Commencement 2017

Commencement 2017

Friday, May 12. For more information please read the FAQ.

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

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Professor introduces students to full breadth of Con Law

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

“There’s not much coverage of it in college programs or grade school – so, they’re bright and capable and eager and launching into a field they’ve never really had a chance to explore before. It’s a lot of fun to go on this adventure with them and to be their guide as to parts of it. It’s always fun for me to see how far they go in such a short period of time.”

Olson, who teaches Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, finds his students bring a wide array of background and experiences to the classroom, and “an amazing cross-section” of socio-economic classes, ages, occupations, creeds, and cultures.

“I’ve found it very interesting and enriching to associate with all of these interesting people,” he says.

When Olson earned his degree in political science from Brigham Young University, studies primarily centered on relations with the Soviet Union.

“I like to tell people my undergrad education became obsolete with the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he says. “That’s an exaggeration, but it’s amazing how quickly the world can change.”

Fascinated by two undergrad semesters on Constitutional Law and International Law, he set his sights on law school – and on teaching.

“I felt I had a talent for teaching and wanted to teach something I found interesting and challenging. Law seemed to be the ideal field – and I was right.”

He went on to teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Oklahoma City University School of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law where he was also Associate Dean, and Appalachian School of Law where he was the founding Dean. He was also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Southern Virginia College and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Great Falls in Montana.

Actively involved in accreditation processes, Olson has served as co-chair of an accreditation site team for the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE).

“When it works well, the accreditation process encourages participating schools to articulate what they are, what they want to become, and how they intend to get there,” he says.

Olson shares his past experience with students, including his clerkship for a state trial judge in Idaho, an invaluable experience for teaching Civil Procedure.

“I can relate experiences from the clerkship to show the way the court approaches its decision-making role and how the rules really do shape the litigation.”

He also shares a rare case from private practice in Portland that has come in handy teaching Property, in which he negotiated the settlement of a rule against perpetuities case; and a case of a client whose employer breached its contract and refused to pay salary it owed.

“It was gratifying that our firm was able to get a full recovery plus statutory penalties and attorneys fees for him,” Olson says. “I also handled a libel defense and successfully obtained a dismissal – a nice result in an interesting type of case that most first year associates would not get a chance to handle.”

Olson has a deep respect for the governmental structure that the framers crafted.

“I recognize the preeminence of the rights of speech, press, religion and assembly in maintaining a free government – for me there are no more interesting or important questions than the ones posed in constitutional analysis.”

One of the great challenges, he says, is to respect the democratic process essential to the U.S. constitutional republic while also giving full effect to the constitutional protections that temper that majority rule.
“There’s a common misperception that judicial review is anti-democratic – that’s not so. The Constitution required super-majority support for its ratification and any later amendment.

“There’s no inconsistency between popular sovereignty and fealty to the Constitution as it is duly ratified. But that misperception of anti-democratic judicial review feeds a constant temptation to conclude that our own preferences must be what the Constitution actually requires.”

The danger can be illustrated in the context of the First Amendment.

“It must protect more speech than just that in which I would engage or my version of the First Amendment just appoints me czar,” Olson says. “So, we must explore how far those speech protections will go.”
The same questions arise in other areas.

“It’s not enough that I’m pleased with the policy result – I have to ask honestly whether we’ve achieved these results in accord with the constitutional system that a super-majority of the citizens has chosen. Any other approach subverts the bedrock principle of popular sovereignty.”

Olson cites the 7-year legal case over prolonging or ending treatment for Terri Schiavo – a Florida woman with massive brain damage – as an interesting way of framing questions about respect for the constitutional structure and process and an important cautionary tale.

“There were many people who on a broad array of issues had questioned whether the courts were not simply imposing their policy views on social controversies; yet, suddenly when faced with a result they didn’t like, wanted the courts to do the same thing they had so vociferously condemned – to impose a decision contrary to the rules established through the political process based on their policy preferences,” he says.

“We all have policies we prefer, and we’ll all lose at times in our effort to persuade others. We have to accept losing – even when we’re convinced we’re correct or even morally superior – as a requisite price of a free government. We’ve no reason or right to think if we abandon popular sovereignty that we’re entitled to be the new sovereign.”

Olson views the 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission issue as a prime example of what he terms “the human capacity for mind-boggling inconsistency.” When the government argued that media corporations had an exception from the limits on speech only because of legislative grace, which could be withdrawn at will by the government, one would have expected those media corporations to howl in opposition, he says.

“Instead, in an amazing show of hypocrisy, the media corporations cast their lots with hoping the government will continue to give them a preferred status rather than defending the principle of free speech. Thankfully, the court did not make the same choice.”

A member of the Federalist Society, Olson enjoys hearing – and sometimes being a part of – debates with contrasting perspectives.

“The conservatives and libertarians who make up the group often have diametrically opposed viewpoints, and the invited commentator may bring yet another perspective or two into the picture. I enjoy the commitment to our constitutional system of government and the active debate that generates a broad array of positions.”

Olson, who is married with seven children, enjoys reading and listening to classical music.

Of Norwegian heritage with family roots in Minnesota, he enjoys genealogical research, and volunteers every Saturday at a local family history center. “I’m always fascinated by the story of people’s lives and the puzzle of trying to find their ancestors.”

EVENTS


Book Awards Ceremony & Reception - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Detroit Mercy Law will host its annual Book Awards ceremony on February 28, 2017 at 5:00pm at Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church, followed by a celebratory reception in the atrium. Business attire is required.

The Book Awards celebrate outstanding academic and service achievement. Detroit Mercy Law presents the Book Awards to students who have ranked first in a law school course in the preceding year or who have provided exceptional service to the school. Students on the Dean’s Honor List are also acknowledged.  


