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Wayne State University Law School

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Wayne State University Law School
File:WSU LS logo.gif
Established 1927
School type Public
Dean Frank H. Wu
Location Detroit, MI, US
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Wayne State University Law School is located in Detroit, MI

Wayne State University Law School is located in the City of Detroit’s Cultural Center, and is one of the schools of Wayne State University. It one of two public law schools in the state of Michigan. The Law School has educated and trained lawyers since 1927, and its 10,000+ alumni serve as successful leaders of the bench and bar. Alumni include six of the last ten presidents of the State Bar of Michigan, members of Congress, the former national president of the Federal Bar Association, and a quarter of all sitting judges in the Michigan judiciary.

The Law School offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in day, night, and combined programs. It also offers a number of dual degrees, including the J.D./M.B.A. combined program, and J.D./M.A. programs in economics, history, dispute resolution, and political science, among others. The Law School also maintains the fourth largest Master of Laws (LL.M.) program in the nation, and the only program in Michigan designed for practicing lawyers. LL.M. students can pursue advanced study in taxation, labor law, and corporate planning.

There are approximately 750 students enrolled in the Law School’s J.D. program. According to the 2006 U.S. News data, entering law students in 2005 had undergraduate GPAs ranging from 3.33 (25th percentile) to 3.72 (75th percentile), and LSAT scores ranging from 153 (25th) to 159 (75th). The Law School’s 2005 acceptance rate was 39%, and maintained a bar passage rate of 83.5%, well above the average of 74% for all takers of the Michigan Bar Exam. The Law School has been ranked as a "tier 4" law school by U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools 2008,[1] the lowest rated tier. However, as Dean Wu has indicated in recent letters to students, alumni, and faculty, U.S. News has by error grossly miscalculated the employment percentage of WSU Law graduates which accounts for the low national ranking. WSU Law faculty are currently working with US News to fix this error. In recent years WSU Law has ranked in the second or third tier.


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 thrived and was subsequently 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). The Law School’s students founded the Free Legal Aid Clinic in the 1960s, which is now operated in conjunction with the Legal Aid and Defender Association.

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 for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in 1960. ICLE provides Michigan lawyers with accessible, high-quality, continuing legal education and resource materials that enable them to practice law more effectively, and is now one of the largest organizations of its kind in the nation.

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), and Frank Wu (2004-present); one of two current Asian American law school deans in the nation).

Law School complex

The Law School moved to its present location in 1966. In 2000, the Law School completed a $17-million addition and renovation project. Located on the University's beautiful main campus, the Law School complex features:

• the 250-seat Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, used for lectures, visiting court sessions, and public events

• a moot court facility

• seminar rooms and five large lecture halls with multimedia equipment and terraced seating

• casual seating areas for student conversation and study

• offices for student services and organizations

• facilities for the Law School's clinics

• faculty and administrative offices

• the prestigious Arthur Neef Law Library (the second largest law library in Michigan, and 23rd largest in the nation) serves the School’s students, faculty, and practitioners across the state.

  • Notable features include:
    • 620,000 volumes in all formats
    • 5,000+ electronic resources, including Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, and CALI
    • a 25-station computer lab
    • a completely wireless environment
    • private rooms for group discussion and study
    • reading areas and individual study carrels
    • annual resource expenditures of over $2,500 per law student
    • access to the combined collections of the University's seven libraries, exceeding three million volumes
    • special collections in international law, antitrust law, Jewish law, and U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court historical records and briefs, among others.

The Law School is also nearly set to begin construction of the Damon J. Keith Center, 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. The Keith Center will replace the current classroom building, and will also add office space, the Keith Center for Civil Rights, and the Keith Collection.

Notable alumni

• Judge Damon Keith (LL.M. 1956, Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)

John Conyers (J.D. 1958, U.S.Congressman, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee)

Marilyn Kelly (J.D., Michigan Supreme Court Justice)

• Judge Susan Bieke Neilson (J.D. 1980, Former Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)

• Judge Arthur J. Tarnow (J.D. 1965, Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)

• Judge David M. Lawson (J.D., Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)

• Judge Nancy G. Edmunds (J.D. 1976, Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan)

Annice M. Wagner (J.D. 1962, former Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals)

External links