University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Founded in 1912 and located in downtown Detroit, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law has been ABA-accredited since 1933. Some of UDM's most distinguished alumni include over 125 Michigan judges, an Ohio Supreme Court justice, a former Michigan attorney general, three former mayors of Detroit and over half of Michigan's prosecuting attorneys.
Admissions & tuition
In 2009, students matriculating to the full-time program had a median LSAT of 150 and a median GPA of 3.15. Part-time students had a median LSAT of 147 and a median GPA of 3.17. The law school admitted about 45 percent of its 1,707 full-time applicants and about 40 percent of its 219 part-time applicants. Of the 859 students admitted, 282 enrolled.
Tuition costs $32,090 for full-time enrollment in the day program. Part-time students can enroll in the Extended Day / Regular Evening program (24 credits at ~$25,700) or in the Extended Evening program (17 credits at ~$18,000). UDM usually provides about 25 percent of its full-time students and 18 percent of its part-time students with some form of grant aid. In 2009, the median amount of grant aid provided by UDM was $5,500 per full-time recipient and $3,011 per part-time recipient. UDM law students graduate with an average $107,139 of law school-related debt. The law school does not offer a loan repayment assistance program.
The law school has an average lecture size of 58 students for 1Ls. The law school has 66 faculty members and a student-to-faculty ratio of 14.1 to 1. First-year students all take the same requisite courses, including civil procedure, contracts, property, torts and legal theory. Students say the first-year course load is immense and that the grading curve is harsh. Approximately 26 percent of UDM students do not return for a second year.
Current students are happy with the academic program at UDM, praising the full-time and adjunct professors alike. Students also can pursue a dual degree with the University of Detroit Mercy Business School or earn a Canadian law degree through the University of Windsor School of Law in Ontario.
Quality of life
Most students who attend UDM are permanent residents of Detroit. Accordingly, the law school does not see a need to offer housing for its students. Regardless, housing in Detroit is prevalent and inexpensive, especially given the recent economic downturn. Some houses can be purchased for as low as $10,000. The UDM campus, in the heart of Detroit, is safe during the day but can get dangerous at night. Most UDM students say that if you use common sense, you will stay safe.
Detroit is economically blighted and doesn't offer a high quality of life. While there are bars and restaurants around the law school, they mostly lack the bells and whistles of nightspots in New York City or San Francisco. The Student Bar Association hosts several academic and social events that are well-received and attended throughout the year. For those looking to do some international travel, Canada is minutes away by train and car.
Employment prospects & bar passage
In 2008, 78 percent of UDM students were known to be employed within nine months of graduation. Of those, 58 percent were working in Michigan. The median private-sector salary is $50,500, and $48,500 for those working in the public sector. Students say UDM's low ranking hurts employment prospects, but that students in the top 10 percent had no problem finding desirable jobs in Michigan. They say other students were able to find lower-tier jobs in a reasonable amount of time.
Recently, 71.4 percent of UDM graduates passed the Michigan bar exam, 10.7 percentage points lower than the state average. This is one cause for concern for students, but Detroit Mercy graduates have fared better on the bar in previous years.
UDM is situated in a troubled hub of the Midwest, in a state that has uncertain job prospects. Its regional value is strong, but students should be wary about taking on $107,000 in interest-bearing debt for a potential median salary of $50,500. Many people have hope that Michigan will bounce back, and students who attend UDM may end up being a part of the region's recovery. Despite any economic fluctuations, the school's reputation is as good as any other Tier 4's, and can be a satisfactory choice for those who want to live and work in the Detroit area.
University of Detroit Mercy Law School
651 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
U.S. News & World Report ranking: Tier 4
LSAT Median: 150 (FT), 147 (PT)
GPA Median: 3.15 (FT), 3.17 (PT)
Application Deadline: April 15
Application fee: $50
Entering class size: 243 (FT), 39 (PT)
Yearly Tuition: $32,090 (FT), $25,688 (PT)
Bar passage rate in Michigan: 71.4%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 78%
Median private sector salary: $50,500 (Class of 2008, 34% reporting)