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 entitles every student to the opportunity to represent a live client.
  • * A unique law firm program that allows students to engage in simulated cases and transactions in specific practice areas.

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

Study Internationally

Study Internationally

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

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXPAND YOUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • * Downtown Detroit Location provides proximity to courts and employers
  • * Strong Alumni Network dedicated to supporting UDM graduates
  • * ability to pursue a concentration in Immigration Law

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Ever youthful Law professors share their interest in juvenile justice

Husband and wife attorneys, Bill Ladd and Jennifer Pilette recently were honored with the Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award at UDM School of Law.

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Jennifer Pilette has devoted her law career to helping youngsters -- and shares that expertise as an adjunct professor at Wayne Law, Cooley Law, and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she and her husband, attorney Bill Ladd, recently were honored with the 2012 UDM Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award.

"I was drawn to juvenile law because I wanted to serve an indigent community and few are more indigent than children," she says. "There's a great need for committed and effective counsel for indigent children and adults. By teaching law school I hope I can convey this to another generation of young lawyers."

Pilette first got interested in the law as a student at Detroit's Cass Tech in the 1970s. As part of a class assignment, she observed a court case in the Wayne County Circuit Court - and set her sights on law school as early as her junior year of high school.

"Even as a high school student I knew I wanted to do that -- to be a lawyer for people who had little to no voice in the community," she says.

After graduating in 1976, Phi Beta Kappa, in Classical Civilization and History from Wayne State University, she earned her JD from Wayne Law three years later. She spent several years with Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services and then the Juvenile Defender Office, practicing various aspects of poverty law.

While waiting for her bar results in 1979, she clerked for the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit and knew she had found her passion in criminal defense. She later became a senior staff attorney and worked there for almost 15 years.

"I enjoyed every day of my work at SADO," she says. "It was and remains an office of committed individuals dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of indigent criminal defendants. Had I not been appointed to the juvenile referee bench in 1999 I'm sure I would have remained in that position for more years without regret."

Presiding over cases in the juvenile section of the family division of the Wayne County Circuit Court is a very "grassroots" judging experience, she says.

"The juvenile court deals with the most basic issues in people's lives - can they care for their children and themselves? The issues range from poverty to substance abuse to mental illness. The delinquency aspects deal with the needs of children in the school and their supervision in the home and the community. Many times there are no good answers to these problems - it's both challenging and rewarding to assist members of the community on these levels.

"I find it equally fulfilling to assist law students in finding a career path that hopefully involves assisting those less fortunate than themselves," Pilette says.

Pilette has served as a member of the Court Improvement Committee's Education Committee; and was appointed by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office to serve on its Advisory Committee on the Lawyer/Guardian ad Litem Protocol and on the Attorney Training Task Force for lawyers practicing in the area of abuse and neglect.

She also is a contributing editor for Benchbooks published by the Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI) and has been a faculty member for MJI's annual referee training program. A frequent speaker and trainer on behalf of the court, she has an extensive history of training attorneys nationally and locally.

A local, statewide and national speaker in the area of juvenile neglect and delinquency law, Pilette has served on the Wayne County ACLU Board, is the two-term past chair of the Children's Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and currently serves on the federal Court Improvement Program Statewide Task Force of the Michigan Supreme Court.

A life-long resident of Detroit until 2004, Pilette and her husband now call Ann Arbor home. The couple met when she was a law clerk at SADO and remained friends but it was not until Pilette was appointed to the Juvenile Court that the two dated and married. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, art, travel, gardening, and spending time with family, which includes four children, ages 27 to 39, from her first marriage and 10 grandchildren.

Attorney Bill Ladd landed in a career in juvenile law quite by chance -- but finding it to be interesting and rewarding, he has been a strong and outspoken voice for youngsters ever since.

"I found the kids I represented to be both entertaining and charming -- sometimes not at the same time!" he says. "Representing kids has always been interesting to me and they are clearly one of our most disenfranchised groups. I've always felt that representing the interests of kids is the best way to get adult institutions to be more sensitive to the least powerful."

