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


Lunch at the Michigan Bar Exam - East Lansing

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 11:30 am

Detroit Mercy Law will provide complimentary boxed lunches for alumni taking the Michigan Bar Exam on July 26 and July 27. Look for us outside the Breslin Center near Gate C during your lunch break each day. You can sit and relax or grab and go - whichever you prefer. For additional details, please contact Denise Hickey, Assistant Dean of Alumni Relations.


Red Mass 2016 - Atrium

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Detroit Mercy Law will host its 104th annual Red Mass on Tuesday, September 20, at noon at Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church, followed by a complimentary luncheon in the atrium. Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., J.D., will celebrate the Mass. Father Kammer is a Jesuit priest, an attorney, and a member of the Southern Province of the Jesuits. He has been director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute since March of 2009. Hon. Victoria Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan will lead the Renewal of the Lawyer's Oath of Commitment.

Red Mass is an opportunity for law students, judges, lawyers, civic leaders, faculty, staff, and administrators of all faiths to come together and celebrate the beginning of the new judicial term and academic year. The School has hosted the Red Mass on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit at Saints Peter and Paul since the School opened in 1912.


Reception at the State Bar of MI Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids - Amway Grand Hotel

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 4:30 pm

Dean Phyllis L. Crocker will host a cocktail reception for Detroit Mercy Law alumni, State Bar dignitaries, members of the judiciary, faculty, and students at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids on September 22 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.  She will make remarks at 5:15 p.m.

Event Details>>


Golf Outing - The Inn at St. John's

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Detroit Mercy Law will host a Golf Outing on September 30 at The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, with a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m. followed by dinner and an awards ceremony at 6:00 p.m. All alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, students, and their guests are welcome to attend this exciting new event as part of Detroit Mercy's Homecoming festivities. More information will follow soon. Please contact
Denise Hickey or Amy Smith with any questions.

Save the Date Card>>

NEWS

  • Ryan VanOver ’17 Addresses Drone Surveillance in the Detroit News

    The Detroit News recently published an op-ed piece by Ryan VanOver '17, on the issue of unlawful drone surveillance. VanOver recommends that the Michigan Legislature amend the statute to regulate recreational drone users.

    Read More

  • Vanessa Guerra ’17, Balances Law Studies with State Legislative Duties

    Legal News profiled Vanessa Guerra '17, who is currently serving her first term as State Representative in Michigan's 95th District. She is the youngest member of the House and serves as a trustee for Bridgeport Township, treasurer of Michigan Legislature's Progressive Women's Caucus and on the Governor's Criminal Justice Policy Commission.

    Read More

  • Detroit Mercy Law Community Mourns Those Killed in Orlando

    We were deeply saddened to learn that Christopher Andrew Leinonen, one of the people murdered on Sunday at the nightclub in Orlando, was the son of one of our graduates, Christine Leinonen ('98). Christopher's partner, Juan Guerrero, was also killed in the nightclub massacre. The two families are now planning a joint funeral instead of the wedding they had been anticipating. The death of every person at the club is tragic. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Christine and her family, to the Guerreros, and the families and friends of every person killed Sunday morning.

    Phyllis L Crocker

    Dean and Professor of Law
    University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

  • Reception in the Windy City

    Chicago Law Alumni Reception 6-7-16

    We hit the road recently to visit our graduates in the Windy City. Alumni Association Board member Greg Thiess ('79) hosted a reception for Dean Phyllis L. Crocker and 20 Detroit Mercy Law alumni at 312 Chicago in the Loop.

  • 2016 Detroit Mercy Law Commencement

    The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law held its 2016 Commencement ceremony on May 13.

    Watch Video

  • COMMENCEMENT PHOTO GALLERY

    Detroit Mercy Law held its 103rd Commencement on May 13th for 143 graduates of the Class of 2016.

    View the Photo Gallery