Hands-On Lawyering from Day One

Detroit Mercy Law prepares students for the practice of law through hands-on lawyering experiences.


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    Law Firm Program

    Our nationally recognized Law Firm Program (LFP) is a series of courses that simulate real-world practice experience. The focus is not on reading a textbook or taking exams. Instead, students gain hands-on experience in a specific area of law of their choice.

    LFP courses mimic the work assignments, feedback, and professional skills development that new lawyers experience at law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate legal departments. Students work with classmates on assignments that are representative of the type of work new attorneys are expected to perform, such as drafting and negotiating contracts, taking depositions, and writing motions and arbitration agreements.

    “Many of our students say the law firm program courses are among the most valuable courses they take in law school. They learn to appreciate how legal rules, like the Rules of Civil Procedure, actually work in practice. Theoretical know-how is great, but that is not the only thing that makes a great lawyer.”

    Karen McDonald Henning


    Karen McDonald Henning, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law

    Recent LFP courses include:
    • Advising Entrepreneurs in New Business Startups
    • Anatomy of a Business Transaction
    • Business Planning
    • Children and the Law Welfare Proceedings
    • Family Law
    • Health Law
    • Immigration Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • International Commercial Arbitration
    • Juvenile Justice
    • Pretrial Civil Litigation
    • Pretrial Criminal Advocacy
    • Probate Law
    • Purchase and Sale of Commercial Real Estate
    • Small Firm Practice
    • Small Firm Practice in Canada

    100% - Faculty with Real-World Practice Experience

    At Detroit Mercy Law, you learn the art of lawyering from experienced faculty who are committed to shaping the next generation of legal professionals. All of our faculty practiced in their area of expertise before joining Detroit Mercy Law and bring real-world experience into the classroom.


    First-Year Mini-Clinics

    As part of our commitment to providing hands-on lawyering experiences for our students from day one, we launched mini-clinics for first-year students in 2015. In mini-clinics, first-year students are trained and supervised by attorneys in the community and help clients with a variety of matters. Students develop legal, leadership, and community service skills.

    Recent mini-clinics include:
    • Pope Francis Center Legal Clinic
    • Driver’s License Restoration Clinic
    • Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Hearing
    • Crime Stoppers Clinic
    • Greening of Detroit Clinic

    Learn More About Mini-Clinics

    “The Driver's License Restoration Mini-Clinic was a great opportunity to learn by helping real people with real problems. The clinic gave me hands-on experience that I would have never read about in books or learned by sitting in a classroom.”

    Nour Alaouie
    Nour Alaouie '22


    Guaranteed Clinics for Upper-Level Students

    At Detroit Mercy Law, all students are guaranteed a clinical experience. Our clinical program, founded in 1965, it is among the first clinical programs in the nation. We offer a variety of clinics for upper-level students to gain hands-on lawyering skills while advocating for real clients who otherwise may not have access to legal services.

    Learn More About Our Clinical Program



    Students complete externships in judicial chambers, public interest organizations, and government offices to gain hands-on experience, earn academic credit, and network with employers. Many externship opportunities are within walking distance of Detroit Mercy Law, including state and federal courthouses, which makes it convenient to gain practical legal experience any time of year.

    Learn More About Our Externship Program

    “Serving as a judicial extern at the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is the highlight of my experience at Detroit Mercy Law and opened many doors in my legal career. It was an honor to spend a summer at the Court and learn from experienced jurists.”

    Margarita Dvorkina
    Margarita Dvorkina '19 Dual JD


    Comprehensive Legal Research and Communication Program

    Effective research and communication lie at the heart of effective lawyering and are skills that legal employers demand. Our expert faculty and law librarians work closely with students to provide the feedback and guidance necessary for them to become strong counselors and advocates.

    Learn More About Legal Research & Communication

    “My first-year legal research and writing professor went above and beyond to teach us skills that are essential to succeed in practice. The class helped me immensely. I successfully applied my new skillset as a judicial extern the summer after my first year.”

    Ellen Kim


    Ellen Kim '20 Dual JD


    Moot Court

    The Moot Court Board of Advocates is a student organization that provides hands-on lawyering experience to members through simulated appellate court experiences. Students selected for the program complete an advanced advocacy course and compete at internal and national competitions by drafting appellate briefs and performing oral arguments with co-counsel.

    Learn More About Moot Court


    Inn of Court

    The Detroit Mercy Law chapter of the American Inns of Court brings together judges, lawyers, and law students who share a passion for professional excellence. Membership is made up of three categories – masters of the bench (judges, experienced lawyers, and law professors), barristers (lawyers with lesser seniority but who have several years of experience), and pupils (law students).

    Learn More About Inn of Court