Ladd guides the next generation of attorneys to take up the torch, by teaching as an adjunct professor at Cooley Law School and at his alma mater, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law where he teams with Professor Deb Paruch in the UDM Juvenile Appellate Practice Clinic, launched last fall. Students represent children in appeals from decisions of the Juvenile Division of the Wayne County Family Court in cases involving parental rights terminations and juvenile delinquency.

"Having the opportunity to teach law school gives me the chance to interact with young aspiring lawyers and to give them a more practice-based and real-world view of the practice of law," Ladd says. "I hope it gives them a dose of realism and context for what they are doing in law school and how working with kids can be a rewarding career choice."

Ladd, who has also taught at Wayne Law, received the UDM Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award in April, sharing the honor with his wife and fellow UDM adjunct professor, Juvenile Court referee Jennifer Pilette.

Ladd earned a bachelor's degree in history from Swarthmore College -- an interest fueled by his favorite aunt who was a high school history teacher - and his JD from the University of Detroit.

"Law seemed to follow logically from both my interest in history and my interests in social justice," he says.

His first job was as a research attorney with the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit, representing indigent defendants.

"I learned how to analyze legal issues and to write legal briefs," he says. "SADO was and is one of the best places in the country to learn how to be an effective and zealous advocate of the disenfranchised. At the same time it was also a very supportive place to work."

He then moved to the Juvenile Defender Office -- later named the Juvenile Division of the Legal Aid and Defender Association (LADA) -- where he learned to be an effective advocate for abused and neglected youngsters and delinquent children, sometimes in federal courts but primarily in the Wayne County Circuit Court, Family Division, Juvenile Section.

"I had the luxury of continuing to do appellate work where it was appropriate in representing my clients," he says. "For much of my time at LADA I was fortunate to work in an organization that was committed to representing children in an aggressive yet caring manner and in supporting me as an attorney."

He was a member of the Wayne County AWOL Task Force, developing alternative strategies for neglected court wards that leave their placements; and was a member of the Wayne County Workgroup on the Representation of Children. He was appointed by the Michigan State Court Administrator's Office to serve on its Advisory Group on Evaluation of the Representation of Children in Child Protective Proceedings, and Advisory Committee on the Lawyer/Guardian ad Litem Protocol.

For the past two years, Ladd has been an appellate and juvenile trial attorney with the Michigan Children's Law Center in Southgate. A nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that teams with social workers, doctors, psychologists, school personnel and other professionals, MCLC provides legal services to children in trial and appellate courts, advocates for the safety and wellbeing of children in the courts and through other programs and services, and represents children who have been neglected or abused or charged with delinquent behavior.

Ladd, appellate counsel in several notable Michigan appellate cases including, In re Ricks, In re EP, In re AMB, recently argued In re Mays in the Michigan Supreme Court. He is a frequent author and lecturer, and co-author of the chapter on juvenile delinquency in "Michigan Family Law" (6th ed) from the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

A past president of the Children's Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and recipient of their 2003 "Child Advocate of the Year" award, Ladd has also been nationally honored by the non-profit organization, Children's Rights and is a "next friend" in the ongoing federal class action, Snyder v Duane B.

"I received the award as a result of my efforts to represent my clients as their next friend in the federal lawsuit brought against Michigan's child welfare system," he says. "I had made efforts to represent the interests of my individual clients who were named plaintiffs in the federal suit and I had also provided general input to the lawyers at Children's Rights regarding more general aspects of the system here in Michigan."

Ladd received Child Welfare Law Certification through the National Association of Counsel for Children, which launched the certification program to recognize the importance of this specialized area of the law.

"The process of preparing for the certification test gave me a chance to broaden my knowledge of this area of the law and to gain some national recognition for specializing in this area of the law for so long," he says.

http://www.legalnews.com/detroit/1326203/

EVENTS


Mock Interview Program with the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Barristers - Room 121

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Before you attend the Public Interest Career Fair or participate in Spring OCI, put your interviewing skills to the test with a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association.  Interviews will take place in 30-minute increments from 12:30-2:00 p.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Advance registration is required.  Interview times will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.  