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 title of Dr. Rabb's Lecture is, "Qāḍī Justice: Islamic Law as Procedure."

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>>

Event Details>>


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.


Detroit Mercy Law Aspiring Attorneys Workshop (By Invitation Only) - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am

Detroit Mercy Law will host its 1st  Annual Aspiring Attorneys Workshop on Friday, March 10th, 9:00 am - 12:30pm. This program is aimed at introducing high school junior and seniors from select schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District to the law school and hopefully spark an interest in pursuing a legal career.

 

Students will participate in a mock law school class taught by one of our professors, engage in activities aimed at exploring different areas of the law and career options, tour the law school, and participate in a college readiness workshop. Lunch will be provided.

 

For more information, please contact Eric McCloud, mcclouer@udmercy.edu, (313)-596-0264.

 

This event is sponsored by the Law School Admission Council as part of DiscoverLaw.org Months.


Prof. Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Tournament - Atrium

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 4:00 pm

The Professor Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Tournament for Detroit Mercy Law upperclass students will be held on campus in March. Professor Keenan served on the Detroit Mercy Law faculty from 1976 until he passed away in 2006. He taught numerous courses, including constitutional law, evidence, criminal law, trial practice, torts, and professional responsibility. From humble beginnings as a storefront lawyer, he was always passionate about the law and taught his students the importance of fair representation for people from all walks of life.

The preliminary rounds will be held on March 10 and March 11 and the final round will be on March 15. Alumni are needed to judge the preliminary rounds and may RSVP to the Moot Court Board of Advocates. Questions may be directed to Professor Gary Maveal.


March 11, 2017: Prospective Student Open House - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 9:00 am

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.  

To register, email cemccarthy@udmercy.edu with your name L number and number of guests.


Erin Go Law Networking Reception - Atrium

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 5:00 pm

The Board of Directors of the University of Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association invites judges, attorneys, and Detroit Mercy law students to attend its career networking reception, "Erin Go Law," on Thursday, March 16, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the atrium of the School of Law. 

Register Online>>         More Information>>


A Day in the Life of a Detroit Mercy Law Student - Detroit Mercy Law Campus

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 10:00 am

We invite you to experience "A Day in the Life of a Detroit Mercy Law Student" on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

You will meet members of the Detroit Mercy Law faculty, administration and current student and will sit in on a real class. Lunch or dinner will be provided and optional Law School Tours are also available. 

Email Caitlin McCarthy at cemccarthy@udmercy.edu to RSVP. Please include your full name, which section you'll be attending and rank the class preference (of the ones listed within the time slot you chose). 

RSVP by March 15th and you will be notified of your assigned class by March 17th.

Day Section A: 10:00 AM - 1:50 PM

Class options:

  • Estates and Trusts
  • Criminal Law
  • Canadian & US Business Organizations (students interested in Dual JD Program)

 

Day Section B: 12:30 PM - 3:25 PM

Class options:

  • Contracts
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • US Constitutional Law (students interested in Dual JD Program)

 

Evening Section: 4:30 AM - 7:20 PM

Class options: 

  • Contracts
  • Professional Responsibility

BLSA Vegas Night - Pi Banquet Hall

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 7:00 pm

The Detroit Mercy Law Black Law Students Association is hosting its 12th annual Vegas Night on Saturday, March 25, from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. at Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield. Questions regarding the event may be directed to BLSA's President, Alex Green IV.

Event Brochure>>     Event Invitation>>

Sponsorship Form>>     Purchase Tickets>>

NEWS

  • Article on the Detroit Mercy Law Immigration Clinic in The Varsity News

    The Varsity News wrote a great article on the Detroit Mercy Law Immigration Clinic. 

    "Due to President Trump’s executive order, many citizens have recently started paying attention to matters of immigration. But law students and professors at Detroit Mercy have been heavily involved in this area long before it became a lead story.

    The clinic handles cases involving asylums, family sponsorship, Violence Against Women Act petitions and other issues."


    Read the full article here

  • Adjunct Professor Dennis Clark Displays Passion for Giving Back

    Legal News featured Adjunct Professor Dennis Clark and the volunteer work he does in the Detroit community. Clark is a lifelong volunteer at a variety of organizations including City Connect Detroit, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing solutions to problems facing local youth and their families, where he serves as board chair.

    Read the full article here

  • State Bar of Michigan A Lawyer Helps Features Article on Judge Michelle Rick

    The State Bar of Michigan A Lawyer Helps featured an article on Judge Michelle Rick (professor of our Access to Justice course) and her activities as District 7 Director for the National Association of Women Judges.

    The Face of Justice program is a pilot program NAWJ created with the State Bar and Lansing Schools.  The intention of the program is to encourage young women and minorities to see themselves as a face of justice. 

    Read the full article here

  • Professor Alex Vernon Featured on the Cover of Detroit Legal News

    Alex Vernon WED 5942Professor Alex Vernon, Director of our Immigration Law Clinic, was featured on the cover of Thursday’s Detroit Legal News about his work to aid immigrants affected by the recent executive order.


    Read the full article here

  • Dual JD 2L Featured in the Legal News

    Dual JD Program 2L Nashara Peart was featured in the Legal News. “Given the recent change in American government and the extensive media coverage on the results of the change in power, I find it exciting to be studying law at this moment in history”.  Read the full feature here

  • Professor Beydoun and Alum Abed Ayoub were Panelists for a "Teach-In"

    Professor Khaled Beydoun and alumnus Abed Ayoub ('05) of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee were panelists for a "teach-in" hosted by the Harvard Arab Students Association Wednesday. They shared legal advice with Harvard's international students potentially impacted by President Trump's recent travel ban. 

    Read the article here