Detroit Mercy Law Fall 2018 Docket

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New Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic

Scholarship Stories

Letters from Retiring Faculty

STAY CONNECTED TO DETROIT MERCY LAW Though you may have moved on from the halls and classrooms of our Riverfront Campus,

Detroit Mercy Law is always here to welcome you home. Connect with us online for news from the School and to keep in touch with the community.




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COMING SOON: THE eDOCKET Does the annual edition of the Docket leave you wanting more? Starting this winter, get monthly issues of the Docket in your email inbox. Featuring alumni news, upcoming events, and fun feature stories, the eDocket will be your source for all things Detroit Mercy Law in between issues of the printed magazine. If you wish to update or confirm your email address to receive the eDocket, send requests to

Antoine M. Garibaldi, PhD University President

Phyllis L. Crocker Dean | 313-596-0210

Meghan Petiprin Communications Specialist Docket Editor | 313-596-9819

Amy K. Smith (’07) Associate Dean of Business Operations & Chief of Staff | 313-596-0207

Jillian Tupper Director of Development 313-596-0274


Jennifer Rumschlag Associate Dean of Enrollment Management 313-596-9407

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Tanya Lundberg Assistant Dean of Career Services and Outreach | 313-596-0260


BD&E Publication Design |

Linda Laderman Contributing Writer

Terry Clark and David Frechette Photography

Jeffrey Smith Illustration



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We welcome press releases, photos, and updates about Detroit Mercy Law alumni.

Please send information to: Office of Alumni Relations University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 651 E. Jefferson Avenue Detroit, MI 48226-4386


New Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic

Scholarship Stories

Letters from Retiring Faculty

On the Cover:

Alumni judges and attorneys of color share their stories.


FALL 2018

Stay Connected to Detroit Mercy Law Message from the Dean Feature Article Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Our Stories


Supporting Detroit Mercy Law: Scholarship Stories


From the Firehouse: Clinic Update


Career Services Update


Admissions Update


New Employees, New Positions


Faculty Briefs


Retirement Beckons




Alumni Association President’s Message


Class Notes/Remembrance


Online Certificate in Law – Intellectual Property


Save These Dates! Alumni Events DE TROIT MERCY LAW  1


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” A few years ago, former President Obama elaborated on Dr. King’s words: “[The arc of the moral universe] does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own way put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice...” DETROIT MERCY LAW has been

bending the arc toward justice throughout its 106-year history. Bending the arc toward justice means being committed to diversity and inclusion in our community and the legal profession. In this issue of the Docket, we highlight the lives and work of some of our African American and Latino graduates who put their hand on the arc every day. As you will read in the following pages, our graduates do this by serving as judges in our state court system; challenging the status quo and mentoring others; facilitating change through civil discourse; and boldly pursuing their passion for the law. Educating the Complete Lawyer involves teaching students about justice and the privileged role they will have as lawyers to make a positive difference every day in the lives of their clients and in our communities—the role they will have in bending the arc toward justice. We require every student to participate in a legal clinic so that they learn firsthand the skills they need to effectively represent their clients. They also learn the importance of representing persons who are not able to afford attorneys but still need legal assistance. Our newest clinic, the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic, provides exactly that opportunity. Students can gain real-world experience while providing no-cost legal representation to low-income litigants in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (read about clinic updates on page 11).

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The education we provide our students prepares them to pass the bar, get meaningful jobs, and become leaders in their communities. Our graduates had the second-highest bar passage rate in the state of Michigan in February 2018. This followed having the third-highest rate in July 2018. I am seeing a certain trend! Our graduates are also finding jobs: 91% of the law school’s 2017 graduates were employed within 10 months of graduation in legal and professional positions (over the national average of 89%). Your financial support has a direct impact on the education our students receive. You can see it in our improving bar passage and employment rates. You can see it in the skills we make sure our graduates have and their commitment to service—to bending the arc toward justice.

Phyllis L. Crocker

Dean and Professor of Law



When, at the end of the seminal march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” he advanced the idea that real progress toward a more just and equal society requires sustained effort and participation from every corner of the community. Our Jesuit values are congruent with Dr. King’s words. To encourage critical thinking, to pursue justice, to care for the poor and marginalized, and to inspire excellence are the underpinnings of Detroit Mercy Law. From the time our founders opened the doors to Dowling Hall in 1912, Detroit Mercy Law has embraced students of all races, ethnicities, genders, and religions. Through the dedicated efforts of community members, student organizations, and the newly formed Association of Black Law Alumni, Detroit Mercy Law continues to promote social justice and foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment. As we round the bend toward the third decade of the 21st century, our faculty and leadership, under Dean Phyllis L. Crocker, remain committed to Detroit Mercy Law’s long tradition of educating lawyers who will live up to Dr. King’s words and our Jesuit principles. But, as Dean Crocker points out, it takes work in order to bend the arc toward justice. “Our law school has always been bending the arc toward justice. It’s part of our mission as a Jesuit and Sisters of Mercy Law School to do that. Social justice is at the heart of both of those groups. It’s been true throughout our history, both in the way we are teaching our students and what our graduates are doing,” Dean Crocker said. “The alumni featured in this year’s Docket collectively reflect Detroit Mercy Law’s legacy of service. Judge Keith’s work to establish the Association of Black Law Alumni, which aims to create networking opportunities and mentor black students, is a significant example of that. Everything is moving toward a more just and equal society, but it doesn’t happen on its own and we all have to be part of it.” 4   DO C K E T | FA L L 2018

Hon. Terrance A. Keith (’84)

For as long as Wayne County Probate Judge Terrance Keith can remember, the history of his family and its contributions to Detroit’s black community have been a source of pride. “My father’s commitment to black history was a great influence. In 1955, he established the United Committee on Negro History. Every February, we celebrated Black History Month. My dad’s organization would celebrate Negro History week with speakers from around the world. All of those things have stayed with me,” Keith said. With renowned Federal Judge Damon Keith as an uncle, the younger Keith also gained firsthand knowledge of what was expected of black attorneys. “I have quietly watched my uncle’s commitment to the community he has loved all of his life. One of the things my uncle so often mentions when he talks to black lawyers is, ‘If you are in a position of influence and if you don’t use your position to bring others up with you, you’ve wasted the blessing and fortune that God has given you,’ ” Keith added.

INTRODUCING THE ASSOCIATION OF BLACK LAW ALUMNI (ABLA) The Association of Black Law Alumni (ABLA), led by Wayne County Probate Judge Terrance Keith, is a new affiliate of the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association. ABLA’s mission is to augment the resources of the law school and the legal profession by actively recruiting and mentoring black law students through scholarship and career networking opportunities. ABLA also aims to facilitate communications between black law students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the administration to enrich the legal education experience for black law students. As the first Detroit Mercy Law alumni affiliate, ABLA provides a template for future affiliate alumni associations seeking a way to give back to the law school. Anyone who earned a law degree from Detroit Mercy Law and supports the mission of ABLA is eligible to join. Learn more about ABLA at

Taking that directive to heart, Keith was instrumental in establishing the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, an Oakland County organization that promotes minority and women attorneys. “The only black attorneys I knew I could count on my hand. When I tried to find out how many black attorneys there were in Oakland County, nobody knew, so I started getting people together for lunch. We started with a few people and it grew from there,” said Keith. “I initiated that effort because I was mindful of our history, that there was a need to harness our resources to fight for what is fundamentally fair and just. The only way that we could speak to that was to become one voice that addressed the legal community in Oakland County. Thirty years later, Straker is still going strong on so many levels.” Keith’s efforts to create a strong network among minority lawyers extends to his work on the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Board of Directors, where he is leading the effort to establish the Association of Black Law Alumni (ABLA). “My desire has been to create an association that would create a bond between the black alumni and the aspiring alumni who are seeking to become attorneys. We want to give encouragement and strength to those black law students so they know there are other black alumni who they can talk to about the law school experience. When you are only a few out of 500, you feel alone, regardless if you are white, black, brown, or yellow. One of the aims of ABLA is to prepare black law students for the psychological and academic challenges they will confront in law school,” Keith said. A 1984 graduate of Detroit Mercy Law, Keith remains grateful for the opportunity to use his legal education to benefit the community. “Looking back, the most significant benefit I’ve received has been the good fortune to have been placed in so many positions to help people from all walks of life. That is and has been my personal ministry—to help people through their most challenging moments,” Keith said. “Providing encouragement to so many people is the greatest professional goal. It’s in line with the university’s maxim, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam [To the greater glory of God]. Nothing could give me greater satisfaction.”

