Dana A. Thompson, '99, is a clinical professor of law and directs Michigan Law's Transactional Law Clinics Program, the Community Enterprise Clinic, and the Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic. She has devoted most of her legal career to representing community-based organizations and small businesses on transactional matters to advance economic, racial, and social justice in urban communities.
Thompson teaches in the Community Enterprise Clinic, where she represents community-based and nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, social enterprises, and small businesses in Detroit and other disinvested urban communities. She is the founding director of Michigan Law's Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she represented University of Michigan student-led startups and other start-up ventures.
Before joining Michigan Law, Thompson taught at Wayne State University Law School and founded and directed Wayne Law's Small Business Enterprises and Nonprofit Corporations Clinic. At Wayne Law, she was also the director of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History.
Her scholarship and other writings focus on urban entrepreneurship and community development, small business legal matters, and student entrepreneurship. Before entering academia, Thompson practiced at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco, then at Miller, Starr and Regalia, where she specialized in commercial real estate and corporate law. She then joined the Nature Conservancy as regional counsel.
In November 2014, Thompson was elected statewide by the citizens of Michigan to serve on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, which elects the president of the university, has general supervision of the university, and controls all expenditures from university funds, among other duties.
Thompson also serves on the board of directors of TechTown Detroit and Voters Not Politicians. She is the past chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section and is a past co-chair of the Legal Educator's Committee of the ABA's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also is a past co-chair of the Association of American Law School's Clinical Law Section's Awards Committee.
"Lawyers as Social Engineers: How Lawyers Should Use Their Social Capital to Achieve Economic Justice"
- Law and Social Sciences
"Caring for the Souls of Our Students: The Evolution of a Community Economic Development Clinic During Turbulent Times"
- Public Interest Law
"Accelerating the Growth of the Next Generation of Innovators"
"L3CS: An Innovative Choice for Urban Entrepreneurs and Urban Revitalization"
- Administrative Law