Detroit Mercy Law launched the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic to support local creatives and cultural richness of Detroit through an expanded IP law clinical program

September 08, 2022

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law launched the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic at the start of the fall 2022 term. This expansion of the clinical program is aligned with the School of Law’s Jesuit and Mercy traditions of service learning, access to justice, and educating the complete lawyer.

From murals to music and more, the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic, in partnership with the City of Detroit's Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship, seeks to enhance the cultural richness of Detroit by providing pro bono legal services to creatives, including musicians, independent filmmakers, writers, artists, and photographers. The clinic, combined with existing patent and trademark clinical programs, provides students with access to a comprehensive intellectual property law practice experience.

The Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in the state of Michigan.  “This clinic will fill a gap that artists need. Michigan lost its only pro bono arts and entertainment law organization in 2019,” explained Melissa Eckhause, Assistant Professor of Law and director of the clinic. 

Professor Eckhause has over a decade of experience representing music and film producers, Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, entertainment professionals, and professional athletes.

The clinic seeks to empower artists by educating them about their legal rights and advocating on their behalf. “It’s about preserving space for creatives to be expressive and ensuring our local creatives are not being taken advantage of and that they receive fair compensation for their creative property, which historically has disproportionally impacted women and minorities,” commented Eckhause.

“I look forward to being a part of this historic and important clinic,” commented Matt Bower, a partner with Varnum LLP and a member of the firm’s corporate and intellectual property practice groups, who will co-direct the clinic as an adjunct instructor. Bower has extensive experience in a broad range of intellectual property matters including copyright protection and licensing, publicity rights, publishing, public art, and fair use. 

Specific client projects may include filing copyright registrations, preparing clearance reports and fair use analyses, drafting and commenting on music agreements, personal services agreements, location agreements, and image releases, and advising on defamation and publicity matters.

This expansion of the clinical program enhances the School of Law’s commitment to educating the complete lawyer. Students now have access to a comprehensive intellectual property law clinical offering. In addition to the copyright work through the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic, Detroit Mercy Law offers a transnational patent clinic and trademark clinic, both of which are certified by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

“Detroit Mercy Law is a leader in the clinical IP field. The addition of the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic to Detroit Mercy Law's innovative program of clinical education positions us well to serve Detroit's burgeoning creative community,” said Nicholas Schroeck, Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Associate Professor of Law. “By adding copyright expertise to our existing intellectual property clinics, which cover patents and trademarks, our students will gain valuable legal skills and practice experience while providing legal representation to clients who would otherwise be without.”

Detroit Mercy Law, inspired by the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, educates lawyers who are committed to the pursuit of justice, service to others, and the highest standards of the legal profession. Each year, Detroit Mercy Law students provide over 35,000 hours of pro bono legal services to residents of Detroit and the surrounding communities.

Learn more about the clinics Detroit Mercy Law offers here:


For more information about Detroit Mercy Law’s clinical program, contact the School of Law’s communications team at