One of the hallmarks of being a student at Michigan Law is the unusual level of access to and interaction with professors​. The mini-seminar program takes that experience to a whole new level. 

If you thought you knew your favorite professors before, consider the insights you'll have after you've had dinner at their houses while their children run around in diapers. And for the reserved student who has avoided more than cursory visits to office hours, the mini-seminar presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of one of the most special features of our community.

Implemented in 2005, the program has proved enormously popular with students and faculty alike. The mini-seminars capitalize on both the Law School's unique physical environment, where most faculty live within a stone's throw of the Quadrangle, and our ethos of collegiality, to provide a new venue for personal connections between students and faculty in a casual forum. 

For one ungraded credit, groups of 10 or 12 students meet with a professor (or two) over the course of a semester (or in some cases, the entire academic year) to hold provocative conversations in a series of two-hour sessions in the professor's home or some other non-classroom setting. Some 1L mini-seminars offer no credit.

The seminar's theme is faculty-selected—often intensively law-focused, balanced by a handful of topics that might be described as marginally legal. About 15 mini-seminars are offered each year.

2023-2024 Mini-Seminar Topics

Fall

  • The AI Debates: Does AI Pose an Existential Threat to Humanity? (Prof. Salomé Viljoen)
  • Criminal Justice Reform by Comedian Jon Oliver (Prof. Imran Syed)
  • Law and Letters (Prof. Patrick Barry)
  • Learning the Law by Avoiding It (Prof. David Santacroce)
  • Renegotiating Our Relationship With Work: An Exploration of Post-Pandemic Approaches to Careers (Profs. Bridgette Carr and Vivek Sankaran)
  • ... versus Donald J. Trump (and Fox News) (Prof. Rich Friedman)

Year-Round (Fall/Winter)

  • Context (Prof. Mira Edmonds)
  • Financing the Clean Energy Transition (Prof. Gabriel Rauterberg)
  • La Vida Loca: The Overpolicing of LatinX Communities (Prof. Lou C.deBaca)
  • Lawyering in Washington, DC (Prof. Chris Walker)
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It: Emotion and the Practice of Law (Prof. Debra Chopp)

Fall 2023 Mini-seminar Information

Winter

2L/3Ls

  • Being Happy (Prof. Margaret Hannon)
  • Between Shadow and Light -- Domestic Violence and the Law (Prof. Julia Lee)
  • Climate Change and Human Rights (Prof. Karima Bennoune)
  • Dangerous Speech (Prof. Gabe Mendlow)
  • How to Change the Past (Prof. Scott Hershovitz)
  • Law and Literature in Two Keys: Di Gong An, van Gulik's Judge Dee, and Chinese and Foreign Perceptions of Imperial Chinese Justice (Prof. Nicholas Howson)
  • Law-School Admissions in a Post-Affirmative Action World (Prof. Sam Erman)
  • Leading as Lawyers (Prof. Tifani Sadek)
  • The Life of a People’s Lawyer: Using the Law to Advance Social Justice (Prof. Mike Steinberg)
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Clerking (Profs. Kerry Kornblatt and Jessica Lefort)
  • Such Characters! (Lawyers in the Movies) (Prof. Tim Pinto)
  • What Can Short Stories Teach Us About Law (and Life)? (Prof. Steve Schaus)

Winter 2024 Mini-seminar Information for 2Ls and 3Ls

1Ls

  • Cannabis Law and Social Justice (Prof. Mark Osbeck)
  • Cities After COVID (Prof. Noah Kazis)
  • Criminal Law 201: The Criminal Legal System From the Perspective of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated People (Prof. Kim Thomas)
  • Lawyers as Social Shifters for a More Sustainable Future (Prof. Kristen Wolff)
  • The Stories Behind the Supreme Court Cases (Prof. Beth Wilensky)

Winter 2024 Mini-seminar Information for 1Ls