In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 8 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in history, public policy and dispute resolution) and J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration).
The law school offers concentrations in intellectual property law and commercial law. In addition, clinical experience is offered through the Student Trial Advocacy Program, Free Legal Aid Clinic, and the Criminal Appellate Practice Program in cooperation with the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office. There are some 28 seminars. Second- and third-year students have a choice of interning on a part-time basis with distinguished local judges and in a variety of governmental and nonprofit agencies. Students earn 2 credits per semester in these internships. Students may earn credit or income for research projects with faculty members. Special lecture series include I. Goodman Cohen Lecture in Trial Advocacy, Driker Forum for Excellence in the Law, and Bernard Gottfried Memorial Labor Law Symposium. There is a 6-week summer exchange program with the University of Warwick, England; students may also study for 1 semester in the London Law Programme of the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law and at the Hague, Netherlands. The Supportive Services Program offers academic and related support to students. The Intellectual Property Law Institute, a consortium with 2 other universities, offers additional intellectual property courses to law students. The most widely taken electives are Criminal Procedure, Taxation, and Evidence.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 86 total credits, of which 32 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Writing and Research, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession. The required orientation program for first-year students is 4 days for students in the day program and 5 days for students in the evening program, during which students begin their legal writing classes.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 1087 applied, 533 were accepted, and 155 enrolled. One transfer enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 65; the median GPA was 3.54 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 20; the highest was 99.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include a letter of recommendation, GPA, and LSAT results. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 15. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $50, and 1 letter of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 89% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $24,500; maximum, $50,000. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is June 30. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application in March.
About 48% of the student body are women; 19%, minorities; 10%, African American; 5%, Asian American; and 4%, Hispanic. The majority of students come from Michigan (97%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 19 to 48. About 70% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 10% have a graduate degree. About 4% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 96% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the Wayne State Law Review, The Journal of Law in Society, and the newspaper The Advocate. Moot court competitions include Jerome Prince Evidence, Craven Constitutional, National Product Liability, Jessup International Moot Court, and National Civil Rights Moot Court competitions. Law student organizations include Student Board of Governors, Black Law Students Association, and Women’s Law Caucus. There are local chapters of National Lawyers Guild, the Federalist Society, and the American Constitutional Society. Other organizations include the St. Thomas More Society, International Law Society, and Environmental Law Society.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 5 years. For part-time students, courses are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 6 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is a 7-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.