The Law School offers three programs for the first year of law study. Students may enroll in a full-time day program, a full-time combined day/evening program or a part-time evening program. All first-year programs begin only in the fall term.
Students in the first-year day program must enroll in all seven required courses: Property, Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Legal Research and Writing. First-year day students should not be engaged in employment, even on a part-time basis.
The combined program is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to complete law school in three years, but who prefer to take several evening classes. The combined program may be elected by any applicant. Students take four or five of the seven first-year required courses and may take an elective course. In the second year, they take in the evening division any first-year required course they did not complete in their first year of law school and may take additional upperclass courses in the day or evening division. The combined-program students who attend summer school may complete the J.D. degree in three years. Combined-program students enrolled in 27 credits for the first academic year are strongly discouraged from employment, even on a part-time basis, during the first year of law school.
Students in the first-year evening program must enroll in all three required courses. Classes meet from 6:10-8:10 Monday through Thursday. Property, Torts, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law I are required in the second year. Students who begin law school in the evening division and enroll in eight credit hours per semester can complete requirements for the J.D. degree in five and one-half years. Students who begin in the part-time program are permitted up to six years to complete the degree. Evening students may accelerate their completion by taking more than eight credits per semester and by taking courses in the summer term. If a part-time evening student wishes to become full-time after the first year, he or she may do so. The student is required to take the Property, Torts and Criminal Law courses in the evening, but may concurrently enroll in day courses to make a full-time schedule.
After completion of the first-year program, students may choose from among a large number of elective courses and seminars covering a broad range of subjects. Students may elect courses that meet in the day or evening or a combination of day and evening. It is not uncommon for evening students to elect from day classes and vice versa, and for upper-class students to change from one program to the other. Both day and evening upper-class students may accelerate by electing courses in the eight-week summer semester.
Law students interested in interdisciplinary study, but who do not want to pursue a joint degree, may elect up to four law-related graduate level courses in other departments of Wayne State University. One graduate level course may be elected each semester, and J.D. credit for graduate courses must be approved in advance by the Assistant Dean of Students.
For a complete statement of the admissions procedures and requirements as well as recommended preparation for the study of law see Admissions Policies and Procedures of the Law School.
The Law School offers first-year students an excellent foundation in research and writing, including training in computer research. Upper-class students have the opportunity to pursue research in areas of their interest and enhance their writing skills by electing from the wide variety of courses, seminars and directed studies, and by participation in the Law Review.
The Legal Research and Writing Program offers two courses: the four-credit Legal Research and Writing course required for first-year students and the three-credit Legal Writing: Advanced course available to upper-class students. Under the leadership of the Director of Legal Research and Writing, the program has earned an outstanding reputation. The Director and four other full-time instructors are experienced teachers who practiced law or were judicial clerks prior to teaching. The first-year Legal Research and Writing course begins with an intensive orientation program, which introduces new students to the court system, the case method of legal education, and methods of legal analysis. Following orientation, the Legal Research and Writing course meets once a week. Students also meet with their instructors in individual conferences. Course enrollment is small to allow for maximum student-teacher interaction and timely feedback on assignments. In the fall semester students research legal issues using Law Library materials and computer legal research programs and complete a series of memoranda designed to improve legal writing and analysis skills. Instruction in the course is coordinated with work in other first-year courses. Students draft pleadings in conjunction with the Civil Procedure course, and, with the assistance of the Contracts professors, students negotiate and draft a contract. In the winter semester the Legal Research and Writing course focuses on appellate advocacy skills; the major assignment is an appellate court brief based on a comprehensive trial court record and lower court decision. Students end the course by presenting an argument based on their brief to a three-judge mock appellate court composed of local attorneys, many who are graduates of this fine program. To prepare for their argument, students may attend sessions of state and federal trial and appellate courts whose judges visit the Law School and hear arguments in actual cases. Students also practice their arguments before upper-class students in the Moot Court program.
After completion of the first- year Legal Research and Writing course, students may elect the advanced writing course. Legal Writing: Advanced is offered each summer term and allows students to enhance their skills in persuasive writing by preparing two trial-level briefs and an appellate brief. Enrollment in the course is limited to fourteen students to encourage student participation in discussions and to permit students to engage in peer review.
