The JD curriculum at Detroit Mercy Law provides students a strong foundation in the substantive and procedural law that forms the core of the traditional American law school curriculum; a thorough grounding in the ethical principles and rules governing the legal profession; high quality instruction in legal research, analysis, and writing; and experiential learning courses that allow students to represent clients and to participate in sophisticated simulated practice experiences. The curriculum integrates theory, doctrine, and practice. We strive through our curriculum to inculcate in students the competencies necessary to the practice of law as well as the highest ideals of the profession.

Graduation requires accumulation of 90 credit hours and includes required courses and electives.

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    First Year Curriculum

    Required First Year Courses

    • Introduction to Legal Research and Communication (Term I)
    • Contracts I & II
    • Civil Procedure I & II
    • Real Property I & II
    • Torts (Term I)
    • Criminal Law (Term II)
    • Applied Legal Theory and Analysis I (Term II)

    Upper-Level Curriculum

    Required Upper-Level Classes

    • Applied Legal Theory and Analysis II
    • US Constitutional Law
    • Professional Responsibility
    • Evidence
    • One clinic
    • One Law Firm Program course (3 credits)
    • One upper-level writing course
    • One global distribution course

    Recommended Upper-Level Classes

    Beyond satisfying degree requirements, students may choose the courses that interest them and that will help them achieve their professional goals. Detroit Mercy Law particularly recommends the following courses, all of which are tested on most states’ bar exams and which augment the grounding in American law provided by the required courses.

    • Business Organizations
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Estates & Trusts
    • Sales

    Other courses covering subjects commonly tested on American bar exams include the following:

    • Conflict of Laws
    • Family Law
    • First Amendment
    • Fourteenth Amendment
    • Insurance Law
    • Real Estate Transactions
    • Remedies
    • Secured Transactions
    • Workers’ Compensation


    Detroit Mercy Law offers concentrations in Immigration Law and in Family Law. These concentrations allow students to specialize early in their legal careers and to market themselves to employers. Successful completion of a concentration is noted on a student’s transcript. For more information about the concentrations, please contact the Registrar’s office.

    Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI)

    The Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI) was created in 1987 through the efforts of the State Bar of Michigan and the law faculties of the University of Detroit Mercy, Wayne State University, and the University of Windsor.

    IPLI is dedicated to providing basic knowledge and advanced legal education and furthering knowledge, scholarship, and research in the law governing the richly diverse fields of intellectual property: patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and know-how, computers and related technology, communications and media, entertainment, technology transfer, trade regulation, and the arts.

    The primary purpose of IPLI is to facilitate the offering of an exceptional and rich curriculum for law students and lawyers in the field of intellectual property.

    Full-time students at each of the three law schools may register for any IPLI course and will pay the tuition required at their home institution. The course will be credited towards their law degree. In the case of lawyers in the field of intellectual property, tuition will be paid directly to IPLI.

    2016-17 IPLI Registration Information

    For more info, please contact the Registrar's Office at (313) 596-9828.


    Global Focus

    The city of Detroit is located directly on the border to Canada, the United States’ largest trading partner, and Detroit Mercy Law itself is located less than a half mile from the tunnel separating the two countries. In fact, we are proud of our Canadian and American Dual JD Program with the University of Windsor. Given our location and our partnership with the University of Windsor, we are particularly conscious of the increasingly global nature of the practice of law.

    We seek to inculcate in students an awareness of and appreciation for the global nature of the practice of law and for the contributions of other legal systems. To that end, each student in the JD program must take at least one course exposing them to another legal system. 

    Representative Courses:

    A variety of courses satisfy the global distribution requirement. Representative courses include:

    • International Law
    • Human Rights Law
    • European Union Law
    • International Law of Cyberspace
    • American Indian Law
    • Canon Law
    • International Environmental Law
    • Advanced Copyright Seminar: International Copyright Relations
    • Cross Border Sales and Financing Transactions
    • Canadian and United States Immigration Law

    Other Global Opportunities:

    Detroit Mercy Law provides a variety of other global opportunities for interested JD students, including the French Scholar Program, the International Opportunities Program, and the Voice for Justice Fellowship Program.