Annual Public Interest Career Fair - Atrium

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 12:00 pm

The Career Services Office in partnership with the Externship Program and SBA Public Interest Committee are pleased to present the Annual Public Interest Fair.  Meet representatives of local, state, national, and international government, public service, and non-profit organizations in a table talk format.  Bring copies of your resume (that comply with the samples in the Career Planning Manual).  No advance student registration is required.  Lunch will be provided.

Employer Online Registration is now available.


Lunch and Learn: Special Summer Program - Online Webinar

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Come learn more about UDM Law's conditional admission program, the Special Summer Program.

Participants will receive a link to the webinar in their confirmation email.


Special Summer Program - Online Webinar

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 6:00 pm

Come learn more about UDM Law's conditional admission program, the Special Summer Program.

Participants will receive a link to the webinar in their confirmation email.


Preparing for Fall On-Campus Interviews - Room 235

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Learn what you need to do before the semester ends and over the summer to prepare for the on-campus interview application process, particularly the Early Interview Session.  A duplicate session will be held at 5 p.m. for evening students and those who cannot attend this session due to scheduling conflicts.  A similar session will be held in June for Dual JD candidates.  Refreshments will be provided.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Preparing for Fall On-Campus Interviews: Evening Edition - Room 249

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Learn what you need to do before the semester ends and over the summer to prepare for the on-campus interview application process, particularly the Early Interview Session.  This session is for upperclass evening students for whom summer 2016 will be their last summer in law school, and those who cannot attend the afternoon session due to scheduling conflicts.  A similar session will be held in June for Dual JD candidates.  Refreshments will be provided.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Beyond OCI with Lexis: The Small Firm Job Search - Room 249

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 1:00 pm

Only a small percentage of students obtain their post-graduation employment through on-campus interviews. Find out how everybody else finds a job! Meet with us to discuss strategies for finding jobs with small mid-sized firms.  A duplicate session will be held at 5 p.m. for evening students.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


Beyond OCI with Lexis: The Small Firm Job Search-Evening Edition - Room 249

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Only a small percentage of students obtain their post-graduation employment through on-campus interviews. Find out how everybody else finds a job! Meet with us to discuss strategies for finding jobs with small mid-sized firms. This duplicate session is designed for evening students.  Advance registration on Career Connect is appreciated.


March 4, 2015 - McElroy Lecture on Law and Religion - UDM Law Campus

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Our annual McElroy Lecture provides a forum for prominent thinkers and leaders to address fundamental issues of law, religion, and society.  It seeks to educate students, legal professionals, and the public on a variety of questions related to moral philosophy, freedom of conscience, the interaction of legal and religious institutions, and the role of religion in public life.  Its goal is to encourage discussion of these issues in our community and deepen our understanding of them.  This year's lecturer is Professor Nelson Tebbe of Brooklyn Law School.  His topic is "Religion and Social Coherentism: A Progressive Theory of Religious Freedom."  The lecture will be held on Wednesday, March 4, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in Room 226 of the School of Law, followed by a complimentary reception in the atrium. Complimentary parking will be available in the Blue Cross lot nearby. Addditional details will be posted here shortly.

 

NEWS

  • UDM Law Warming Center Clinic on Tenant Rights

    Thirteen UDM first-year law students assisted attorneys from Legal Aid and Defender Association, Neighborhood Legal Services, and Detroit Center for Family Advocacy at a Clinic UDM Law hosted at Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Warming Center on January 15.  The students and attorneys provided information and individual consultations to 35 guests on housing related matters.  Additionally, Sydney Booth ('14), a participant in UDM's Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program, introduced her newly formed law firm, Rushing Law, and conducted a short presentation on Criminal Expungement.  

    >>

  • PROFESSOR DUBIN COMMENTS ON HIGH PROFILE CASES IN THE NEWS

    Professor Larry Dubin recently commented in The Detroit News on two high profile federal cases.  First, he discussed the DeBoer case, which challenges Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on January 16 that it would accept the case.  Professor Dubin stated in part, "Public opinion has shifted greatly, making this an issue that needs to be resolved due to the conflicting federal law that now exists."