The Law School provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in research and writing under faculty supervision. After the first year, students may enroll in a directed study (LEX 7990) for one or two credits and research and write a paper under the supervision of a member of the faculty. The number of credits and scope and subject matter of the project are determined by the faculty member who supervises the research and grades the paper. A maximum of four credits of the 86 credits required for the J.D. degree may be approved for directed study. Students with a special interest in commercial law may enroll in Commercial Law: Directed Research (LEX 7106), engaging in research projects the first year and may also enroll a second year and complete a writing project in that year.
Students also have opportunities to engage in research and writing by enrolling in one of a large selection of seminars offered by full-time faculty members in their areas of specialty. Seminar enrollment is limited to twenty-five or fewer students to encourage the widest possible participation in class discussion. Students enrolled in a seminar complete a substantial analytic paper and have the opportunity to share their paper with the other students in a discussion format. The faculty encourages students to publish their written work in law journals and other periodicals. A number of prizes are awarded each year for scholarly writing.
The Wayne Law Review, published since 1954, is one of the Law School's official scholarly journals. Three of the four annual issues include articles of general academic and professional interest authored by practicing attorneys and law professors, as well as comments written by Law Review members. A fourth issue is an annual survey of developments in Michigan law and is widely read by members of the Michigan legal community. In addition to providing a forum for the discussion of important legal issues, The Wayne Law Review offers an opportunity for students to enhance their research and writing skills and further their knowledge of the law.
Students are invited to join The Wayne Law Review either on the basis of high academic standing or the writing competition held each summer. Each student selected serves as an assistant editor, and, in addition to weekly editing assignments, is required to write an article of publishable quality on a legal topic of his or her choice. The Law Review facilities include separate offices for the executive board editors, individual carrels for each member, a library with a complete set of Michigan materials and modern computer research and word processing equipment.
After the first year of participation, students may take on significantly greater responsibility by election to the senior editorial board. The board, selected from among the first-year members by the prior year's board, both manages the publication of the journal and selects and edits the articles to be published. All senior members have the option of writing an additional article. The Gushée Prize is awarded to the junior or senior member who writes the best article published each year. For all members, Law Review involves a significant time commitment, but it offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth in understanding legal issues and a prestigious credential well-recognized by the judiciary and the practicing bar.
The Journal of Law in Society provides a forum for the scholarly evaluation of the law in relation to various segments of society. It often contains articles which are an outgrowth of an annual symposium the Journal offers each spring on topics such as affirmative action, environmental justice, reparations for slavery, school vouchers, and gentrification. Students are chosen on the basis of their performance in a writing competition which is held each spring.
The Juris Doctor degree is conferred upon students who are admitted as candidates for the degree and who have satisfactorily completed the program of study prescribed in the Academic Regulations of the Law School. Students must apply for the degree in the Law School Records Office at the beginning of the semester in which they plan to complete degree requirements.
The following are the requirements for the Juris Doctor degree:
1) A baccalaureate or equivalent degree upon admission.
2) Completion of each of the following required courses (with final grades of at least `D'): Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Torts, Constitutional Law I and Professional Responsibility; and completion of Legal Research and Writing (with a final grade of at least `LP' - low pass).
3) Upperclass writing requirement: All students entering the Law School in Fall 2001 and thereafter must participate in one or more programs offering a rigorous writing experience after their first year.
4) A professional skills course must be completed
5) Completion of three years in residence. (Students receive a half-year in residence for each semester of 10 credits or more and a quarter-year in residence for each summer term of five credits or more. Fewer credits earn years in residence at the ratio of one semester hour equals.05 years in residence. Students may not earn more than a half-year in residence for a fall or winter term nor more than a quarter-year in residence for a summer term.)
6) Completion of a minimum 86 semester credit hours and overall average of `C' (2.0) or better on all credit hours completed.
7) The final year of study must be completed at this Law School.
8) Students who enter law school as full-time students have up to five years to complete degree requirements; students who enter as part-time students have up to six years to complete degree requirements.