While she was working as a claims examiner for the Michigan Employment Commission and raising two daughters with her late husband, Lee, she concluded that a legal career could benefit her and her family. As she recalled in her 2017 memoir, The Triumph of Rosemary, the name her biological mother gave her, she was interested in a position as a hearing referee, but the job required a law degree. “I thought, ‘One test, the Michigan Bar exam, and I’m in.’ Very importantly, the job would help me advance to an income level needed to pay for two college educations at the same time.” As it turned out, she was rejected from the first law school she applied to. Never one to let a temporary hurdle prevent her from reaching her goal, Atkins decided to apply to Detroit Mercy Law. “I’m very proud to be an alum of Detroit Mercy Law. They admitted me even though I didn’t have a high enough LSAT score,” Atkins said. In her personal and professional life, Atkins has established a reputation as someone who cares for others. As a member of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, one of the ways Atkins cared for others was by mentoring children who did not have someone to teach them the values she taught her daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth.

Hon. Marilyn E. Atkins (’80)

Even as a child, retired 36th District Court Chief Judge Marilyn Atkins knew the value of resilience. Born to a white mother and black father, then adopted by a black family, Atkins was keenly aware of the obstacles before her. While she learned to adapt, she never lost sight of who she was. “Because my adoptive mother was abusive, as a very young child I said to myself, ‘You have to go along to get along’; later on that changed to, ‘Know when to hold and know when to fold.’ That turned out to be my expression because I knew one of these days I would be out of the situation, so I had to be ready to be a responsible adult.”


“We adopted a middle school where we were supposed to choose a child to mentor,” Atkins said. “When we got there a young boy came up to me and asked, ‘Will you be my mentor?’ I said, ‘sure,’ and we started from there. I took him to places like the museum because I wanted to expose him to good things. These kids did not have a good home life. That was the only way to do it.” What Atkins believes about perseverance in the face of adversity is relevant for anyone contemplating a law career. “You never, ever give up. You make a life plan for you, your family, and your community, then try to fulfill it as best as you can to reach all of the goals that you placed in that plan throughout your life in the hope that you will be successful. Irrespective of the obstacles the world throws in front of you, you have to keep your eye on the prize and your head up. If you want to make a dent in the community by being an attorney, just keep going. It’s tough, but it’s worth it.”

Portia Yvonne Trenholm (’72)

State-sponsored racism brought 1972 Detroit Mercy Law alumna Portia Trenholm to Michigan. Following her graduation from Alabama State University, a historically black college, Trenholm took Alabama’s offer to pay for a master’s degree, with the caveat that she enroll in an out-of-state university. “Alabama went a long way to discourage applications of blacks to the University of Alabama,” Trenholm said. “If you graduated from a black college in Alabama and you were admitted to a white college in any other state, Alabama would pay your full room, board, and tuition.” In 1953, Trenholm graduated with a master’s degree in textiles from Michigan State University. Eager to pursue a career in fashion, she went to work at J.L. Hudson. “My plan was to become part of Hudson’s buyer’s training program. They said to me, ‘You don’t have any sales experience.’ I said, ‘That’s true but if you’ll have me, I’ll get some,’” Trenholm recalled. “I was hired as a sales clerk and after three weeks, I’d broken all the sales records in my department. I told them I was ready to enter the buyer’s training program. Their reply was, ‘We know you are, but we’re not ready to send a black buyer to New York.’”

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That experience compelled Trenholm to pursue work as a teacher and later a lawyer, a career that she felt could offer her “full, unbiased access and participation.” “I took a low-paying job at a law firm to help me prepare for a legal career,” Trenholm said. “I was typing up the pleadings and training new lawyers who didn’t know anything about the court system. I thought, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’ I was making $75 a week. I knew I could do better,” Trenholm recalled. And Trenholm did do better than that, entering Detroit Mercy Law while working full-time to provide for her 10-year-old son. In addition, she joined the Detroit Mercy Law Review and graduated as the only black student and black woman in her class. Trenholm’s lifelong battle against institutional racism is recounted in her 2009 memoir, A Sense of Humor Helps: The Memoir of Portia Yvonne Trenholm, an Attorney of Color. In her book, Trenholm writes, “For minority law students in the late sixties and early seventies the impetus to attend law school sprung from the hopes raised by the late Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, new civil rights laws in the sixties, and enforcement of new equal opportunity laws and regulations in the early 70’s.” Under pressure from the federal government to comply with the civil rights legislation, Trenholm describes how companies like Chrysler began to hire minorities and women. “The Chrysler Corporation received notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that if they didn’t get any black or women lawyers, they could lose their federal contract,” Trenholm said. “I

interviewed with them and they hired me right after that. When I asked them why they hired me, their general counsel said, ‘I like the way you talk.’ Non-minorities have a lot of built-in thoughts about minorities. They don’t expect us to be articulate.” Asked if she thinks racial discrimination is still as pervasive as it was when she began her career, Trenholm said, “It still exists, but not to the same degree. What I was running into, in a lot of cases, would not happen today. But, there are still people out there who will discriminate if they think they can get away with it.”

Harold E. Bledsoe (’25)

Long before racial inequality was a widely recognized part of the American lexicon, attorney Harold Bledsoe, who died in 1974, was working on issues that impacted his fellow black attorneys and the African American community at large. Bledsoe, a 1925 graduate of Detroit Mercy Law, refused to accept the disparity between Michigan’s black lawyers and the established legal community. Rather than be stymied by the situation, Bledsoe saw it as an opportunity to challenge the status quo. The late Judge Wade H. McCree, the first black jurist to sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th district, lauded Bledsoe as a mentor who opened the door for others. “When none of the big law firms would even give me an interview because of my race, Harold Bledsoe opened his office to me and dozens of others,” McCree commented in the Wayne Law Review article, “Black Legal History.” Bledsoe’s granddaughter, Judge Deborah Bledsoe Ford, who sits on the 36th District Court in Detroit, remembers her grandfather’s stories about growing up in Marshall, Texas, as the child of well-off landowners. “His grandparents were slaves, but his parents were not. His father was educated at Bishop College and became a landowner. He was very well-to-do, and sent my grandfather to undergrad and law school,” Bledsoe Ford said. “My grandmother told me he went to law school because he saw so much terrible discrimination that he decided he wanted to use his legal skills to make a difference.” After Bledsoe graduated from Detroit Mercy Law, he chose to remain in Detroit where he became involved in local and state politics. “Following his first year of law school at Howard University, my grandfather came to Detroit for a summer apprenticeship because it was a booming city,” said Bledsoe Ford. “It turned out that he thought it was such a good place that he transferred schools.” As Bledsoe became more involved in politics, he took on a number of leadership roles in the Democratic Party. When he was appointed to the Michigan Workmen’s Compensation Study Commission, as it was then called, he helped draft Michigan’s first Workmen’s Compensation Act. Then, in 1934, Bledsoe was appointed as the state’s first black assistant attorney general. Later, as a member of the Electoral College, Bledsoe became the first person of color in the country

to cast an electoral vote for the reelection of President Franklin Roosevelt. Throughout his career, Bledsoe remained steadfast in his commitment to social justice for his colleagues, clients, and the residents of Detroit. “Those who were active in politics had to be willing to pay the freight for the race’s political emancipation. No other organizations were willing to underwrite our movement, which I think was one of the midwives that gave birth to the Negro’s hopes in organized labor,” Bledsoe was quoted as saying in a 1963 interview in the Michigan Chronicle. Often called the “Father of the Black Lawyer,” Bledsoe’s legal skills won him accolades from his clients, the judiciary, and academia. One of those accolades is something Bledsoe’s granddaughter will always remember. “Many years ago, when I walked into a courtroom, the judge said, ‘Let me tell you who her grandfather was.’ When I was a student at the University of Michigan, my evidence professor told us that we were not going to class that day. Instead, we were going to watch Harold Bledsoe try a case. Our professor let us know that he could not possibly teach us more than we could learn from watching him. “To take a white man and say, ‘Go look at this black man because he can teach you more than I can.’ That’s huge. I will never forget that,” said Bledsoe Ford.



Agustin V. Arbulu (’74) AUGUSTIN ARBULU, director of the Michigan

Civil Rights Commission, came to Detroit Mercy Law not only because he found the School’s environment to be what he was looking for, but also because he wanted to learn how to present a strong argument. A 1974 alumnus, Arbulu was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Department of Civil Rights in 2013, where he held the office of secretary until 2015, when he became the department’s director. “When I was going to graduate school, I saw that those who made the best argument, and could organize their thoughts the best, were lawyers. They had the training.” Arbulu, who also has a doctorate in management, said. “Then I met a few law students and thought, ‘This is what I need.’” Yet, what he needed did not just fall into his lap. By the time Arbulu made the trip to Detroit from Arizona, where he had just completed an MBA, he had already missed the first week of classes at Detroit Mercy Law. Still, he persevered.

