Law (J.D. Program)

Academic Regulations

For complete information regarding the academic rules and regulations of the University, students should consult the Academic Regulations section in the Graduate Bulletin. The following additions and amendments pertain to the Law School.

The faculty of the Law School has adopted academic regulations which cover degree requirements, examinations and other academic matters. Compliance with the regulations is required of all law students. The Academic Regulations are available in the Law School Records Office or on the Law School website.

First-year program

Wayne Law offers three program options for the first year of study to meet the various needs of a diverse student body. They include a full-time day program, a combined day and evening program, and a part-time evening program.

  • Full-time day program – students take all courses during the day, completing 30 credits in their first year, 15 credits each semester
  • Combined day/evening program – students take three courses at night, as well as one or two day courses each semester, completing 22 to 30 credits in their first year, 11 to 15 credits each semester
  • Part-time evening program – students take three courses all at night, completing 16 credits in their first year, eight credits each semester

First-year students learn fundamental legal theory, as well as how to identify and analyze legal issues, through introductory courses including: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, legal research and writing, property, and torts.

Upper-class program

Wayne Law offers a wide range of courses that prepare graduates for an evolving legal environment. Our faculty's extensive knowledge and experience allow the Law School the flexibility to adapt courses and programming to shifting legal trends. From health law, public interest law and international law to corporate law, environmental law and more, you'll find what you're looking for at Wayne Law.

Clinics

Wayne Law's client clinics are directed by full-time expert faculty members and help bridge the gap between theory and practice. Located on or close to campus and offered for credit, our clinics provide hands-on casework to law students while simultaneously assisting residents of the Detroit metropolitan community.

The Law School offers eight clinics:

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

Externships

Externships are an integral part of the experiential learning program at Wayne Law. Students who elect to complete an externship earn academic credit while gaining practical experience outside the Law School walls. Externships develop students' professional skills, values and judgment as they learn about professionalism, the practice of law and the legal system, while becoming reflective practitioners with the capacity for self-directed professional growth.

Wayne Law offers four externship programs:

  • Corporate Counsel Externship
  • Criminal Justice Externship
  • Judicial Externship
  • Public Interest Externship

Co-curricular programs

Wayne Law students gain an edge through a number of co-curricular programs designed to sharpen minds and heighten capabilities. Students gain hands-on experience through a number of organizations dedicated to promoting a friendly yet competitive atmosphere and shaping legal minds.

Co-curricular programs are:

  • Free Legal Aid Clinic
  • The Journal of Law in Society
  • Mock Trial
  • Moot Court
  • Wayne Law Review

Joint Degree Programs

The Law School offers, in conjunction with other colleges of the university, six joint degree programs that allow students to earn both degree and a master's degree in one of the following disciplines:

  • Business administration (M.B.A.)
  • Criminal justice (M.S.)
  • Dispute resolution (M.A.D.R.)
  • Economics (M.A.)
  • History (M.A.)
  • Political science (M.A.)

Intellectual Property Law Institute

Since several Wayne State University Law School faculty members are experts in areas of intellectual property law, the Law School is able to offer a remarkable variety of courses in such areas as patent, copyright and trademark law.

In addition to these courses, Law School students have the opportunity to take courses at another Detroit law school and at a law school across the border in Canada through the Intellectual Property Law Institute. The Institute was created in 1987 as a cooperative effort of the law faculties of Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario. The institute offers an exceptional, rich curriculum for law students with courses and seminars in patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and know-how, computers and related technology, communications and media, entertainment, technology transfer, trade regulation and the arts. Full-time students at each of the three law schools may register for any institute course and will pay the tuition required at their home institution. The course will be credited toward their law degree.

Levin Center at Wayne Law

Established in 2015, the Levin Center at Wayne Law educates future attorneys, business leaders, legislators and public servants on their role overseeing public and private institutions and using oversight as an instrument of change. Through academic programming, training and research, the Center will equip future lawyers, legislators and leaders with an understanding of how effective legislative oversight can lead to significant and meaningful changes in public policy.

The Center hopes to inspire and train a new generation to embrace their responsibility to ensure public and private institutions operate with integrity, transparency and accountability to the general public in honor of former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s distinguished career in public service.

Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law

The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law coordinates Wayne Law's broad array of business law courses, clinics, externships, and extracurricular/co-curricular and community engagement activities.

The breadth of the field of business and corporate law is reflected in Wayne Law's extensive business curriculum, taught by widely recognized full-time faculty.

Wayne Law also offers numerous experiential learning and extracurricular and co-curricular activities designed to prepare students to represent entrepreneurs or to become entrepreneurs themselves while supporting entrepreneurship and business development in metro Detroit. In addition, the Law School offers students the chance to represent real clients on real legal matters through the Business and Community Law Clinic and Patent Procurement Clinic.

The Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law helps aspiring business owners in underserved communities participate in the economic revival of Detroit. The program offers early-stage legal assistance to participating local startups  and creates forums for entrepreneurs to receive general legal guidance, access community resources and share their own business experience.