The faculty of the Law School has adopted academic regulations which cover degree requirements, examinations and other academic matters. Compliance with the regulations is required of all law students. The Academic Regulations are available in the Law School Records Office or on the Law School website: http://www.law.wayne.edu
Taking advantage of its location at the center of one of this country's largest metropolitan areas, the Law School offers students a broad range of opportunities for practical legal training through its internship program. The program is a cooperative effort between the Law School and courts; prosecutor and public defender offices; and various nonprofit law offices and governmental agencies. Under standards established by the Law School, the work of student interns is supervised directly by practicing attorneys. Students have served as interns for academic credit for justices of the Michigan Supreme Court, judges of the Michigan Court of Appeals and many state circuit courts as well as judges of the United States Court of Appeals and District Courts. They have also served as interns in many prosecutors' offices and at the State Appellate Defender Office. Internships provide experiences in specialty areas such as tax law (Internal Revenue Service District Counsel) and labor law (National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Over twenty-five government offices and nonprofit agencies and numerous judges participate in the internship program.
Internships, which are open to upper-class students in good standing, give student participants a chance to apply the important analytical skills learned in the classroom to the solution of real legal problems. An internship with a court, for example, can provide students with insight into the operation of courts that cannot be provided easily in the classroom. Students interested in doing an internship must obtain the consent of the Director of Clinical Education. Students spend from eight to twelve hours per week in the fall or winter semesters and sixteen to twenty-four hours per week in the shorter summer semester in the field on work relating to their internship and receive two or three credits for the semester's work. In addition, students take an internship class that meets regularly throughout the semester.
Since several Wayne State University Law School faculty members are experts in areas of intellectual property law, the Law School is able to offer a remarkable variety of courses in such areas as patent, copyright and trademark law.
In addition to these courses, Law School students have the opportunity to take courses at another Detroit law school and at a law school across the border in Canada through the Intellectual Property Law Institute (I.P.L.I.).
I.P.L.I. was created in 1987 as a cooperative effort of the law faculties of Wayne State University, the University of Detroit Mercy and the University of Windsor in Ontario. The Institute offers an exceptional, rich curriculum for law students with courses and seminars in patent, copyright, trademark, computer and related technology, communications and media law and entertainment law. Law students who enroll in I.P.L.I. courses pay tuition to their home institution. Wayne State students receive transfer credit for I.P.L.I. courses taken at the other law schools.
Wayne State University Law School offers a large number of courses in the area of international law. In addition to the courses at Wayne State, students can take courses at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law just across the border in Canada.
The Law School also sponsors two international student exchange programs, a fellowship for summer study at the Hague, and houses a leading publication project in the field of international and comparative criminal law.
The Wayne State University Center for Legal Studies provides the University and the wider community it serves with a forum for communication, collaboration and research on legal issues. Sharing the University's urban mission to teach and serve, the Center for Legal Studies has three main objectives: to promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration among faculty members at the University who share research and teaching interests in law and law-related fields; to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research on topics related to the law; and to promote and enhance opportunities for the interdisciplinary study of law at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Center's academic program focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to legal studies, rather than training students for the practice of law as a profession. The Center for Legal Studies offers an undergraduate minor in legal studies through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Its focus is on understanding law and legal institutions in their social and historical context, from a multidisciplinary perspective. Over 70 courses are available to undergraduate students who elect the minor in legal studies. Faculty who teach in the program are located throughout the University, giving students a rich interdisciplinary perspective.
In addition, the Center promotes joint graduate degree programs in law and related fields; encourages interdisciplinary study by law students and others; provides faculty with information on funding opportunities for law-related research; maintains a faculty interest profile; and sponsors and plans lectures, conferences and workshops.
The Center for Legal Studies hosts a monthly lecture series featuring reports on law-related research conducted by Wayne State University faculty. It also sponsors visiting lectures by academic and professional scholars, and organizes conferences which bring together diverse segments of the community to focus on issues of common interest. In doing so, the Center serves not only the Wayne State academic community, but also the public at large in the Detroit metropolitan area, southeastern Michigan and throughout the state and region.