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“I had driven to Detroit after getting my MBA in Arizona. I didn’t know law school had started. I met with the assistant dean, who told me that they were a week into classes, but I begged him to give me a chance. He let me in the night program, where I did quite well. After the first year, I switched to days. The training at Detroit Mercy Law was solid, a great experience. I’ll never forget it.” Like many law students, Arbulu said he had no preconceived notions of what was ahead. “I didn’t come to law school with any idea of what law was all about. I can remember reading cases and always missing the issues. It took me years to finally get it.” As director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Arbulu travels across the state to facilitate discussions about the issues and concerns that affect the rights of Michigan residents. It is often up to him to encourage the groups he meets with to air their concerns without rancor and anger. “There’s room for disagreement and dialogue, but there is a way of doing it. It’s important to speak up, but to speak up in a civil manner, not to personalize it. Be passionate about what you believe in and use that passion to move the needle forward. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. taught us,” Arbulu said. “If you listen to Dr. King’s speeches, there is a civility and goodness in there. That’s missing in the current environment we’re in. When you hear the words that are being spoken today and you compare them to the words of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s like day and night.” Born in South America, Arbulu’s multicultural background has afforded him the opportunity to see the world through a diverse lens. “I was born in Peru and settled here when I was 13. But my background is not typical. One grandfather was Chinese, my greatgrandmother was Afro-Peruvian, my great-grandfather was from Spain, and I am Jewish, married to a Jewish woman [Detroit Mercy Law alumna Marcia Nussbaum (’81)]. The name Arbulu is not even Spanish. It’s Basque,” Arbulu said. “I’d like to think that all those different genes and that bloodline has allowed me to see things differently, to have a lot of hope in the goodness of people.”


Lori Mireles-Smith (’18) THERE WAS NEVER any question

that 2018 graduate Lori Mireles-Smith wanted to be a member of the legal profession. But, for the 48-year-old Mireles-Smith, managing a successful career along with raising two sons meant that law school had to wait. “My original plan as an undergrad was to go to law school. Halfway through my senior year, life got in the way,” Mireles-Smith recalled. “I even had applications in to law schools that I cancelled because I thought it was not a good time to be doing this.” And when the time was right for Mireles-Smith to make her dream a reality, she not only became an active participant in student life at Detroit Mercy Law, but she was also able to apply her interest in criminal law to an internship in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, where she is hoping to work after she becomes a member of the bar. “In 2010, I was asking myself, ‘Do you want to be doing this the rest of your life? The answer was, ‘No way did I want to be doing this,’” Mireles-Smith said. “Even though I was successful at my job, I could never say, ‘I love my job.’ Now I wake up every morning and say, ‘I love my job.’ That’s one of the things that drew me to the prosecutor’s office. No two cases are ever the same. Every day is something new.” The same could be said for Mireles-Smith’s experience at the law school, where she took steps to make sure her involvement did not end when her classes were over. As a result, she earned a reputation as a leader and a mentor, who is willing to give her time to the community. “I was a consummate joiner, so it didn’t surprise anyone that I got involved in a million activities,” Mireles-Smith said, when asked about

Lori Mireles-Smith receives the Vivere ex Missione Award from Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi, much to the joy of her family and friends.

her terms as president of the Hispanic & Latino Law Students Association (HiLLSA) and vice president of the Student Bar Association. “I joined HiLLSA during my second year of law school and they were a great bunch of people to be with, yet most of them were moving on and we didn’t have a big membership coming back. I made a promise to them that not only would I keep this going but I would make it bigger and better,” Mireles-Smith said. “Since then, our HiLLSA chapter has become part of the national organization. And we developed community-based legal aid and immigration clinics. I can look back at that and say, I did something good, something worthwhile.” In recognition of her efforts, Mireles-Smith was named the 2018 recipient of the Vivere ex Missione Award, an annual award presented to graduates from different University of Detroit Mercy schools and colleges who “best exemplify the mission of Detroit Mercy.” The award recipients are announced as a surprise at graduation. “They graciously gave me the award for not just being a student but also going above and beyond. I was trying not to cry [when the award was presented], but this was a really big deal for me. When President Garibaldi read the list of things I’d accomplished, I thought, ‘Wow did I really do that much?’ At the time it didn’t seem so much,” MirelesSmith said, adding, “You effect the positive change in your world by constantly going after it.”



Scholarship Stories Scholarship support from alumni donors makes it possible for our students to thrive in law school. To all donors, we thank you for supporting and empowering students as they pursue their legal careers.

GIVING BACK: IN THE WORDS OF ALUMNI DONORS “The scholarship fund in my name was made possible through the generosity and dedicated efforts of many people I call friends in the Michigan legal community—fellow judges, lawyers, and alumni. Recalling the financial struggles I faced as a student and recognizing the far greater burden that students carry today, I’m very touched to be a part of this marvelous initiative to lighten the load of future lawyers.” – Judge Michael J. Talbot (’71)

“I received a great education from dedicated professors who cared about me as an individual. I was also fortunate to have my education paid for by my employer. Thinking about the great experiences and opportunities that have helped me lead a rewarding legal career, I felt it was important to help make law school possible for others and encourage aspiring law students to choose Detroit Mercy Law. As we were once in their shoes, I encourage my fellow alumni to give back to current students.”

“I was fortunate to be able to use the GI Bill to obtain a JD and MBA after completing active duty as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force. Having had the opportunity to apply the knowledge I received while attending Detroit Mercy Law, I wanted to give back and help other veterans who desire to attend law school.” – Louis M. Berra (Engineering ’65, MBA ’73, JD ’77)

“The Ramser-Morgan Foundation Board supports the Detroit Mercy Law Veterans Clinic to meet the donor’s intent of providing assistance to veterans needing help accessing and knowing their benefits. The Board understands that veterans often require advocates to obtain benefits, and we are proud to be leveraging the Detroit Mercy Law clinical program to train lawyers that will assist veterans now and in the future.” – Ramser-Morgan Foundation Board of Trustees, Steven F. Milbeck (’85) (top photo), Robert A. Sajdak (’77) (bottom photo), and Michael H. Obloy (’73) (not pictured)

Interested in giving back? Visit or connect with Jillian Tupper, Director of Development, at | 313-596-0274

– Dennis L. Dabney (’00)

THANK YOU NOTES Kourtney Lovett (’19) Recipient of Dennis L. Dabney Scholarship “I would like to thank Mr. Dennis Dabney for supporting me with such a generous scholarship. His benevolence has helped alleviate much of the financial burden that is often associated with law school. Further, it has provided me with peace of mind and the ability to select a job that I am truly passionate about postgraduation without concerns about student loans.” 10   DOCK E T | FA L L 201 8

Michael Tibbits (’19) Recipient of Ramser-Morgan Scholarship “It’s because of the generous support of alumni benefactors like those at the Ramser-Morgan Foundation that students can focus on their studies as opposed to worrying about how to pay for school. The Ramser-Morgan Scholarship allowed me to focus on being a student, as the scholarship helped pay for my books and a portion of my tuition, and for that, I am incredibly thankful.”

FROM THE FIREHOUS E : C LINIC UPDATE Launched in 1965, the Detroit Mercy Law Clinical Program was one of the first in the country. Today, Detroit Mercy Law is the only Michigan law school that requires all students to complete clinical work to earn their degree. Through clinical work, students gain the invaluable experience of actually representing a client before graduation while providing critical legal assistance for underprivileged clients in Detroit. Last year alone, Detroit Mercy Law students logged over 14,000 hours of free legal services to the community. In 2017–18, Detroit Mercy Law launched four new clinics to serve a wider range of student interests and client needs: Housing Law (Summer 2017), Trademark & Entrepreneurship (Fall 2017), Family Law (Winter 2018), and Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance (Winter 2018). Now, with a total of 11 clinics, students have more opportunities than ever to engage in hands-on learning.

Clinic Spotlight: New Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic Takes Community Service to a Higher Court The Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic, which launched in January 2018, provides no-cost, limited-scope legal representation to low-income litigants in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Led by Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor Kevin Carlson, who has over 15 years of civil litigation experience, the clinic aims to assist pro se plaintiffs and defendants on a variety of federal legal issues, including civil rights, employment discrimination, and disability discrimination. In the inaugural semester, five Detroit Mercy Law students assisted unrepresented litigants by offering procedural advice, explaining court orders, and helping to refine their case strategy. Some pro se litigants do not have the money or are unable to find an attorney who will agree to take their cases. There is also no generally recognized right to courtappointed counsel in federal civil cases, so students are able to meet an unmet need of the litigants while saving the court time and resources.

