It may strike you as odd that we emphasize practical-skills education as one of our core values and strengths. Perhaps you presume that, of course, law school is where you go to learn how to be a lawyer. 

But historically, the answer to “What will I learn in law school?” has been simply, “how to think like a lawyer.” At many schools, the actual craft was long expected to be picked up on the job later.

The Michigan Law Approach

We’ll certainly teach you how to think like a lawyer—and we will excel at doing so—but since its inception, Michigan Law has been committed to providing hands-on as well as scholarly training. 

The 1860 course catalog explained that “the effort here will be to make, not theoretical merely, but practical lawyers; not to teach principles merely, but how to apply them[.]” 

Today, that effort begins with one of the nation’s most comprehensive 1L legal writing programs, taught by full-time clinical faculty. But the effort does not end there. 

Second- and third-year students may pick from an extensive suite of clinical programs, practice simulations, pro bono offerings, upper-level writing courses, externships, and internships. 

This allows our aspiring lawyers to undergo their initial practical training in a learning environment, surrounded by supportive faculty and mentors, rather than having to endure what the first dean of the Law School, Michigan Supreme Court Justice James Campbell, termed the “mortifying mistakes and painful exposures” that come with exclusively on-the-job learning.