• * 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.



  • * 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



  • * 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

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Phyllis L. Crocker Named University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Dean


DETROIT, Mich. – February 4, 2014 – The University of Detroit Mercy announces the appointment of Phyllis L. Crocker as the Dean of the School of Law, effective July 1, 2014.


Crocker joins UDM from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, where she is a Professor of Law and recently served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. "The University looks forward to welcoming Professor Crocker to the University of Detroit Mercy community and seeing the many contributions she will make in advancing the School of Law," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski, J.D., M.P.H.

Professor Crocker has written extensively on the constitutional, historical, and cultural underpinnings of capital punishment, and she has served on many advisory committees as a nationally recognized authority on the death penalty. She chaired the American Bar Association Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Team that published Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Report (2007). In 2010, she was named to the Steering Committee of the ABA Death Penalty Due Process Review Project. In 2011, she was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty. She also serves her community as a Commissioner on the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Commission and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Crocker has been a co-author of the Ohio practice treatise Criminal Law (3rd edition, 2009), including annual supplements, since 2006. She has authored articles and given many presentations throughout her career primarily on the topic of the death penalty. She has received several prestigious awards, most recently the 2010 YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award and the 2009 and 2008 Cleveland State University Administrative Merit Recognition Award. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Crocker received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. After graduating law school, she clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Subsequently, she was an associate for three years in a Chicago law firm specializing in complex federal civil litigation, including civil rights and commercial class actions. From 1989 to 1994, she was a staff attorney at the Texas Resource Center, a federally-funded community defender organization that represented indigents on death row in their post-conviction appeals. While there, she served as co-counsel on Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), challenging the constitutionality of executing one who is innocent.

Crocker joined Cleveland-Marshall in 1994 and has taught Capital Punishment, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I and II, and Externships. She was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from July 2006 to July 2010 and the Interim Dean from March 2010 to June 2011. Under her leadership, the law school expanded the externship program, adopted comprehensive curriculum reform, completed the fundraising for and construction of a technologically state-of-the-art trial courtroom at the law school, and increased fundraising in key strategic categories, while leading the law school through a university-wide budget reduction process.

"It is an honor to join UDM as the next dean of the law school," said Crocker. "I am excited to become part of a law school that has such a strong and longstanding commitment to preparing students to be excellent, ethical attorneys ready to represent their clients and serve their communities. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, graduates and friends of the law school to build on the school's traditions and accomplishments."

About University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Founded in 1912, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is a Catholic institution sponsored by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The School is approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

Jesuit and Mercy values blend together at UDM Law to create an open-minded learning environment that focuses on intellectual rigor and service to others. At UDM Law, the ideals of ethics and professionalism are emphasized, demonstrated, and practiced throughout every aspect of the curriculum, both inside the classroom and in off-campus settings.

UDM Law is a diverse, collegial community where students explore differing thoughts and perspectives in an inclusive setting committed to the principles of equal educational opportunity. As part of this supportive environment, students readily access the help of faculty and staff and enjoy networking with and learning from alumni.

For more information about the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, please visit www.law.udmercy.edu.


Denise P. Hickey, Assistant Dean, School of Law, 313-596-0202, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gary D. Lichtman, Director, Media Relations, 313-993-1254, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Reception at the State Bar of MI Annual Meeting in Novi - State Bar of Michigan

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:30 pm

Dean Phyllis L. Crocker will host a cocktail reception for UDM Law alumni, State Bar dignitaries, members of the judiciary, faculty, and students at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan at the Hyatt Place Hotel - Hyatt Cafe in Novi on Thursday, October 8, from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.  She will make remarks at 5:15 p.m.
State Bar Annual Meeting Reception Invitation>>

Meet the Judges Reception - Atrium

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Meet judges of the federal and state courts during a casual reception in the UDM Law atrium and café on Thursday, October 15.  The schedule for the evening  is:  registration from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.; welcome remarks 6:00 - 6:10 p.m.; group photo 6:10 - 6:15 p.m.; network and meet the judges 6:15 - 7:30 p.m. UDM Law is co-sponsoring this event with the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit; Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers; and the Polish American Lawyers Society.
Meet the Judges Invitation>>
RSVP for Reception>>

Law Review Symposium on the Great Lakes - Room 226

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 9:30 am

The UDM Law Review will host a symposium entitled, "The Public Trust Doctrine:  An Ancient Tool for Protecting the Great Lakes from New Hazards," on Friday, October 16, from 9:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. in room 226.  Topics include, "A Proper Framework for the Public Trust Doctrine and the Great Lakes," and "Trails and Microplastics:  New Developments."  The symposium is complimentary but advance registration is required.

Law Review Symposium Invitation>>

Reunion for All Law Alumni - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, October 24, 2015 - 7:00 pm

The School of Law's annual Reunion will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. at the School's Riverfront Campus.  As part of the festivities, we will celebrate the the 50th anniversary of our clinical program; selection of Hon. Anthony J. Fiorella, Jr. as UDM's 2015 Alumni Award recipient and Richard T. Krisciunas as the 2015 Time and Talent Award recipient; and the special anniversaries of the classes of 1965, 1990, and 2005.  The Reunion is for all School of Law alumni.  Additional details may be found on the Reunion website.


November 14, 2015: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 9:00 am

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM 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.  

January 7, 2016: Prospective Student Open House - UDM Law Campus

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 5:30 pm

Find out why men and women have been choosing UDM Law for over 100 years for their legal education.  Learn how UDM 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.  


  • Professor Richard Broughton discusses gun control on WDET radio

    UDM Law Professor Richard Broughton was interviewed by Detroit Free Press editor Stephen Henderson on October 6 on WDET 101.9-FM's "Detroit Today." The subject was "How We Balance Freedom and Safety in a Pro-Gun Society;"  LISTEN TO SHOW>>


    The legal community came together to celebrate UDM Law's 103rd annual Red Mass on September 29.  Judges, attorneys, civic leaders, faculty, and law students of all faiths filled Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church to pray together at the beginning of the new judicial term. View Red Mass Photos>>  Read More>>



    Professor Alex Vernon represented the Immigration Law Clinic in participating in "Become a Citizen Day" hosted by the Chaldean Community Foundation and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit on Saturday, September 19, in Sterling Heights. Attorneys and volunteers from these organizations and other firms assisted permanent residents in applying for citizenship. This was part of a nation-wide effort coordinated by organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association.



    Four UDM Law students will compete in the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan's 16th Annual National Trial Advocacy Competition in Lansing on October 9-11, 2015. The prosecution team will be led by Scott Ruark and Nina Paolini-Lotarski, and the defense team members are Hannah Treppa and Patrina Bergamo.



    UDM Law will offer new programming this fall to meet the needs of its entrepreneurial-minded students and graduates interested in developing their own law practices. Eight different free workshops have been scheduled for September 23 to November 18 at the School of Law campus, exploring the practical implications of developing a solo or small firm practice, and some will also be available for online viewing. The School was awarded a $30,000 grant from the DeWitt C. Holbrook Memorial Fund to fund and expand its Solo and Small Firm Incubator Program to add these workshops through a new Center for Solo and Small Firm Practice.

    Register for Workshops>>

    Press Release>>


    In the Fall 2015 issue of Conversations, a semi-annual magazine published by the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, alumnus Allen Elzerman '03 praises UDM Law's commitment to social and criminal justice.  In his article, "On Loan to the Poor," Elzerman discusses how he personifies that commitment through his work as a public defender and how his sense of fulfillment is more important than financial gain.

    On Loan to the Poor, Conversations magazine, Issue 48 - Fall 2015 (written by Allen Elzerman '03)