Two students who completed the first Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic share their experiences. “Through the Federal Pro Se Clinic, I gained practical experience drafting and filing motions in federal courts that allowed me to apply much of what I learned in Civil Procedure and Federal Jurisdiction to real-world situations. The experience was beneficial because I was able to assist clients with navigating federal court and determine how we could best help them meet their goals. I worked on one particular employment discrimination case that I was able to see all the way through to a settlement, and it sparked my interest in employment and civil rights law. Overall, I had an excellent experience in this clinic. I am very thankful for the support of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Professor Kevin Carlson, and Professor Anne Yantus, who made this experience possible for us.” – Michelle Shember (’19) “Of the many things I appreciated about this clinic, one that I valued most was the opportunity to meet with clients face-to-face at the courthouse. Being in that atmosphere made it a well-rounded experience because we were able to do substantive work while also helping clients on a personal level. This made all the difference in the quality of their involvement at the clinic, and it helped us to learn and grow in the process.” – Jewel Haji (’19)

Jewel Haji (’19); Rachelle Glisson (’19); Staff Attorney and Adjunct Professor Kevin Carlson; Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; Michelle Shember (’19); Daichanai Jones (’19); and Veronica Prange (’18) on the first day of the new Federal Pro Se Clinic.



Class of 2017 Employment Outcomes The Career Services Office (CSO) collects and reports graduate employment outcomes to the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). These organizations receive employment data from all law schools and track national trends. The entry-level legal employment market is improving. The employment rate is trending up and the unemployed-seeking rate is trending down.

Overall Employment – Early Outcomes* National Employed

Detroit Mercy Law




Class of 2017





Class of 2016





Class of 2015





A note about Dual J.D. graduates: Graduates who pursue legal careers in Canada are required to complete an experiential learning requirement called “articling” to obtain their license to practice law. These employment outcomes are generally categorized as short-term, per ABA and NALP definitions. The short-term classification of these positions is frequently misunderstood as an inferior employment result, despite being a requirement for licensure and therefore the best post-graduation result for these students’ career goals.

Employment in Bar Passage Required and JD Advantage Positions Class of 2017





Class of 2015



Individuals pursue legal education for diverse reasons, and the best employment outcome for each graduate varies. Generally, however, it is assumed that Bar Passage Required and J.D. Advantage* outcomes are the best outcomes for law school graduates. *JD Advantage is a position for which a J.D. provides a demonstrable advantage in obtaining or performing the job, but which does not itself require bar passage or an active law license, or involve practicing law.

Class of 2017: Types of Employment   Law Firm (2–50)


Judicial Clerkship 3%

Law Firm (50+)


Public Interest






Business & Industry 6%

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Nadia Maraachli (’17) Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Celeste Kinney (’18) Judge Victoria A. Roberts U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Kory Steen (’18) Judge Avern Cohn U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Detroit Mercy Law

Class of 2016

Judicial clerkships are extremely competitive. Several alumni from the Classes of 2017 and 2018 secured judicial clerkships, including:

Clare Sawicki (’17) Judge Mark A. Randon U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

*Employment statistics for each class reported as of March 15 following graduation.


Spotlight: Judicial Clerks

WANT TO HIRE A 2018 GRADUATE OR A STUDENT CLERK? Direct opportunities to the CSO at 313-596-0223 or


Admissions Is a Community Effort The Detroit Mercy Law community plays a vital role in the recruitment process. Students choose Detroit Mercy Law for many reasons and frequently indicate that outreach from a member of the law school community, including the dean, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff, and current students, helped them choose us. We appreciate all that our law school community does to help bring in the next class of future alumni lawyers. We are especially thankful to all our generous scholarship donors and the Kitch law firm,

Admitted students learning about Detroit Mercy Law from alumni, faculty, and current students during the Admitted Student Luncheon in May.


Detroit Mercy Law is proud of our heritage in enrolling women, racial/ethnic minorities, and people of various religious affiliations even in our earliest classes, and our commitment to diversity remains true today. Each fall, we conduct an anonymous demographic survey to learn more about the racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious diversity of the entering class and how our students self-identify.

led by Mark Wisniewski (’90), for graciously hosting a reception for Detroit Mercy Law Scholarship recipients. We are committed to recruiting excellent and diverse talent. This past August, an impressive group of students began the American J.D. and the Canadian and American Dual J.D. Programs. Their varied backgrounds and experiences enrich our community. We are proud of their academic, professional, and extracurricular accomplishments thus far, and we are confident that they will contribute to our community and the legal profession in meaningful ways. We are already working to recruit the incoming Class of 2019. If you have admissions questions or would like to contribute to admissions outreach, please contact us at or 313-596-0264. We appreciate your continued support.

Jennifer Rumschlag

Associate Dean, Enrollment Management

Racial/Ethnic Diversity at Detroit Mercy Law  Arab-American/ 18% Arab-Canadian/ Middle Eastern  Asian


Black/Afro-Canadian/ 5% African-American  Caucasian/White




Two or 5% More Races

I Prefer Not 2% to Answer

While only 10% of the 2017 entering class fits the United States Census definition of racial or ethnic minorities, this classification hides the true diversity that exists within our community. According to our Fall 2017 demographic survey, 46% of all 1L student respondents self-identify as students of color. The U.S. Census only counts our Canadian students, nearly half of our student body, as foreign nationals and does not allow students to identify as Arab-American.

Faith Diversity at Detroit Mercy Law  Agnostic/Atheist


Christian, Catholic/ Chaldean


Christian, Protestant/Other

Hindu 3%  Jewish 5%


Muslim 12%  Sikh




No Religious Preference/Affiliation 12%   I Prefer Not to Respond 3%

The Fall 2017 entering class includes students from a range of faith traditions and backgrounds, including those with no religious affiliation. DE TROIT MERCY LAW  13


New Employees, New Positions New Faculty

New Administrators Roxana Bell Assistant Professor of Law B.A., University of Florida, Honors College; J.D., Indiana University McKinney School of Law

Roxana Bell joins the faculty after teaching Legal Communication and Analysis as a visiting assistant clinical professor of law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced labor and employment law at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in Indianapolis. Bell launched her legal career by completing clerkships with the Honorable Jane E. Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and the Honorable Rudolph R. Pyle III of the Court of Appeals of Indiana. Nick Schroeck Director of Clinical Programs & Associate Professor of Law B.A., Elmhurst College; J.D., Wayne State University

Nathaniel Bean Assistant Director of Career Services & Outreach B.Mus., Otterbein College; M.A., University of Iowa Nathaniel Bean joined the law school after working for the Community and Learning Department of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Cindy Chiara Assistant to the Dean Cindy Chiara joined the Dean’s Office after serving as an administrative assistant in city government for many years. Megan Featherstone Associate Registrar B.A., Kalamazoo College; M.A., School for International Training

Nick Schroeck is an environmental law expert whose work focuses on air pollution, water pollution, environmental justice, transportation, and citizen suit enforcement. Prior to joining Detroit Mercy Law, he directed the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic and taught Environmental Law at Wayne State University Law School. Schroeck also served as executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, a Detroit-based non-profit that provides legal services to address environmental, resource, and energy issues affecting Michigan communities.

Megan Featherstone comes to the law school after serving as the associate director of the Detroit Mercy International Services office.

Administrator Promotions

Meghan Petiprin Communications Specialist B.S., University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Tanya Lundberg Assistant Dean for Career Services and Outreach B.A., University of Michigan – Dearborn; J.D., Wayne State University Tanya Lundberg was promoted to assistant dean of Career Services and Outreach after serving as director of Career Services & Outreach since 2016. Lundberg is also the new administrator of the Detroit Mercy Law chapter of the American Inns of Court.

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Daniela Iacoban Administrative Assistant A.S., Henry Ford College Daniela Iacoban became a part of the Student Services team after working for the University of Michigan Health System.

Meghan Petiprin joined Detroit Mercy Law after managing communications in the Office of Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Cidney A. Storey Clinical Programs Support Staff & Paralegal B.A., Wayne State University; Cert. - Legal Assistant, Detroit Mercy (’04)

Jennifer Rumschlag Associate Dean for Enrollment Management B.A. & J.D., University of Toledo

Cidney Storey joined the Clinical Programs team after serving as a paralegal in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jennifer Rumschlag was promoted to associate dean of Enrollment Management in May. She previously served as assistant dean of Career Services and Outreach for three years.

Jillian Tupper Director of Development B.S., Central Michigan University Jillian Tupper joined the School of Law after serving as the major gift officer at City Year Detroit.


Published Faculty Wissam Aoun

Kyle Langvardt

2 + 2 = 5: The Canadian Patent Agent Examination Board and the Doctrine of Essential Elements, 99 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y 625 (2017)

Toward a First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Platform Economy, 26 Geo. Mason L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018) Regulating Online Content Moderation, 106 Geo. L.J. 1353 (2018)

J. Richard Broughton Conviction, Nullification, and the Limits of Impeachment as Politics, 68 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 275 (2017) The Federal Death Penalty, Trumpism, and Civil Rights Enforcement, 68 Am. U. L. Rev. 1611 (2018)

Patrick Meyer The Crazy Maze of Food Labeling and Food Claims Laws, 92 St. John’s L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018)

Danger at the Intersection of Second and Fourth, 54 Idaho L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018) Congressional Law Enforcement, 64 Wayne L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018)

Lawrence Dubin Michigan Court Evidence Manual (2018) (with Weissenberger & Stephani) Caught in the Web of the Criminal Justice System (2017) (editor, with Emily Horowitz) A Father’s Journey to Protect His Son: A Legal Perspective, in Caught in the Web of the Criminal Justice System (2017) (Lawrence A. Dubin & Emily Horowitz, eds.)

