The United States has more than 200 law schools that provide undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs in law. The University of Michigan Law School is among the most prestigious institutions and attracts many people who want to be part of this tradition. It is advisable that you do proper research, make comparisons, and ponder on other possibilities before settling for a particular law school. Knowing even the little-known facts about the institution you are considering can help you make a more informed decision. This article highlights 20 things you may not know about Michigan Law School.
1. Produced the first woman with a law degree
Michigan Law School was the first major institution to admit a woman. Sarah Killgore, who graduated in 1871, is recognized as the first female law graduate in America to be admitted to the bar. By 1890, the law school had conferred the highest number of LLBs to women than any other institution. Michigan’s commitment to diversity and access continues up to date.
2. Second university to offer LLB to African Americans
Unlike other law schools established in the 19th century, admission to Michigan Law School was not restricted to the privileged. When Gabriel Franklin Hargo graduated in 1870, it became the second university in the USA to confer an LLB degree on an African American. By then, Michigan was the largest university, offering legal studies in the USA.
3. 18th oldest law school
Established in 1859 by the Board of Regents, the University of Michigan Law School is the 18th oldest law school in the US. It was founded as the Law Department of the University of Michigan and began with three part-time faculty and 90 students. Michigan was the first law school in the state and one of nine at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. It is currently a renowned legal research and study center in the USA.
4. 10th best law school in America
According to the US. News, Michigan Law School ranks in the tenth position in the list of best law schools in 2022. It is one of the prestigious public law institutions both nationally and globally. Michigan has also appeared top of the list of numerous rankings by different organizations for decades. The University of Michigan Law School is one of only three law institutions in the country that offer an accelerated three-year JD program for top students. It is also one of the few law schools in the world offering a full curriculum on environmental law.
5. Long international reputation
Michigan Law School has a long and proud reputation for welcoming international law students. The first Japanese scholars graduated in 1878. The school opened its doors to all individuals literate in English during Cooley’s deanship. These included more than 80 subjects of the Japanese Emperor, sent to Ann Arbor to create external influence for the empire.
6. Number 9 in the national bar passage rate
Bar passage rates indicate the percentage of scholars who pass their bar exam on the first attempt. Statistical data from Internet Legal Research Group ranks Michigan Law School in the ninth position in the national bar passage rate ranking. First-time takers in 2020 achieved 96.6% outperforming the state’s 75.7% overall bar passage rate by +20.9 percent.
7. Had its first building in 1863
Michigan’s law department was established in 1859 and graduated its first students in 1860. This school had its first building (the Law Building) in 1863. It contained the university library until 1883 and the university chapel until 1873. The Law Building was designed by architects Anderson and Jordan and later renamed Haven Hall.
8. Attorney Clarence Darrow was a graduate of this school
Clarence Seward Darrow, a famous lawyer and courageous human rights defender in the 19th century, graduated from Michigan Law School in 1877. He is probably the best trial lawyer in American history, recognized for his involvement in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial and the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. Darrow was a persuasive speaker with an exemplary professional career in the 1920s, where he earned up to a quarter-million dollars in each case.
9. Had the first full-time professor in 1888
Born in Holland Patent, New York, in 1853, Henry Wade Rogers obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters of Art from the University of Michigan between 1874 and 1877. He was also pursuing law courses at the law school at the same period and was admitted to the bar the following year. Rodgers practiced law in New Jersey and Minnesota for a short period before he was appointed the first full-time professor at the University of Michigan Law School. Henry W. Rodgers served as the Law School’s Dean from 1885 to 1890 and is credited with forming the largest law institution in America by then.
10. One of the largest library volumes
A law school’s school library is a key consideration when evaluating the status of an institution. University of Michigan Law School has a well-established library with 1,052,608 volumes. According to Thomas Brena’s Law School Ranking, Michigan ranks number 14 in the list of top 20 law schools based on the library index.
11. Students practice law in real scenarios
Students from this law school can appear in court as early as the second year. First-year clinics are also available, allowing scholars to practice before an ALJ (administrative law judge). Michigan’s clinics allow students to represent actual cases.
12. Low acceptance rate
The national acceptance rate for American law schools is about 45%. Getting accepted into the University of Michigan Law School is a challenge. According to Internet Legal Research Group, the institution’s acceptance rate sits at 19.9% as of 2020. It enrolls only about 1,200 students.
13. Study-abroad programs and Externships
Michigan Law School requires all students to take a Transnational Law course, a unique requirement in American law schools. The school has several study-abroad programs and motivates students to initiate others. Ann Arbor might be a small city, but Michigan Law school provides students with plenty of opportunities to travel far and wide through externships. Law degree students get an opportunity to participate in placement programs in Geneva, India, and South Africa. The University of Michigan Law School offers a Master of Advanced Corporate Law program to lawyers who want to specialize in corporate and securities law in the US. Students can earn a Master’s degree within twelve weeks. Comprehensive course sets in comparative, international, and foreign legislation of different law faculties worldwide are also available.