    On January 23, Professor Dubin discussed the Kazan case, in which a Muslim woman filed suit against the City of Dearborn Heights and its police department, alleging that her constitutional rights were violated when she was forced to remove her hijab when she was booked by a male officer for a traffic violation.  Professor Dubin noted that the case involves conflicting rights:  "Ms. Kazan is entitled under the First Amendment protection of her religious beliefs including the wearing of a hijab, which may cover part of her face.  However, the police have the right to process a person who is being arrested."

    Justices to rule on same-sex marriage, Jan. 16, 2015, The Detroit News (quoting Prof. Lawrence Dubin)

    Woman sues Dearborn Heights for forced hijab removal, Jan. 23, 2015, The Detroit News (quoting Prof. Lawrence Dubin)

  • NEW SOLO AND SMALL FIRM INCUBATOR PROGRAM EARNS PRAISE BY STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN

    UDM Law's New Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program is featured on the State Bar of Michigan's Stories of Service website. The Program is praised as an innovative model for teaching recent graduates how to grow and sustain a solo practice while also meeting the legal needs of low-income clients through pro bono service.

    UDM Law’s New Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program Aims to Grow Better Lawyers, Jan. 21, 2015, State Bar of Michigan Website – Stories of Service

  • MANY DISTINGUISHED UDM LAW ALUMNI ARE SWORN IN TO OFFICE

    Many distinguished UDM Law alumni have been sworn in to serve as members of the judiciary and Legislature recently. We are proud of their ongoing commitment to the School of Law's mission and the example they set for our students in their service to the public.

    Macomb County's judiciary has a sister act. Suzanne Faunce ('98), a former county assistant prosecutor, and her sister, Circuit Judge Jennifer Faunce ('90), who won re-election, were sworn in on January 5 by retired District Judge and current Visiting Judge Sherman Faunce, their father. Both women stated that it was one of the "greatest moments in their lives" to be sworn in together and with their father beside them.  Related article:  Family affair: Faunce sisters sworn in as judges by father, Dec. 22, 2014, Macomb Daily

    Many other alumni have also been sworn in as members of the judiciary, including:

    Hon. Brian K. Zahra ('87) was re-elected to the Michigan Supreme Court.

    Hon. Michael J. Talbot ('71) was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to be Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

    Hon. Christopher Murray ('90) was re-elected to the First District of the Michigan Court of Appeals. Judge Murray is currently a member of the University of Detroit Mercy Inns of Court and is president of the DMBA Inns of Court.

    READ MORE

     

    >>

  • PROFESSOR BROUGHTON COMMENTS IN LAW360 ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS

    On January 7, Professor J. Richard Broughton commented in Law360, a national legal news service, on President Barack Obama's renewed nominations of 17 judicial candidates for the federal bench and the likely response of the new Republican-controlled Senate.

    Obama Judicial Noms Face Uphill Battle in Republican Senate, Jan. 7, 2015, Law360

  • CRIMINAL TRIAL CLINIC HAS SUCCESSFUL YEAR

    Students in UDM's Criminal Trial Clinic represent indigent misdemeanor defendants in district courts. The Clinic is led by Adjunct Professor Michael Morgan and Professor Richard Krisciunas. The following students won cases on the merits while acting as defense counsel in the Clinic in 2014:

    Nargiz Nesimova gained an acquittal at trial for a client charged with Obstructing a Police Officer.

    Robert Warchuk won a motion to dismiss for a client charged with Operating with a Suspended Driver's License, Possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia, and violating the local knife ordinance.

    Amanda Gingrich convinced the city attorney to dismiss the case against her client charged with violating the local knife ordinance.

    Amanda Gingrich convinced the city attorney that the police had arrested the wrong man for Operating with a Suspended Driver's License.

    Jared Henry convinced the city attorney that police had arrested the wrong man for Obstructing a Police Officer.

    The Criminal Trial Clinic arranges for UDM law students to act as public defenders in district courts in Eastpointe, Hamtramck, Plymouth, and Troy.

    To learn more about the Criminal Trial Clinic, visit the Clinics' website.