Program for International Legal Studies

International law cuts across all aspects of a Wayne Law legal education. One-third of the faculty teaches and writes on international subjects, and faculty members enjoy world-wide reputations as innovative and prolific scholars. Classes are available on a remarkable range of global topics. Wayne Law's Jessup International Law Moot Court Team has won the Midwest championship two of the past three years.

The Program for International Legal Studies offers students the opportunity to explore international law through classes, summer internships abroad and co-curricular activities. It hosts an annual lecture series that brings renowned international law experts to campus. The program also hosts conferences on critical issues in international law. In addition, the program sponsors opportunities for students to work on international legal issues first hand.

Bar Admission

Wayne Law is committed to helping our students succeed in law school and pass the bar examination. We believe this journey starts in your first year of law school, as students begin to master the first-year law courses, and continues through the middle and final years at Wayne Law. Our programs are designed to provide additional bar support, using diagnostic exams to predict areas that students should focus on as well as free programs to enhance essay writing skills.

In addition to our programs, we provide expert individual advice and guidance. Wayne Law students graduate with the tools and support to start bar examination preparation and ultimately to be successful in the bar exam.

Student Affairs encourages students to begin preliminary bar preparation in their first year. Our director of academic success and bar preparation can help students create a bar exam plan for each of their years at Wayne Law.

Students should consult Section I of the Law School Academic Regulations for a complete list of the requirements for the J.D. degree. Following are some of the most important requirements:

  • Total credits required. You must complete 86 credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better.
  • Required courses. You must successfully complete Civil Procedure A & B, Constitutional Law I, Contracts A & B, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Writing, Property and Torts in the first year of law school and Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession as an upper level student.
  • Upper-class writing requirement. To satisfy the upper-class writing requirement you must participate in a class or activity offering a rigorous writing experience after your first year. Qualifying activities include Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, Appellate Advocacy, a directed study paper, and participation on Wayne Law Review, The Journal of Law in Society or Moot Court. You also may satisfy the requirement by taking any other course, clinic, workshop or seminar with a substantial writing requirement but only if you submit to the Records Office a signed certificate by the appropriate deadline.
    • Professional skills and experiential learning requirement. If you started at the Law School between the fall 2005 semester and the summer 2013 semester, you must complete the professional skills requirement by taking a curricular offering of two or more credits that provides substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis.
      If you started at the Law School in the fall 2013 or thereafter, you must complete the professional skills and experiential learning requirement by taking at least six credits of curricular offerings that provide substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis. At least three of these required credits must be a clinic, externship practicum or externship colloquium offering three or more credits that provides substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis.
      The courses that meet this requirement are:
      • Clinics – Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, Business and Community Law Clinic, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Clinic, Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, Patent Procurement Clinic, Practicum in Dispute Resolution and Transnational Environmental Law Clinic.
      • Externships – Criminal Justice Externship: Practicum, Criminal Justice Externship: Colloquium, Corporate Counsel Externship: Practicum, Corporate Counsel Externship: Colloquium, Judicial Externship: Practicum, Judicial Externship: Colloquium, Public Interest Externship: Practicum and Public Interest Externship: Colloquium.
      • Courses and seminars – Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business Planning: A Transactional Approach, Contract Drafting Seminar, Criminal Pretrial Advocacy, Effective Oral Communication for Lawyers Seminar, Negotiation, Patent Application Preparation, Pretrial Advocacy and Trial Advocacy.

You may not use the same course, seminar or clinic to satisfy both the upper-class writing requirement and the professional skills requirement.

  • Residence credit requirement. You must complete three years in residence. A student who completes 10 credits or more in a given semester will receive one-half year of residence credit. A student who completes fewer than 10 credits in a semester will receive residence credit based on the ratio of the number of credits completed and 10 credits. You may not earn more than one-half year of residence credit during one semester, and credits earned in one semester cannot be applied to residence credit in any other semester.
  • Time limit for completing graduation requirements. While transfer between programs is possible, a J.D. student who enters the Law School as a full-time student must complete the requirement for the J.D. degree within five years of starting the program, and a student who enters as a part-time student must complete the requirements within six years.
  • Limitation on clinical and externship courses. Students may take not more than 14 credits of clinical and externship courses toward completion of degree requirements.
  • Transfer credits. The Law School will transfer credits from all American Bar Association-approved law schools for courses in which the student received a grade of "C" or better. If a course is graded on a Pass/Fail or No Credit scale, the Law School only will transfer credits with a certification from the institution that a Pass is equal to a grade of "C" or better. The Law School will transfer the credits upon receipt of an official transcript sent directly from the credit-granting institution. Transfer credits are reviewed by the assistant dean of student affairs in conjunction with the registrar. The student's Law School transcript will show credit, but not grades, for courses carried and completed at other law schools. A transfer student only may receive credit for a course taken at the Law School that substantially overlaps with coursework taken at another school with the advance permission of the assistant dean of student affairs.

The above represents only a summary of the requirements for graduation. To be sure you understand all of the requirements you should carefully consult the Law School Academic Regulations.