14. Most-cited law review
The Michigan Law Review is a legal scholarship journal published since 1902. With eight annual publications, it is one of the best and most-cited journals in the country. Michigan also offers several legal journals and has a student newspaper dubbed Res Gestae, publishing student news and commentary. Student-edited journals include articles by legal practitioners, legal scholars, and social scientists, notes by student-editors and students, symposium pieces, book reviews, and other types of scholarship. The coverage for most journals begins with 2010 and is continuously updated as it is published in print.
15. Huge and reliable alumni base
Michigan Law School has offered world-class legal education for over 150 years in a stunning physical setting. According to their website, over 22,000 alumni are leaders in different sectors, including law, public service, and business in countries across the globe. The school has produced three supreme judges and dozens of famous alumni like Ann Coulter, Clarence Darrow, Senator Richard Gephardt, William Rufus Day, William W. Cook, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and others. Michigan Law has a national reputation among employers in the US. The school provides an outstanding springboard for BigLaw careers and remains a preferred choice for students pursuing public interest work.
16. Honors and Awards
The University of Michigan Law School offers numerous award programs to its students. They include but are not limited to: the National Association of Women Lawyers Ward, Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship Award, Irving J. Stenn, Jr Award, Daniel H. Garde Prize, Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award, and Class of 1908 Memorial Scholarship. Students with outstanding performance in different courses offered in the law school are awarded certificates of merit. Michigan Law School also offers a merit scholarship to individuals who complete the City Year program without receiving a merit scholarship. City Year National Service Scholars are awarded $10,000 every year for the three years of school.
17. Student Funded Fellowships
It is a program designed to fund Michigan Law School students who accept specified summer jobs with low pay and finance their living costs. The Student-Funded Fellowships program operates independently and is governed by a board of students in this institution. It comprises a treasurer, two co-chairs, and several committee chairs elected by this board. Members hold fundraising efforts throughout the year. DADP (Donate a Day’s Pay) is a popular activity where highly-paid summer associates donate a day’s earnings to the fellowship. A grand auction is also held in March, inviting bids of different donated items like meals, sports tickets, art, and activities with faculty members. The SSF Board members review summer funding applications in the late spring and select a few students who qualify for grants.
18. Competitive learning environment
Michigan Law School has different policies set to curb the regulate the inherent competition resulting from a classwide curve. The institution does not publish class ranks until graduation, and GPAs are not open to the public. However, scholarships are not annulled if a specified GPA is not attained. In addition, student selection for participation in Michigan Law Review is not strictly based on grades. According to TLS Wiki, Michigan has a rigorous academic environment that encourages students to be more studious and focused on attaining top grades. It provides a lecture-oriented classroom environment where viewpoints are valued. Michigan Law School also ensures a balance between faculty research and student learning. Staff in this law school are committed and have a close relationship with their students.
19. High graduate employment rate
It is imperative that you identify law schools with high employment rates before investing in a law degree. Institutions where most students graduate with lasting jobs are an ideal option. The University of Michigan’s Law School had the highest graduate employment rate in the country in 2020. The median salary for graduates working as law firm associates in private practice stands at $180,000. Michigan Law School ranks number 10 in employment rate at graduation (88.6%) and number seven in employment rate at ten months with 92.8%. On average, the salary for 2011’s graduates employed in the public sector was; $57,408 in the 25 percentile, $61,245 in the 50 percentile, and $62,467 in the 75 percentile, respectively.
20. High tuition
Although Michigan Law School is a public law institution, it is as expensive as top private law schools. This is probably because the school does not receive any operating budget from the parent university. Michigan Law School ranks number 12 in institutions with the highest tuition for full-time law students. Out-of-state students pay about $62,762, while in-state scholars pay $59,762. According to ILRG, this is ranked from 283 tuition rates from 194 law schools in the country. The average board and room expenses in Michigan are $15,250 per year. Michigan Law School is one of the most prestigious law schools in America. With a program that includes world-renowned faculty, a business-oriented curriculum, and strong connections to the legal community, Michigan Law School is uniquely positioned to provide students with the best opportunities to succeed. The school boasts of over 22,000 living alumni network who include some of the most successful lawyers in the world. Its alums at the graduate and undergraduate levels are known for their loyalty. The institution has one of the largest law libraries in the country, with over one-half million volumes, and is known for its strong clinical program and externship programs that allow students to work in actual law firms and court systems. Pursuing the challenging yet gratifying legal profession requires that you know all the factors that might affect your decision. The twenty things highlighted above will give you more insights into the University of Michigan Law School.