Cara Cunningham Warren Sanctuary Lost?: Exposing the Reality of the Sanctuary-City Debate & Liberal States-Rights Litigation, 63 Wayne L. Rev. 155 (2018) Client Interview Training: A Reflection on the ‘Quantum Shift’ in Legal Education, Mich. B.J., Dec. 2017, at 42.

Anne Yantus Michigan Sentencing Law: Past, Present and Future, Fed. Sent. Rep. (Dec. 2017)

Troy Harris The Secularization of a Religious Legal System: Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in Early Eighteenth Century England, 7 Brit. J. Am. Stud. (forthcoming 2018)



Reflections from Retiring Faculty After several decades of educating Detroit Mercy Law students, retiring Professors Larry Dubin and Gary Maveal (’81) reflect upon their careers and say thanks and farewell to the community.

Professor Larry Dubin Professor Larry Dubin served as a dedicated legal educator and prolific scholar at Detroit Mercy Law for 44 years. He taught Civil Procedure, Evidence, Trial Practice, and Professional Responsibility. Among his many accolades, Dubin was recognized with the State Bar of Michigan’s 2018 John W. Reed Lawyer Legacy Award, a prestigious honor presented periodically to an educator from a Michigan law school whose influence on lawyers has elevated the quality of legal practice in the state. “The time has come for me to leave the classroom as a law professor. How do I know? Well, for some time, I have had the pleasure of having the children of many former students in my classes. Now, I’m probably getting close to having some of their grandchildren as law students. That is a sure sign that it’s time to say goodbye. I was hired by Dean Richard Seid in 1975. Dean Seid was a great leader who inspired my appreciation for the important role we played as legal educators and strengthened my commitment for teaching legal ethics in the newly emerging post-Watergate era. He understood that a new course in Professional Responsibility mandated by the American Bar Association was to become a highly significant field of law and that I was getting in on the ground floor of its substantive development. What has given me the most satisfaction in being a law professor has been my connection to the thousands of law students who, over the years, were in my Civil Procedure, Evidence, Trial Practice, and Professional Responsibility classes. So many of these students have gone on to become successful lawyers as well as leaders in government and business. They have also become exemplary private citizens. Some have even become talented law professors, including

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a number at our law school. I take great pride in the success of all of my former students. Being a law professor has also permitted me to pursue my interests in writing books and law review articles, producing public television programs about civil rights lawyers, and serving in public appointments made by the Michigan Supreme Court and State Bar of Michigan. How lucky I was to interview Rosa Parks and to work on television projects with former U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and Martin Luther King Jr.’s lawyer, Fred Gray. More recently, I collaborated with the Honorable Dennis Archer on a video project to interest African Americans in becoming lawyers. In sum, joining our law faculty has been the best professional decision that I could have ever made. I thank Detroit Mercy Law for employing me for all these years. While after this coming fall semester, I will retire from active teaching, I will not officially retire from the law school until the end of 2019. I would love to hear from my former students about their experiences as lawyers and any other thoughts they might want to share with me about their legal education.”  Read Prof. Larry Dubin’s full message at Connect with Prof. Dubin:


Professor Gary Maveal (’81) A Detroit Mercy Law alumnus and professor of 33 years, Professor Gary Maveal served as a tireless mentor to his students and an advocate for the community. He taught Civil Procedure, Remedies, Consumer Protection Law, Drug Forfeiture, and Evidence. Maveal received the 2018 James T. Barnes, Sr. Memorial Faculty Scholar Award for his scholarship, teaching excellence, and public service as well as a resolution from the Michigan Supreme Court for his outstanding service as administrator of the Detroit Mercy Law chapter of the American Inns of Court. “As a student here from 1978–81, I never imagined I would teach at the law school. I am indebted to the many people that played a role in my joining the faculty in 1988. There are too many to name—but the chief credit lies with my late parents, Harvey and Catherine Maveal, who worked tirelessly to prepare me and my siblings for life. I must also thank all of my previous employers, who instilled in me the habits of commitment to clients. Secondly, I’ve gained much from the deans, faculty, and staff with whom I’ve worked over the years. My colleagues make the law school a special place that is committed to students. I thank them all for their friendship and support in that work. Finally, and most importantly, I will surely miss classes and dialogue with our students. I have always felt a special honor and responsibility in being entrusted with their legal training. Watching students grow and become engaged and caring attorneys has been a most gratifying experience. I deeply appreciate the many notes and emails I’ve received from classmates and former students marking the occasion of my departure. The terms of my parole allow use of university email and my office throughout 2018–19, so I very much hope to keep in contact with all of you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I might assist you somehow on your cases or causes.”  Read the Detroit Legal News article about Prof. Gary Maveal at Connect with Prof. Maveal:

Many thanks and best wishes to our newly retired faculty and administrators for their years of dedicated service to our students and the School.

2017–18 Faculty & Administrator Retirements

Faculty Prof. Lawrence (Larry) Dubin Prof. Lee Goldman Prof. Gary Maveal (’81) Prof. Thomas Saybolt

Administrators Dorothy Cooper, Career Services & Outreach Katy Cooper, Library Tom Fante, Facilities Gene Moy, Library Sally Moy, Library Michelle Van Horn, Clinical Programs Barbara White, Student Services



Commencement & Baccalaureate Mass 2018

Above: Verkeydia Crump (’18) is hooded by her mentor, Mikyia Aaron (’15), and Prof. Richard Broughton.

Judge Michael J. Talbot delivered the keynote address and said to the 2018 graduates, “One small thing I would ask of you—you will be given the opportunity in a number of months ahead to take the oath of becoming a lawyer. They’ll give you a card or piece of paper; it’s the same oath we’ve all taken. Look at that oath—it doesn’t talk about knowledge, it doesn’t talk about making a lot of money, it doesn’t talk about a lot of the things that lawyers are shown as on TV. It will talk about your judgment and your character. If you’re ever at some point wondering ‘Am I a good lawyer?’ use that oath to answer that question and take a look at your judgment and character.”

Left: Baccalaureate Mass was led by Fr. Gilbert Sunghera, S.J. at Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church. During this special mass, graduates were joined by family, friends, and the Detroit Mercy Law and Dental School communities to give thanks for their educational journey and ask for blessings as they begin their legal careers.

MEET THE JUDGES Judges, attorneys, and Detroit Mercy Law students came together for the Meet the Judges networking event on October 3, 2017. Pictured above are the many current and retired members of the judiciary who attended along with leaders of the sponsoring organizations, the Catholic Lawyers Society, the Polish American Legal Society, and the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers. Left: Student Keshava Kirkland (’19) stands with Third Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell, Jr.; Angela Baldwin, Assistant General Counsel for the City of Detroit; and Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris (’82) during the event. 18   DOCK E T | FA L L 201 8


Hon. Gregory E. Mathis (’88) Receives Detroit Mercy Alumni Achievement Spirit Award ON APRIL 26, the Detroit Mercy Law community

celebrated Judge Gregory Mathis (’88) as he received the 2018 Detroit Mercy Alumni Achievement Spirit Award, an honor the University bestows annually upon one alumnus from each of its schools and colleges who are leaders in their fields and communities. A Detroit native, Mathis is a former 36th District Court Judge, a social justice advocate, and the star of his Daytime Emmy Award-winning, courtroom TV show, Judge Mathis.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Craig S. Strong; Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi; Vice President of Academic Affairs & Provost Pamela Zarkowski; Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris (’82); Judge Gregory Mathis (’88); Gail Williams (’83); David Williams II (MBA ’79; JD ’82); and Wayne County Probate Judge Terrance Keith (’84) stand together outside the law school during the Spirit Award celebration.

Above: During his speech, Mathis shared his advice for aspiring judges and lawyers, “For those who are seeking to become judges and otherwise serve in lead levels of law, it’s not about your suit, it’s not necessarily about your presentation or preparation, it’s about service to the community.” Right: Judge Mathis with fellow alumni of the Detroit Mercy Black Law Students Association.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra (’87) presented a resolution of the Michigan Supreme Court to Prof. Gary Maveal (’81) for his service as the administrator of the Detroit Mercy Law chapter of the American Inns of Court. Pictured at the event (left to right): Chapter President Daniel J. Bernard; Justice Brian Zahra; Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; Inn Counselor and U.S. District Court Judge Laurie J. Michelson; U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis; and U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin A. Drain.

