hands of an immigrant," Guthat explains. "The Immigration Service agreed that our client should be granted permanent residence on the basis of his extraordinary achievements and ability in medicine. This person is someone that is truly an asset to the U.S. medical field, and has since gone on to develop cutting edge patient care programs to improve on safety and recovery at two of the leading university hospitals in the country."

Guthat and her husband Peter, both natives of Grosse Pointe, live in Grosse Pointe Farms with sons Joseph, 5, and 8-month-old Matthew. An avid reader, she enjoys skiing, spending time at Pier Park, and serving as chief "land crew" for her husband's sailing adventures.

"This is a very important job, as I'm required to make sure the extra luggage not allowed on board during the race makes it to the finish before the boat. This is especially fun when the finish line is somewhere tropical."

 

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

EVENTS


January 5, 2017: Prospective Student Open House - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Find out why men and women have been choosing Detroit Mercy Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how Detroit Mercy Law not only teaches you the law, but teaches you how to be a lawyer.  Through your education here, you will become a lawyer who makes a difference in your workplace and your community.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the campus and speak with admissions representatives, faculty, and current students.  


International IP Law Clinic Launch - Atrium

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 12:00 pm

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and University of Windsor Faculty of Law will launch their joint International Intellectual Property Law Clinic on Wednesday, January 11, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm in the atrium of Detroit Mercy Law. Leaders of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will join IP attorneys from both countries, faculty, students, alumni, and media to celebrate this one-of-a-kind clinic and discuss collaborations between the schools and the countries' IP offices. For additional information about the event and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Assistant Dean Denise Hickey.

READ MORE     REGISTER ONLINE

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES


Walk in Wednesday - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Walk-in and visit with an Admissions representative without an appointment during exteneded evening hours.


Patent Drafting Competition Reception - Atrium

Friday, February 10, 2017 - 5:30 pm

Detroit Mercy Law is hosting its Second Annual Patent Drafting Competition, beginning with a reception on Friday, February 10, from 5:30 - 7:00 pm in the atrium. Competitors from 12 law schools across the U.S. and Canada will join leaders of intellectual property law, including representatives of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and attorneys, alumni, faculty, and administrators, to kick-off the competition. The competition will be held on Saturday, February 11, at the USPTO satellite office in Detroit, a few minutes from the Detroit Mercy Law campus. For additional information regarding the event and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Assistant Dean Denise Hickey.

READ MORE

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES


Walk in Wednesday - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Walk-in and visit with an Admissions representative without an appointment during exteneded evening hours.


McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Our annual McElroy Lecture provides a forum for prominent thinkers and leaders to address fundamental issues of law and religion. This year's lecturer is Intisar A. Rabb, a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. Dr. Rabb also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The lecture will be held on March 2, 2017, from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in room 226, followed by a complimentary reception in the atrium.

Register Online for McElroy Lecture>>


Law Review Symposium - Room 226

Friday, March 3, 2017 - 8:30 am

The Law Review will host its annual symposium on March 3, 2017. The symposium will feature legal professionals and scholars from across the country to discuss the American Bar Association's implementation of Standards 314 and 315, which deal with formative assessments in law school classrooms. For more information click HERE.

NEWS

  • Professor Nevill-Ewell awarded Micro Grant

    Florise Neville-Ewell 2

    Congratulations to Professor Florise Neville-Ewell for her Micro Grant award to be used for the Veteran Town Hall Meeting Project. The Mission Micro Grant Program awards annual grants to Detroit Mercy faculty or staff members in support of activities that promote Detroit Mercy's mission of being a Catholic, Mercy, Jesuit, urban and student-centered university. 

  • Legal News Features Bill Ladd ('79)

    Legal News recently featured a profile on Bill Ladd ('79) who has spent his entire career in the protection of the rights of Children and is one of a handful of attorneys certified as an expert in child abuse/neglect in Michigan by the National Association of Counsel for Children. 

    Read the full article here. 

  • 3L Saeb Haidar placed second in the Michigan Education Law Writing Competition

    Haidar Saeb

    Third-year student Saeb Haidar won second place in the Michigan Education Law Writing Competition, conducted by Michigan State University College of Law.

    Students from any Michigan law school could participate by writing a client letter on a provided hypothetical, with practicing education law attorneys serving as judges. The winners were honored at a reception on November 16.

    After learning of the results, Haidar said that he takes pride in showing that Detroit Mercy Law students can successfully compete with students from any other Michigan law school
    .

  • Professor Gary Maveal Publishes Editorial on Michigan's Public Water Issues

    Professor Gary Maveal published a front-page editorial in the Detroit Legal News on Michigan's management of public water resources. Prof. Maveal questions the priorities of the state government and ponders reforms.

    READ MORE

  • Dual JD Student Michael Valenti Follows in his Grandfather's Footsteps

    Michael Valenti is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Toronto lawyer Paul Valenti – who at 89 continues to practice law full time. Valenti is a third-year student in the Canadian & American Dual J.D. Program. He serves as the Executive President of Detroit Mercy Law's Student Bar Association. His goal for the SBA is to create an environment of inclusivity and foster student involvement.

    READ MORE

  • Oakland County Bar Foundation Grant Supports Immigration Law Clinic

    The Oakland County Bar Foundation has awarded Detroit Mercy Law's Immigration Law Clinic a grant to expand the Clinic's work with Oakland County residents in need of immigration services.

    READ MORE