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.

Effective immigration policy helps U.S. keep global edge, UDM Law professor believes

Prior to law school, Aimee Guthat had no idea there was such a thing as "immigration law," despite hearing references to green cards and immigration papers.

"It didn't seem to be a big deal - how wrong I was," she says. "After surviving first year of law school, I accepted a student law clerk position with a local attorney that practiced immigration law. I thought it would be an interesting way to spend a year and get some exposure to administrative law. Now, more than 15 years later, I'm still practicing immigration law and can't imagine working in any other field."

A senior attorney with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in Troy, Guthat has taught Immigration Law as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School since 2007, and is involved in the university's innovative Law Firm Program.

"I love to learn and I love the law - and I'm very enthusiastic and passionate about what I do," she says. "The idea of sharing my knowledge and experience with law students seemed like a no-brainer to me. All they had to do was ask and I was in. Also, these students are smart. They challenge me at every turn - which is very invigorating."

The curriculum at UDM Law is specifically designed to give students critical tools for the development of professional legal skills that would normally be gained during the first year of practice, through required participation in clinical programs and the Law Firm Program. The Immigration Clinic, which gives students the opportunity to represent immigrants in a variety of non-employment based matters, is highly regarded in the field and "provides such an important community service to the immigrant as well as unique experience to the student," according to Guthat.

"When UDM added an employment-based immigration law module to the Law Firm Program, I was very excited and honored to be asked to participate."

In the immigration law module, students work through a simulation of how actual cases are processed - how communications are initiated by a client, the information presented, working through the legal analysis to identify issues and develop a strategy and presenting that strategy to the client, and finally working up the actual case.

"In effect, students are seeing just how an employment-based immigration practice works on an everyday basis, the types of issues that arise, and how to effectively deal with these issues and meet client needs," Guthat explains. "It's essentially an inside look, which other students don't get. There's a significant competitive advantage."

When entering the field of immigration law, possession of some level of practical, educational experience is critical to a successful practice.

"The issue of U.S. immigration stirs a great deal of passion in people, whether their view is pro- or anti-immigration," Guthat notes. "Further, this issue is one that's very politicized and immigration-related policies and laws are very much driven by the economy, especially in the employment-based arena. The ability to successfully interpret immigration policy, which tends to change with each administration, is gained only through experience."

The key to the U.S. maintaining its footprint and position as a leader in the global economy, she says, is to have workable immigration laws that allow companies to hire and maintain the best talent, regardless of citizenship or country of origin.

"It's no longer enough to be good at home - we have to be good everywhere. In order for the U.S. to maintain its global edge, we need to be able to retain exceptional talent here - the thinkers, the innovators, the researchers - many of whom are foreign nationals."

According to Guthat, employment-based immigration will continue to be a target among politicians and law makers at both the state and federal level, which will make entry into this field from the ground more challenging than ever.
"A new lawyer must have determination and the desire to make a difference, even if only on a small scale.  Immigration law is a very rewarding area of practice, as your actions have a real impact on not only the potential growth
and success of a U.S. enterprise, but also on the lives of many immigrants seeking better opportunity."

The extensive and complicated set of immigration laws are governed not only by the Department of Homeland Security and its sub agencies - in particular Citizenship & Immigration Services, Customs & Border Protection, and Immigration & Customs Enforcement - but also by the Department of State and the Department of Labor.

"Each agency and sub agency has its own agenda, which may or may not be consistent with the existing rules of another agency involved in the immigration process," Guthat explains. "Immigration laws frequently change - and not just on an insignificant level."

About every decade there is a major overhaul of the immigration code with significant changes dramatically affecting individuals as well as global companies with operations in the U.S.

"The last major piece of employment-based immigration legislation was enacted in 2000, so we are due for reform. However, since then, there have been policy memos and directives from the agencies, which in some cases certainly affect the legal analysis and requirements for certain benefits," she says. "You have to constantly study and keep your finger on the pulse of the economy, political posturing, and agency changes.  Immigration law is very
dynamic, which keeps it very interesting."

Guthat, who received her bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from Western Michigan University, and her J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law, joined Fragomen in 2000. She primarily focuses on employment-based immigration and corporate compliance, with clients ranging from small and mid-size companies to large multinational organizations in a variety of industries, including management of major OEMs and product and technology suppliers in the automotive industry.

Guthat enjoys the cultural interaction with people from countries around the world, and learning about customs and behaviors based on different religious beliefs, ethnicity, and traditions.

"I find this to be very enriching as well as helpful in understanding the thought process behind how people approach different situations."

With different approaches between U.S. and foreign entities to very common issues, such as policy development or strategic planning - especially if the foreign company is the controlling entity - clients often look to Guthat for guidance on how to communicate effectively with non-U.S. colleagues.

"There's no question we live in a global economy and the key to a strong U.S. presence in the global marketplace is the ability of U.S. companies to remain competitive," she says. "Collaboration with other corporate figures and colleagues outside of the U.S. is essential, and requires a refined level of sensitivity and understanding of the nuances between our cultures."

Above all, immigration law is about human beings, she notes.

"We live in a great country, with unparalleled freedom and liberty. Many around the world are not so lucky. It's our job to help those looking for a better life for their families to navigate through the very rough waters of legal immigration."

In many cases the legal path to immigration is a very long process, so change in policy and procedure mid-stream is a real risk that may impact eligibility for a particular immigration benefit. Guthat tries to give people hope, and hopes they will see the legal way is the right way.

"Current immigration rules are not very forgiving of violations, and as a result a short-term gain can often negatively impact future life plans, from career development and progression to family separation and loss of residence in the U.S.," she notes.

A favorite case involved a cardiothoracic surgeon with a major university hospital, with a sub specialization in pediatric cardiac surgery, and creator of an innovative, less invasive surgical procedure for treatment of a congenital heart defect in infants and pediatrics patients.

"It's an incredible development for our littlest and most vulnerable patients - and came at the hands of an immigrant," Guthat explains. "The Immigration Service agreed that our client should be granted permanent residence on the basis of his extraordinary achievements and ability in medicine. This person is someone that is truly an asset to the U.S. medical field, and has since gone on to develop cutting edge patient care programs to improve on safety and recovery at two of the leading university hospitals in the country."

Guthat and her husband Peter, both natives of Grosse Pointe, live in Grosse Pointe Farms with sons Joseph, 5, and 8-month-old Matthew. An avid reader, she enjoys skiing, spending time at Pier Park, and serving as chief "land crew" for her husband's sailing adventures.

"This is a very important job, as I'm required to make sure the extra luggage not allowed on board during the race makes it to the finish before the boat. This is especially fun when the finish line is somewhere tropical."

 

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

EVENTS


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 and 25, 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)

    Meet the Women Suing a Michigan Police Department and Standing Up Against Islamophobia, Jan. 25, 2015, Mic Network (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.