Michael Peplinski (far left) of the U.S. Department of Defense National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented Dean Phyllis L. Crocker with the Patriot Award, which recognizes employers who practice leadership policies that support military members and their families. Professor Michelle Richards (’94), second from left, nominated Dean Crocker for this award for her and the Detroit Mercy Law community’s support while Richards’ husband, a Commander, U.S. Navy JAG, was deployed overseas for nearly a year. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Zarkowski (far right) also attended the award presentation. DE TROIT MERCY LAW  19


Professionalism in Action DETROIT MERCY LAW conducted its annual

Professionalism in Action event in conjunction with the State Bar of Michigan on January 26. Professionalism in Action emphasizes the School’s commitment to incorporate ethics across the curriculum. Local judges and lawyers discussed the importance of civility and worked through a series of ethical and professionalism hypotheticals with law students in small groups.

Above: Over a dozen judges and attorneys advised students during the 2018 Professionalism in Action event. First Row (l-r): Hon. Wendy Baxter (’78); Hon. Laura Gibson (’13); Hon. Stephanie Dawkins Davis; Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; Katrina Hardy (’12); Jennifer Dukarski (Engineering ’96; Law ’10); Hon. Mona Majzoub (’76); Hon. Michael Talbot (’71); Avis Choulagh (’06). Second Row (l-r): Joe Vernon (Dual JD ’05); Hon. Christopher M. Murray (’90); Mark Wisniewski (’90); Ed Lennon (’88); Eric Straus (’85); Justice Brian K. Zahra (’87); Jordan Paterra; and Daniel Dalton (’90). Left: Jennifer Dukarski (Engineering ’96; Law ’10), a partner at Butzel Long, shares her advice with students.

Michigan Legal Community Celebrates Hon. Michael J. Talbot (’71)

ON APRIL 13, Detroit Mercy Law hosted a retirement celebration for the Honorable Michael J. Talbot (’71), former chief

judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals and Court of Claims. He retired on April 25 after 40 years on the bench. Over 400 people, including fellow alumni and members of the Michigan judiciary, attorneys, leaders in the Catholic community, faculty, and administrators, gathered together in the School’s atrium to honor Judge Talbot. To commemorate his many contributions to the community, event attendees donated to the Hon. Michael J. Talbot Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports the educational costs of Detroit Mercy Law students. Given their generous contributions, Detroit Mercy Law reached its $50,000 goal for the fund.

Leaders from the Catholic Church attended the event to celebrate Judge Michael J. Talbot, including Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the first Detroit-native priest to become a Catholic Cardinal.

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Judge Michael J. Talbot thanks friend and fellow Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Christopher M. Murray (’90) for his speech during the celebration.

ERIN GO LAW JUDGES, ATTORNEYS, AND alumni connected with students at the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Board’s Erin Go Law Networking Reception on March 15.

Transactional LawMeet Coached by Adjunct Professor David D. Joswick, Detroit Mercy Law students Jessica Gnitt (Dual JD ’18) and Matt Tapia (Dual JD ’18) took first place at the 2018 Regional Transactional LawMeet held in Washington, D.C., on February 23. This year, 96 teams from across the U.S. faced off in head-to-head competition involving structuring a business transaction, drafting contractual solutions for the client, and negotiating resolution with the lawyers (in this case, fellow law students) representing the opposing party.

Women’s Bar Association Charles R. Rutherford Sr. (Engineering ’53; Law ’57), retired senior partner at Dykema Gossett, PLLC and former president of the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Board, chats with fellow alumni and students during the event.

Pictured here with Dean Phyllis L. Crocker, alumnae, current students, and fellow administrators, Tanya Lundberg (center), assistant dean of Career Services & Outreach, was sworn in as president of the Oakland Women’s Bar Association for the 2018–2019 year on May 31.

Jesuit Service Day For the 3rd Annual Jesuit Service Day on April 21, alumni, faculty, administrators, and students came together to clean up the Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church courtyard and serve breakfast to those in need at the Pope Francis Warming Center.

Supporting the Complete Lawyer Dean Phyllis L. Crocker, Associate Dean Megan Jennings, and Assistant Deans Charisse Heath and Tanya Lundberg prepare to cheer on our graduates and serve them lunch during the July 2018 Bar Exam in Lansing. DE TROIT MERCY LAW  21


Uplifting the Next Generation of Lawyers


the unique opportunity to uplift the next generation of lawyers. We know that success in the legal profession requires advanced critical thinking skills, a strong work ethic, and a network of colleagues willing to offer their time when needed. That is why it is incumbent upon all of us to share our experiences with current law students and new graduates. Our education as Jesuit-trained legal professionals

teaches us that we have a moral responsibility to reach out in meaningful ways and to remember the people who helped us along the way—professors, mentors, family, and friends. In this issue of the Docket, we highlight the stories of minority alumni leaders who not only broke barriers in their careers but also dedicated their time to guiding the next generation of judges and attorneys. Harold Bledsoe is one who, in the face of deep-seated institutional racism in 1920s America, forged ahead with his legal career and helped other black legal professionals find success along the way. I also think of my friend and fellow Alumni Association Board Member, Judge Terrance Keith, who helped found the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association to promote legal practice opportunities for people of color in Oakland County. Now, with his leadership, we are proud to introduce the Association of

2018–19 Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Board of Directors Edward G. Lennon (’88), President Hon. Michael J. Riordan (’90), Vice President Kyle R. Dufrane (’98), Vice President Kelly Houk (’13), Secretary Gregory G. Thiess (’79), Executive Committee Mikyia Aaron (’15) Camilla Barkovic (’13) Hon. Michael J. Beale (’90) John F. Clark (’06) Ponce Clay (’15) Dennis L. Dabney (’00) Bernard J. Fuhs (’06) 22   DOCK E T | FA L L 201 8

Kenneth H. Hemler (JD/MBA ’07) Mylika L. Johnson (JD/MBA ’13) Hon. Terrance A. Keith (’84) Scott K. Lites (’85) Christina Nassar (’10) A. Adam Post (’11) Sarah Simmons (’11) James E. Tamm (’85) Macie D. Tuiasosopo-Gaines (’13) Matthew L. Vicari (’90) Mark A. Wisniewski (’90) Justin Zatkoff (’14) Lori Mireles-Smith (’18)

Black Law Alumni (ABLA), an affiliate of the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association that will focus on enriching the experience for black law students and supporting them after they graduate and enter their professions. With stories of alumni like Harold, Judge Keith, and so many others who play critical roles in the success of young lawyers, the phrase “uplift others on your way up” comes to mind. With a legal education grounded in the traditions of the Jesuits and Sisters of Mercy, we recognize the importance of serving others in our work and our personal lives. As alumni, we can uplift the next generation of lawyers in countless ways. From mentoring students to attending School events to contributing funds for student scholarships, your support goes a long way in educating complete lawyers who go on to lead in their careers and their communities. This past year was filled with good news at Detroit Mercy Law, including excellent bar passage rates, new clinics, and high career placement numbers for 2017 graduates. Such achievements are the result of the dedication and support of the entire Detroit Mercy Law community. We are fortunate to have active alumni who mentor and hire our graduates. To ensure our continued success, the law school needs you to continue to uplift students and to give back by sharing your time, talent, and resources. I am looking forward to another exciting year at Detroit Mercy Law, and I hope to see you at upcoming community events. I am honored to serve as President of our Alumni Association and welcome your feedback.

Edward G. Lennon (’88)

President University of Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Lennon Law PLLC, Birmingham, MI (248)723-1276


Golden Jubilee Class of 1968


n August 3, members of the Class of 1968 celebrated their 50th Law School Reunion at the Detroit Athletic Club. Alumni, along with their family and friends, traveled from near and far to celebrate this special anniversary and reconnect with classmates. The event was organized by 1968 graduate and Secrest Wardle partner Dennis R. Pollard.

Members of the Class of 1968 with Dean Phyllis L. Crocker at their reunion celebration.

Leonard Suchyta (Engineering ’65; Law ’68)


968 Detroit Mercy Law alumnus Leonard Suchyta returned to the School’s 2018 Commencement to be honored for his golden jubilee, but admits he did not think about his own graduation as much as he enjoyed watching the new graduates receive their degrees. “I don’t know that I reflected back on my graduation. It was more about sharing the moment of the bright, excited faces and their families,” Suchyta said. Suchyta’s connection to Detroit Mercy Law goes beyond his years as a law student. His wife, the late Callan Pringle Suchyta, was a much-admired assistant dean and professor at Detroit Mercy Law. “My wife came to the law school in 1978 as a librarian. Then, she became an assistant professor and assistant dean. In 1979, she was chosen “Professor of the Year,” Suchyta said of Professor Suchyta, who died in 2006. “She felt it was important to spend the time to talk with students and be available to them. She really enjoyed helping them realize what a great profession the law is.”

