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Wayne State University Law School is located in Midtown, the City of Detroit's Cultural Center, and is one of the schools of Wayne State University. Along with the University of Michigan Law School it is one of two public law schools in the state of Michigan and has educated and trained lawyers since 1927. Wayne Law's more than 11,000 alumni include judges, justices, law firm partners and government officials working in all 50 states and at least 12 foreign countries.[2]

Wayne State University Law School
DeanRichard Bierschbach[1]
Location, ,


The Law School was founded in 1927 and was originally named the Detroit City Law School as part of the City Colleges of Detroit. Allan Campbell served as the Law School's founding dean, which graduated its first class with the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree in 1928.

The City Colleges of Detroit were renamed Wayne University in 1933. In 1956, the university joined Michigan State University and the University of Michigan as one of the state's three major public research institutions and was renamed Wayne State University.

The Law School received full American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation in 1939. The school's Moot Court program (originally called the Case Club) was established in 1938, and the Wayne Law Review began publication in 1954. As an additional honor, members of the Wayne Law Review were awarded Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees rather than LL.B. degrees (J.D. degrees were awarded to all law students with an undergraduate degree beginning in 1965). In 1965, the Law School's students founded the Free Legal Aid Clinic, which is now operated in conjunction with Lakeshore Legal Aid and Neighborhood Legal Services.

At the urging of the ABA and the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners, Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan Law School joined to form the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in 1960. Deans of the Law School have included Allan Campbell (1927–1937), Arthur Neef (1937–1966), Charles Joiner (1968–1975), Donald Gordon (1975–1980), John Roberts (1980–1987), John Reed (1987–1993), James Robinson (1993–1998), Joan Mahoney (1998–2004; first female law school dean in Michigan history), Frank Wu (2004–2008), Robert Ackerman (2008–2012) and Jocelyn Benson (interim 2012–2014; permanent 2014–2016). Richard Bierschbach became dean on August 17, 2017.


According to Wayne State University's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 53.3% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, bar-passage-required employment within nine months of graduation.[3] Wayne State University's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 30.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[4]

There were approximately 456 students enrolled in the Law School's J.D. program as of 2017[5]. According to American Bar Association (ABA) data, entering law students in 2014 had undergraduate GPAs ranging from 2.99 (25th percentile) to 3.52 (75th percentile), and LSAT scores ranging from 152 (25th) to 160 (75th). The Law School's 2014 acceptance rate was 49%, and graduates maintained a 2013 bar passage rate of more than 78%, above the state average of 69% for all takers of the Michigan Bar Exam.[6]

U.S. News & World Report's rankings for 2018 placed Wayne Law at 100 out of 206 ABA accredited law schools.[7]


Tuition and fees at Wayne State University Law School for the 2017-18 academic year were $15,363.41 per semester (for 15 credits).[8] In October 2014, Wayne Law announced a tuition freeze through at least the 2015–16 school year, as well as additional scholarships that amount to the equivalent of a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students.[9]

Wayne Law was recognized as a Best Value law school for 2014 by The National Jurist and its sister publication, preLaw magazine. Wayne Law was the only Michigan law school recognized. Criteria for selection included price of tuition, student debt accumulation, bar passage rate, cost of living, and employment success.[10]

Campus and resourcesEdit

The Law School moved to its present location in 1966. In 2000, the Law School completed a $17-million addition and renovation project.

In 2011, Wayne Law opened the two-story, 10,000-square-foot Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, named in honor of Judge Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, an alumnus of the Law School. Keith Center programming is funded by more than $2.5 million in endowments and includes the Damon J. Keith Collection of African-American Legal History.[11]

In 2015, the Levin Center at Wayne Law was established and named for retired U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who is its chair and distinguished legislator in residence at the law school. Through academic programming, training and scholarship, the center will equip future lawyers, legislators and leaders with an understanding of how legislative oversight can lead to changes in public policy.[12][13]

Community involvementEdit

Wayne Law operates eight clinics:

  • Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic
  • Business and Community Law Clinic
  • Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Clinic
  • Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic
  • Disability Law Clinic
  • Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic
  • Patent Procurement Clinic
  • Transnational Environmental Law Clinic

The Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, a medical-legal partnership between Wayne Law and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, was named one of the nation's most innovative law school clinics by The National Jurist magazine in January 2015.[14]

The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law coordinates Wayne Law's business law courses, clinics, internships, and extracurricular/co-curricular and community engagement activities. The program offers early-stage legal assistance to local startups and creates forums for entrepreneurs to receive general legal guidance and access community resources.[15]

The Wayne Alumni Law Group is a nonprofit firm that trains new attorneys as they assist Detroit entrepreneurs with growing their businesses.[16]

Notable alumniEdit

Notable facultyEdit


  1. ^ University, Wayne State. "Wayne State University names Richard Bierschbach new dean of its law school - Newsroom - Wayne State University".
  2. ^ "Why Wayne Law?".
  3. ^ "Wayne State University School of Law Required Disclosures".
  4. ^ "Wayne State University Law LST Profile".
  5. ^ "Enrollment Headcount - Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis". Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  6. ^ "Wayne State University 2014 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). American Bar Association.
  7. ^ "Best Law Schools". U.S. News and World Reports.
  8. ^ "Wayne State University Law School Tuition & Fees".
  9. ^ "WSU law school to freeze tuition, offer scholarships". Detroit Free Press.
  10. ^ "Best value law schools". The National Jurist.
  11. ^ "Attorney General Holder Launches Keith Center At Wayne Attorney General Holder Launches Keith Center At Wayne". Michigan Chronicle.
  12. ^ "Wayne State snags Levin, creates center in his name". Detroit Free Press.
  13. ^ "Wayne State creates law center named for Carl Levin". Detroit News.
  14. ^ "The most innovative clinics". The National Jurist.
  15. ^ "Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law". Wayne State University.
  16. ^ "Wayne Law launches independent, apprentice-model law firm". Detroit Legal News.
  17. ^ "Damon Keith". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  18. ^ "John Conyers". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  19. ^ "Ex-Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly joins Wayne State Law faculty". Detroit Free Press.
  20. ^ "Susan Bieke Neilson". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  21. ^ "Arthur Tarnow". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  22. ^ "David M. Lawson". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Nancy Garlock Edmunds". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  24. ^ "A resolution commending Annice Wagner". Open Congress.
  25. ^ "Marcia Cooke". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Pistons owner William Davidson dies at age 86". USA Today.
  27. ^ "How Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert made his fortune". Washington Post.
  28. ^ "Dorothy Comstock Riley". Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society.
  29. ^ Laitner, Bill. "He can run with anyone." Detroit Free Press. 29 October 2006.
  30. ^ "Gary Peters". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  31. ^ "Stephen Ross". Forbes.
  32. ^ "Justice Megan K. Cavanagh". Michigan Supreme Court.

Coordinates: 42°21′37.8″N 83°04′15.4″W / 42.360500°N 83.070944°W / 42.360500; -83.070944

External linksEdit