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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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


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 15 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