For Suchyta, having the same profession as his wife made it easier for both of them to understand the demands of a legal career. With a laugh, he said, “Our shared interest was a great advantage to me. We worked crazy hours, so if I told her I had to stay late, she understood. I would view our marriage as a great friendship between two lawyers who were incessantly devoted to the practice of law.” Still active as an intellectual property attorney, Suchyta has held executive positions with Verizon and GTE, positions that reflect a career choice that he continues to enjoy. “I found something that I’ve continued to love over the last 50 years. I am just as excited about it now as I was when I first graduated.” Though Suchyta did not have the chance to talk directly with the 2018 Detroit Mercy Law graduates, he knows what he would have said to them if he had. “If I were to talk to them individually, I would tell them that if you learn to love and enjoy the profession, it will be rewarding to you in all respects, beyond your greatest expectations.” 1968 Golden Jubilee graduate and guest of honor at the 2018 Commencement ceremony Leonard Suchyta (far right) pictured with (left to right): Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost Pamela Zarkowski; Detroit Mercy Board of Trustees member Sister M. Rosita Schiller; Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; Commencement Speaker Hon. Michael Talbot (’71); President Antoine M. Garibaldi; and Alumni Association President Ed Lennon.



1960s Frederick W. Lauck (Liberal Arts ’65, Law ’69) Frederick Lauck (’69), an author and a trial lawyer of over 40 years, published a new book called The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit: Fightin’ in the Streets...Fightin’ in the Courts (An American Story). The book recounts the history of Irish immigrants in Detroit and their influence on the city’s legal landscape.

1970s Hon. James M. Alexander (’73) Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James Alexander was recently appointed to Governor Rick Snyder’s Trial Court Funding Commission. Housed under the Michigan Department of Treasury, the commission was created to review and recommend changes to the trial court funding system.

Frederick W. Lauck (Liberal Arts ’65, Law ’69)

Hon. James M. Alexander (’73)

Justice Maura D. Corrigan (’73)

John P. Jacobs (’70)

Daniel P. Malone (’78)

Sharon S. Almonrode (’81)

Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris received the Mary S. Coleman award at the 2018 Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) Centennial Gala. This award is bestowed annually to a member of the Michigan judiciary who serves as a role model for women in the legal profession. Faye Alexander Nelson joined the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in August to oversee its statewide grant priorities. Nelson will be charged with ensuring the foundation’s grants help to create equitable Michigan communities that ensure children can thrive.

J. Rick Taché (’89) Hon. Denise K. Langford Morris (’82)

Faye A. Nelson (’80)

J. Rick Taché (’89)

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Judge Michelle Friedman Appel, chief judge of the 45th District Court, was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Trial Court Funding Commission, where she will work with other judges and public officials to recommend changes to the trial court funding system.

Faye A. Nelson (’80)

Daniel P. Malone (’78) Daniel Malone became CEO of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul - Detroit. This change to non-profit leadership marks a career shift for Malone, who practiced law at Butzel Long for 38 years.

Sharon Almonrode, senior litigation attorney and partner at Miller Law PC, was named a “Notable Women Lawyer in Michigan” by Crain’s Detroit Business for her work on more than 90 class action lawsuits.

Hon. Denise K. Langford Morris (’82)

John P. Jacobs (’70) John Jacobs received the first-ever John P. Jacobs Appellate Advocacy Award, a new award established in his name by the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC), in honor of his 43 years of service as “one of the finest appellate attorneys in Michigan’s history.”

Sharon S. Almonrode (’81)

Hon. Michelle T. Friedman Appel (’81)

Justice Maura D. Corrigan (’73) Maura Corrigan, former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and former director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, joined Butzel Long as Counsel last fall. Justice Corrigan was also named by WJR-AM 760 to the 2018 Class of Women Who Lead for her “exemplary leadership and contributions in both the legal profession and child welfare in Michigan.”


Hon. Tracey A. Yokich (’85)

J. Rick Taché became co-chair of the Buchalter PC patent litigation group and a shareholder of the Orange County, California office. Taché focuses his practice on patent and trademark litigation, serving the medical device, aerospace, and hightech industries.

Hon. Tracey A. Yokich (’85) Tracey Yokich, a family court judge on the Macomb County Circuit Court, was elected president of the Michigan Judges Association, one of only three judges associations sanctioned by the Michigan Supreme Court.



Michelle A. Anthes (’96)

Michelle A. Anthes (’96) Michelle Anthes has been named a managing partner at McShane & Bowie P.L.C., a Grand Rapids-based firm specializing in business, real estate, and estate planning. She is the first woman to be named partner in the history of McShane & Bowie. Anthes was also named to the 2018 Class of Michigan Women in Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for her significant achievements in the field.

Hon. Shalina D. Kumar (’96)

Steven M. Bieda (’92)

Timothy M. Collins (’93)

Steven M. Bieda (’92) Michigan State Senator Steven Bieda was recently honored by Proving Innocence, a non-profit dedicated to assisting the wrongfully convicted, for his successful efforts in passing legislation that provides compensation to wrongfully convicted individuals in Michigan.

Elizabeth A. Hohauser (’99)

Elizabeth A. Hohauser (’99) Elizabeth Hohauser joined the general and automotive practice group at Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC as an attorney specializing in first- and third-party automotive liability litigation.

Wendy A. Hudson (’92) Wendy Hudson started her own criminal defense firm, Hudson Law, LLLC, in Wailuku, Hawaii. Prior to starting her private practice, Hudson spent more than 18 years at the Maui Public Defender’s Office fighting for underprivileged defendants.

Scott A. MacGriff (’96) Scott MacGriff, member at Dickinson Wright PLLC’s Washington D.C., office, was named chairman of the Government Procurement Subcommittee for the International Bar Association, the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations, and law societies.

Hon. Michael J. Riordan (’90)

Timothy M. Collins (’93) Tim Collins became chief compliance officer for TrueAccord, a technology company based in San Francisco. Bringing over 25 years of experience to the role, Collins will oversee the company’s legal and compliance practices.

Judge Shalina Kumar was appointed as chief judge of the Oakland County Circuit Court in January. She has been serving on the circuit court bench since 2007. Judge Kumar also serves as one of two judges presiding over the Adult Treatment Court, which functions as a sentencing alternative for non-violent offenders with chronic substance abuse addictions.

Wendy A. Hudson (’92)

Hon. Shalina D. Kumar (’96)

Scott A. MacGriff (’96)

Judge Michael Riordan of the Michigan Court of Appeals received the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC)’s 2018 Judicial Award, which is presented annually to recognize judges who have demonstrated the highest standards of judicial excellence in the pursuit of justice.

Hon. Kathleen A. Ryan (’96) Judge Kathleen Ryan was appointed as chief judge of the Oakland County Probate Court in January after serving on the court since 2010. Judge Ryan presides over the probate court and oversees cases involving decedent estates, wills, trusts, guardianships, and mental health.

Hon. John D. Tomlinson (’91)

Hon. Michael J. Riordan (’90)

Judge John Tomlinson, probate judge for the St. Clair County Probate Court and director of the St. Clair County Child Abuse and Neglect Council, was reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision.

Hon. Kathleen A. Ryan (’96)

Hon. John D. Tomlinson (’91) DE TROIT MERCY LAW  25


2000s Danielle J. Hagaman-Clark (’01) Danielle Hagaman-Clark was reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the state’s campus sexual assault workgroup, which aims to improve sexual assault prevention and investigation on Michigan college and university campuses. Hagaman-Clark currently serves as director of the Violence Against Women Project at the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

Danielle J. Hagaman-Clark (’01)

Josephine A. DeLorenzo (’08)

Courtney E. Lindbert (’09)

Thomas R. Nafso (’09)

Thomas R. Nafso (’09) Thomas (Tommy) Nafso recently joined the team at Butzel Long’s Detroit office. Nafso previously served as prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and assistant attorney general with the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Julianne M. Cassin Sharp (’01)

Dominic A. Paluzzi (JD/MBA ’07)

Sarah B. Rubino (’08)

Joseph G. Vernon (Dual JD ’05) 26   DOCK E T | FA L L 201 8

After working at the firm for over 12 years and serving as senior principal in the litigation practice group, Joe Vernon was named the new resident director of Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone PLC’s downtown Detroit headquarters. In this role, he will manage the office’s overall operations.

Asha James (Dual JD ’08)


Julianne M. Cassin Sharp (’01) Julianne Cassin Sharp was selected to lead the immigration practice at Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone PLC in Detroit. Sharp, who is bilingual in Spanish and English, brings over 17 years of experience representing companies and individuals in various aspects of immigration and nationality law.

Sarah Rubino joined the Troy office of Dickinson Wright PLLC as a member. She focuses her practice on probate litigation and estate planning, with an emphasis on elder law and special needs planning.

