|Michigan State University College of Law|
|Parent school||Michigan State University|
|Parent endowment||US $3 billion (presently receives no state or university funding)|
|Dean||Melanie B. Jacobs|
|Location||East Lansing, Michigan, United States|
|Faculty||51 full time, 73 part time|
|USNWR ranking||93rd (2021)|
|Bar pass rate||76.61%|
The Michigan State University College of Law (Michigan State Law or MSU Law) is the law school of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Established in 1891 as the Detroit College of Law, it was the first law school in the Detroit, Michigan area and the second in the state of Michigan. In October 2018, the college began a process to fully integrate into Michigan State University, changing from a private to a public law school. The integration with Michigan State University was finalized on August 17, 2020.
The college is nationally ranked within the 201 Best Law Schools in U.S. News and World Report, landing in the 93rd spot in the 2021 rankings. The Michigan State Law Review, a legal journal published by MSU Law students, was ranked 48th in the 2020 Washington & Lee University School of Law ranking.
For the class entering in 2018, the college had a 59.4% acceptance rate, 21.9% of those accepted enrolled, and entering students had an average LSAT score of 154 and an average GPA of 3.51.
For the class graduating in 2018, 68.63% of graduates obtained full-time, long term bar passage required employment (i.e. employment as attorneys), while 12.4% were not employed part or full-time in any capacity, within ten months after graduation.
Notable alumni include current Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, current Michigan Supreme Court Associate Justice Elizabeth T. Clement, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and United States federal judge George Clifton Edwards Jr., former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger, former Michigan Senate majority leader and former U.S. Representative Mike Bishop, and former mayor of East Lansing Mark Meadows.
Detroit College of Law opened in 1891 with 69 students and was incorporated in 1893. Among the first class of 69 students to graduate were a future circuit judge and an ambassador. It was the oldest continuously operating independent law school in the United States until it was assimilated by MSU in 1995.[failed verification]
In 1937, the college broke ground and relocated itself in a new building at 130 East Elizabeth Street in Detroit, where it stayed until 1997. The Building was designed by architect George DeWitt Mason. It had been located at the former Detroit College of Medicine building on St. Antoine Street from 1892 to 1913; and the Detroit "YMCA" building from 1913 to 1924; the ground on which the building stood was under a 99 year lease from the YMCA. The last location of the Detroit College of Law in Downtown Detroit is commemorated by a plaque at Comerica Park, the home stadium of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, which now occupies the site.
The college became affiliated with Michigan State University in 1995 to enhance the college's curriculum and reputation. It relocated to East Lansing in 1997, when its 99-year lease with the Detroit YMCA expired, and the original building was demolished to make way for Comerica Park. The newly located college was called "Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University". The affiliation was celebrated at a function where former President and Michigan native Gerald Ford joined more than 2,500 guests at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts Great Hall. Ford characterized the affiliation between Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law "a bold new venture" that presents "a singular opportunity to help shape the changing face of American legal education well into the next century." In April 2004, the school changed its name to the MSU College of Law, becoming more closely aligned academically with MSU. MSU Law is currently fully integrated as a constituent college of the university: academically, financially, and structurally.
Joan Howarth began her deanship at Michigan State University College of Law on July 1, 2008 and was the first female dean in MSU Law's 117-year history. Beforehand, she was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2001. She retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year.Lawrence Ponoroff became the Dean in the fall of 2016, and he served in that role until the end of December 2019. Melanie B. Jacobs, professor of law, was then appointed as the law college's interim dean, beginning in January 2020.
On October 26, 2018, MSU's board of directors voted to fully integrate the College of Law into the university, thereby converting it from a private to a public law school. Then-Dean Lawrence Ponoroff said, "Since the original affiliation in 1995, the relationship between the university and the law college has grown increasingly closer and, at each stage, resounded in benefits to both institutions." The full integration was undertaken in order to facilitate collaboration between the law school and other divisions of MSU, opening up development in core areas of curricular strength such as social justice; innovation and entrepreneurship; and business and regulatory law. The integration was finalized on August 17, 2020.
MSU Law also houses the Center for Law, Technology & Innovation (CLTI), formerly named the ReInvent Law Program, and LegalRnD; the Indigenous Law & Policy Center (ILPC); and the Geoffrey N. Fieger Trial Practice Institute (TPI).
Law journals at the law school are nationally ranked and include: