Plaza 'Sweet': MSU Law dedicates College of Law Plaza


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

More than 100 people gathered at Michigan College of Law on October 22 for the dedication of the law school’s new entrance, the Detroit College of Law Plaza that honors thousands of alumni who graduated from DCL in downtown Detroit, before the historic law school affiliated with MSU in 1995.

The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony carried out by Dean Joan Howarth; MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon; Linda Orlans, ’87, chair, MSU College of Law Board of Trustees; Bryan Melvin from the MSU Law Alumni Association, senior counsel at e-Title Commercial in Detroit; and two of the plaza “founders,” the Hon. Peter Lucido and Professor Emeritus Clark Johnson, who helped spearhead the project.

A reception followed in the John F. Schaefer Law Library, where Howarth, Simon, Lucido, and Orlans each offered remarks.

A fund-raising campaign raised more than $1.3 million, of which more than $800,000 is earmarked for DCL Legacy Scholarships.

The plaza features a granite seal noting DCL’s founding in 1891 by a group of law clerks and students, who previously had to “read law” in local attorneys’ offices. During the first two years of DCL’s history, the directors were themselves students.

According the MSU Law website, the first class of 69 graduates included a future circuit court judge and a future ambassador. A woman in the first class and an African American in the second exemplified the Law College’s commitment to offering all sectors of the population an opportunity for a quality legal education.

Before the affiliation with MSU Law in East Lansing, DCL was housed at the former Detroit College of Medicine building on St. Antoine Street; the Detroit YMCA building; and on Elizabeth Street.

The last location of the DCL is commemorated by a plaque at Comerica Park, which now occupies the site.