Joseph G. Vernon (Dual JD ’05)

Courtney E. Lindbert (’09) Courtney Lindbert recently joined the office of Cunningham, Meyer, & Vedrine in Chicago as an associate attorney. Super Lawyers recognized Lindbert as an Illinois Rising Star from 2016–2018.

Dominic Paluzzi was named to Cybersecurity Docket’s 2018 Incident Response 30, a list of the “best and brightest” data breach response attorneys in the cybersecurity industry.

Sarah B. Rubino (’08)

Josephine A. DeLorenzo (’08) Josephine DeLorenzo was unanimously approved by Plunkett Cooney’s Board of Directors as a shareholder. She was also selected by Michigan Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star in appellate law for the past three years.

Dominic A. Paluzzi (JD/MBA ’07)

ual JD graduate and Toronto attorney Asha James is nearing her tenth year in practice at Falconers LLP, where she recently became a partner. James practices public interest law and has appeared as counsel in several high-profile cases. “I’m focused on human rights and constitutional law, specifically where people have been marginalized,” James said. “When our clients go against the government without the necessary resources, we try to make the playing field as equal as possible.”


2010s Mikyia S. Aaron (’15) Mikyia Aaron became the director of General Counsel & External Business Affairs at Laborers International Union of North America Local 1191 in Detroit. Previously, Aaron worked as an attorney at Clark Hill PLC.

Mikyia S. Aaron (’15)

Michelle H. Bass (’14)

Michelle H. Bass (’14) Michelle Bass joined Wolfson Bolton PLLC as a senior attorney leading the firm’s new consumer bankruptcy practice area. Bass has been recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers as a Rising Star since 2014.

Jennifer A. Dukarski (Engineering ’96; Law ’10)

Attorney and Butzel Long shareholder Jennifer Dukarski was appointed as co-chair of the Women in Communication Law Committee for the American Bar Association Forum on Communication Law.

Stephen Jacobites and Patrick Edwartowski were elected partners in the asbestos and toxic tort group of Collins Einhorn Farrell PC. Jacobites oversees defense of product manufacturers in Michigan asbestos bodily injury cases. Edwartowski manages large asbestos dockets throughout Michigan.

After two years as an associate, Daniel Hegner has been named partner of Bejin Bieneman, PLC. Hegner concentrates his practice on patent and trademark matters, prosecuting U.S. and foreign patent applications in the electrical, mechanical, and software arts industries.

Ticara D. Hendley (’16) Ticara Hendley joined Collins Einhorn Farrell PC’s professional liability practice group. Prior to joining the firm, Hendley worked as a judicial law clerk in the Third Judicial Court of Michigan, Civil Division with the Honorable Leslie Kim Smith.

Jennifer A. Dukarski (Engineering ’96; Law ’10)

Patrick M. Edwartowski (’12) & Stephen D. Jacobites (’11)

Stephanie Fong received the 2018 Abril Farlam Advocacy Award from the Women’s Law Association of Ontario for her social justice advocacy efforts, including her work to fight human trafficking in South Asia with International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest antislavery organization, last summer.

Daniel E. Hegner (Engineering ’04; Law ’10) Charity R. Dean (’15)

Charity R. Dean (’15) Charity Dean was appointed as the new director of the Detroit Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity in August. Previously, Dean served as director of the city’s Bridging Neighborhoods Program.

Stephanie C. Fong (Dual JD ’18)

Patrick M. Edwartowski (’12) & Stephen D. Jacobites (’11)

Stephanie C. Fong (Dual JD ’18)

Daniel E. Hegner (Engineering ’04; Law ’10)

Ticara D. Hendley (’16)



Evan R. Kubes (Dual JD ’16) Evan Kubes joined Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers as an associate in the firm’s medical practice group. Previously, Kubes worked with the Toronto Police Financial Crimes Unit.

Kristina L. Robinson (’10) Evan R. Kubes (Dual JD ’16)

Miganoush Megardichian (Dual JD ’11) Miganoush Megardichian, a lawyer based in Toronto, recently won a close race for a seat on the Toronto City Council. In her new role, she advocates on behalf of the residents of the Scarborough-Rouge River ward. Megardichian was also named an ABA Section of International Law Diversity Fellow for the 2018–2020 term.

Kristina Robinson was appointed to the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission by Governor Rick Snyder. Robinson is general counsel for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and previously served as the director of Legal Research and Analysis.

Shannon K. Smith (’13)

Miganoush Megardichian (Dual JD ’11)

Patent attorney Shannon Smith was elected as a shareholder of Reising Ethington P.C., a Detroit-based intellectual property law firm. Smith’s practice includes the prosecution and litigation of trademarks and patents in various industries.

Ivonne M. Soler (’13)

REMEMBRANCE With deepest sympathy to the family and friends of alumni who passed away between September 15, 2017 and August 22, 2018.

Mr. Anthony A. Carollo (’46) Mr. Conrad D. Chapman (’57) Mr. Thomas W. Cline (’56) Mr. Warren U. Curtis (’94) Mr. John F. Downie (’58) Ms. Elaine Ference (’92) Mr. Gerald V. Foday (’99) Mr. Robert M. Fraser (’54) Mr. Patrick E. Hackett (’50) Mr. Mikael G. Hahner (’81) Mr. Daniel J. Henry, Jr. (’70) Mr. Thomas M. Hibler (’84) Mr. Peter D. Jason (’67) Mr. Richard N. Jefferson (’91) Mr. Dennis R. Johnson (’77) Mr. Charles A. Leibel (’93) Mr. Lawrence V. MacLean (’53) Mr. Joseph M. McGlynn (’60) Mr. Thomas F. McGuire (’70) Mr. Thomas S. Michael (’84) Mr. Dominic R. Ortisi (’63) Mr. Thomas G. Plunkett (’63) Mr. Mark J. Reccek (’08) Mr. Joseph M. Shaw (’95) Mr. Carl Smith (’78) Mr. H. Richard Verbiest (’56) Mr. Ernest L. White, III (’78)

Shannon K. Smith (’13)

James D. Stevens Jr. (’17) James Stevens Jr. joined Reising Ethington P.C. as an associate attorney. Stevens Jr.’s expertise as a patent attorney includes a wide range of computer science technologies, such as database management systems, network security, and application development. Ivonne M. Soler (’13)

James D. Stevens (’17)

Justin S. Zatkoff (’14) 28   DOCK E T | FA L L 201 8

Ivonne Soler, associate attorney at Butzel Long, was reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan, which aims to develop and maintain a unified policy and plan of action to serve the needs of Michigan’s Hispanic and Latino residents.

Justin S. Zatkoff (’14) Justin Zatkoff, general counsel for Zatkoff Seals & Packings and avid marathon runner, was reappointed to Governor Rick Snyder’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, & Sports.

COMING THIS FALL ONLINE CERTIFICATE IN LAW – INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY New online certificate will provide training to help safeguard the creation and management of inventions, trademarks, or artistic works.


There is a growing need for businesses and individuals to safeguard and manage their intellectual property, including ideas, inventions, marks, trade secrets, and more. Increased competition and the risk of cybertheft and patent and mark infringement can lead to significant harm on an organization’s brand, assets, customers, and fiscal stability. As a result, organizations have expanded their intellectual property staff to include lawyers and non-lawyers. Companies from a wide variety of industries have also increased dependency on developers, engineers, designers, marketers, and technology experts to help manage and monitor the security of their ideas, inventions, brands, trademarks, and more. Starting October 2018, working professionals can receive critical legal training from Detroit Mercy Law through a flexible and convenient four-course online certificate program designed to meet the needs of those seeking knowledge of intellectual property laws. The new online Certificate in Law − Intellectual Property will cover patent, trademark, copyright, and cybersecurity laws—all essential in today’s evolving job markets—in courses designed and taught by prestigious and highly accomplished Detroit Mercy Law faculty.

Certificate in Law – Intellectual Property • Intro to Intellectual Property (starts October 1, 2018) • Patent Law (starts January 7, 2019) • Trademark and Marketing Law (starts March 4, 2019) • Cybersecurity Law (starts May 28, 2019)



University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Alumni Relations 651 East Jefferson Avenue Detroit, MI 48226-4349


FEBRUARY 26–28, 2019



Professor Paul Butler of Georgetown Law Detroit Mercy Law Rm 226

Detroit Mercy Law will provide a complimentary lunch for alumni taking the Michigan Bar Exam in Lansing (also for the July 30–August 1 Bar Exam)

MARCH 13, 2019 MARCH 8, 2019


MCELROY LECTURE ON LAW AND RELIGION “If Jesus Wrote a Law Code, Or Why Buddhism and Law has been Excluded from the Canon” Professor Rebecca French of University of Buffalo School of Law


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