Cunningham, Cara

Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Research


  • Room: 329
  • Telephone: 313-596-0261
  • E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • J.D. University of Detroit Mercy School of Law '96
  • B.A. Michigan State University '93

Professor Cunningham joined the UDM Law Faculty in 2000. She teaches Applied Legal Theory and Analysis, Advanced Appellate Advocacy, International Advocacy, and Public International Law. She has been twice named Faculty Member of the Year by the Moot Court Board of Advocates. In addition to teaching, she serves as the curriculum director for the Law School's two joint-degree programs: The Canadian & American Dual J.D. Program with the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and The Degrees of the Americas Program with the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. She also is an active member of the Legal Writing Institute, serving on its Global Legal Skills Committee.

Professor Cunningham began her administrative work at the School in 2005 when she was named Director and then Assistant Dean (2006-09) of Academic Initiatives. In this role, her chief responsibility was to assist the dean in the implementation of UDM Law's new curriculum, which includes the innovative Law Firm Program.

Before coming to UDM, Professor Cunningham completed a federal judicial clerkship and litigated at the trial and appellate levels, specializing in employment, civil rights, and tort-reform litigation.


The Transfer: Preparing to Prepare for Practice (work in progress)

Cara Cunningham & Michelle Streicher, The Methodology of Persuasion: A Process-Based Approach to Legal Writing, 13 J. Legal Writing Inst. 159 (2007).

Select Presentations

Plenary Speaker--Empowerment Teaching: The Intersection and Impact of Learning Theories in the Classroom.

Association of Legal Writing Directors Innovative Teaching Workshop

Marquette University Law School

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2013)

Plain English Writing Skills for Legal Services Providers

Committee on Regional Training Webinar (2013)

Empowerment Teaching & Metacognition: Putting Modern Learning Theories to Work

Capital Area Legal Writing Conference

American University Washington College of Law

Washington, D.C. (2013)

Metacognition: Preparing Students to Prepare to Practice

Legal Writing Institute Workshop

Willamette University College of Law

Salem, Oregon (2012)

Managing, Meeting & Exceeding Law School Community Expectations in Renovation

American Bar Association, Bricks, Bytes & Continuous Renovations Conference

San Diego, California (2012)

Joint Degree Program Curriculum Design & Successful Student Transitions

Global Legal Skills Conference VI

Chicago, Illinois (2011)

Exploring Alternative LL.M. Programs: Executive, Mixed Delivery, & Dual Degrees

(Non-U.S. & Cross-Discipline)

Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting

San Francisco, California (2011)

Empowerment Teaching & Persuasive Writing (poster presentation)

14th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute

Marco Island, Florida (2010)

Common Law Lawyers Reason, But Do We Make Sense (To Our Civilian Law Counterparts):

How to Argue by Analogy in a Common Law Context

Global Legal Skills Conference V

Monterrey, Mexico (2009)

Appellate Brief Writing

Committee on Regional Training Appellate Advocacy & Legal Writing Skills Seminar

Novi, Michigan (2006)

Teaching First-Year Law Students to be Practicing Attorneys:

A Contextual Approach to Legal Writing and Research

12rh Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute

Atlanta, Georgia (2006)

The Methodology of Persuasion: Exploring the Irony that Standardized Methods Foster Creative Thinking

and the Creation of Compelling Arguments

12th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute

Atlanta, Georgia (2006)