Law students may pursue joint degree programs in law and economics, law and history, law and political science, law and business administration, and law and dispute resolution. The programs lead to receipt of a J.D. from the Law School and a M.A. from the Economics, History or Political Science Departments of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or a M.B.A. from the School of Business Administration, or a Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution (M.A.D.R.) from the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. Students must be admitted separately to the J.D. and the master's degree programs. Each of the joint degree programs contemplates that the student spend his or her first year taking law courses followed by two-and-a-half to three years of concurrent studies.
Law students who wish to enroll in the joint program leading to the J.D. and M.B.A. degrees may apply for admission to the M.B.A. program at the School of Business Administration during their first year of law school. As a part of the application process, the student will have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (G.M.A.T.). In the M.B.A. program, students may choose from courses in the areas of accounting, finance and business economics, industrial relations, international business, management and organizational behavior, information systems, personnel/human resources, management marketing, quality management and taxation. In the J.D. program, students may enroll in a wide variety of courses in commercial and banking law, corporate, business and antitrust law, tax law and labor and employment law. Students who have met pre-M.B.A. foundation requirements ordinarily will be able to meet both J.D. and M.B.A. degree requirements in four years of full-time study.
The joint program in law and dispute resolution leads to the receipt of a J.D. degree from the Law School and a Master's degree in Dispute Resolution from the Dispute Resolution Program of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. Law students may apply to the Master's in Dispute Resolution program at any time before their second year of law school. After acceptance, they may start their studies in the dispute resolution program after successful completion of their first year of law studies. The overall objective of the joint program is to provide law students with breadth and depth in alternative dispute resolution strategies. The joint degree program can be completed in three and one-half years.
The joint degree program in law and economics leads to the receipt of a J.D. from the Law School and an M.A. from the Economics Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Law students may apply to the Economics Department for admission to the M.A. program, and upon admission may enroll in economics courses after successful completion of their first year of legal studies. Law students will acquire breadth and depth in economic concepts and statistical methods that are used to an increasing extent in trials. The joint program may be completed in as little as one semester more than the three-year period normally required for the J.D. degree alone
The joint degree program in law and history leads to the receipt of a J.D. from the Law School and an M.A. from the History Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Law students may apply to the History Department for admission to the M.A. program, and upon admission may enroll in history courses after successful completion of their first year of legal studies. In the M.A. program, students may focus their studies on chronological history, including Roman, Western European and American backgrounds of law; on subjects related to specific areas of law practice such as labor, business or political history; or on the historical context of the lawyer's role in public policy making in domestic and international affairs. The joint degree program can be completed in three-and-one-half to four years of full-time study. A brochure more fully describing the joint degree program in law and history is available from the History Department or the Law School.
The joint program in law and political science permits a student to obtain both the J.D. degree and an M.A. in political science with a concentration in public policy. Students interested in the joint program should apply to the Political Science Department for admission to the M.A. program during their first year of Law School. As part of the M.A. program students may take courses focusing on public policy, political institutions and processes, and economics. Both a master's essay and written comprehensive examination are required for the M.A. degree in political science. As part of the J.D. program, students may take courses in constitutional law, administrative law and other areas of government law. The joint degree program generally requires four years of full-time study.
Law School students may pursue a master's or other graduate degree in fields other than business administration, economics, dispute resolution, history or political science concurrently with their legal education. Upon completion of their first year of legal studies, students may apply to the appropriate school or college of the University for admission. If admitted, students may divide their time between the Law School and the concurrent program of study, devoting sufficient time to each to meet the academic and residence requirements of both schools. Students are not allowed to apply credit for law courses toward another graduate degree or to apply credit toward the J.D. degree for course work taken in another graduate program other than in the approved joint degree programs.
Applications and information about the Michigan Bar Examination can be obtained by writing to the State Bar of Michigan Committee on Character and Fitness, 306 Townsend, Lansing, Michigan 48933-2083. Students who contemplate practicing law in states other than Michigan should consult bar examiners of those states at the earliest opportunity regarding the requirements of such states. In several states, prospective candidates are required to notify the bar examiners of their intention of taking the examination upon graduation when they begin law study.
Although the curriculum of the Law School is not primarily designed for preparing students to pass the various state bar examinations, substantially all of the subject matter of the examinations is covered adequately in the regular courses. The objective of the Law School is the development of an understanding of the theory of law, its application and the techniques of practice - in other words, to prepare a student for the practice of law.