Detroit Month Speaker Series: The Crisis of Indigent Defense – Tuesday at 11:45, HH 250

Did you know…

  • 80% of criminal defendants cannot afford a lawyer?
  • Michigan would save $132 million a year in prison costs if it eliminated the excessive penalties judges impose because of improper application of state sentencing guidelines.
  • Michigan spends only $7.35 per capita, is 38 % below the national average and less than all but six states (
  • The Crisis of Indigent Defense, a Detroit Month Event
  • 50 years after the Supreme Court declared that states must provide all people accused of crimes counsel if they cannot afford it in Gideon v. Wainwright, the promise of counsel for the accused remains unfulfilled. Come hear Frank Eaman, J.D. ’71, talk about what Gideon‘s unfulfilled promise means for Detroit and the state of Michigan. Learn what Detroit lawyers are doing to make a difference and how YOU can help to improve indigent public defense. Potbelly’s lunch will be served!

Where: HH 250

When: 11:45 AM -1:00 PM

Who: Frank Eaman is a Detroit-based criminal defense attorney in state and federal courts.  He has represented clients in many high-publicity criminal cases in state and federal court.  Since the 1980’s he has been a lead attorney in many court cases that sought public defense reform or fair pay for appointed counsel.  He has testified before the Michigan Legislature on public defense issues.  Mr. Eaman has been a frequent speaker on issues of criminal defense and public defense throughout Michigan and at national conferences. Mr. Eaman is representing indigent defendants suing to improve the indigent defense system in Duncan v. Michigan, a class-action case in the Michigan Supreme Court.

Sponsored by Criminal Law Society, PROS, ACLU, ACS, and Poverty Law Society


Perspectives on Detroit Opening Panel!

By Ben Pearlman
Wow…Perspectives on Detroit was powerful. Thanks to the packed audience for making it out! The diversity of opinion was phenomenal, ranging from Reynolds Farley’s detailed account of Detroit’s evolution, supported by enlightening population stats, Deborah Olsen’s unique take as a litigator involved in the Center for Community Based Enterprise’s initiatives for industrial cooperatives in some of the neglected communities of Detroit, to social activist Delphia Simmons’s experience with Thrive Detroit and Kiva Detroit in attempting to address the problems of the many Detroit residents facing marginal homelessness and poverty.  A valuable takeaway from all of this may be that Detroit is down but not defeated, and that aside from the apparent revitalization efforts of the downtown and midtown districts, there are some exceptional individuals and organizations working to ensure that Detroit’s redevelopment benefits all Detroiters in all regions of the city.   
For those who didn’t make it to Perspectives on Detroit, don’t fret! MLaw Detroit Month has only just begun.   Come join the dialogue about the intersection between Detroit’s revitalization, unique legal challenges it faces, and opportunities for you to become involved.  
Next week, we have two amazing events: 
The Crisis of Indigent Defense on Tuesday from 11:45-1pm, 250 Hutchins 
Debt, Consumer Issues, and the Foster Care System on Wednesday, 11:45-1pm, 250 Hutchins.
Hope to see you there!

The Schedule!

Happy Hour with Detroit Nation
Oct. 3, 6:30-7:30 PM. Dominick’s
With Detroit Nation’s Megan Pouncy (Program Manager, DRIVE, Detroit Nation)
Please RSVP
Sponsored by Detroit Nation

Come hear about Detroit Nation’s new innovative program – DRIVE – to connect Detroit “expats” with social ventures in Detroit and develop strategies to work together.

Opening Panel: Perspectives on Detroit
Oct. 4, 11:45-1:00. Hutchins 116
Speakers: Deborah Olsen (Executive Director, Center for Community Based Enterprise), Reynolds Farley (Research Professor Emeritus, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan), and Delphia Simmons (Founder, Thrive Detroit and Co-Chair, Kiva Detroit). Moderator: Dana Thompson (Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Entrepreneurship Clinic, University of Michigan Law School)
Sponsored the Michigan Access Program
Learn about Detroit’s history and past and current challenges and opportunities from leading professors and activists in the field. While learning, enjoy a Detroit staple – Slow’s BBQ.
The Crisis of Indigent Defense
Oct. 9, 11:45-1:00. Hutchins 250
Speaker: Frank Eaman (Frank Eaman PLLC)
Sponsored by the Criminal Law Society, the Prisoners Rights Organization of Students, UM-ACLU, UM-American Constitution Society, and the Poverty Law Society
Hear from a leader in indigent defense work in Detroit on current challenges and attempts at providing effective representation. Frank Eaman is an alum of the law school (’71), and he is one of the attorneys litigating Duncan v. Michigan, arguing that the state of Michigan has not provided adequate defense counsel to indigent defendants.
Food: Potbelly’s.
Debt, Consumer Issues, and the Foster Care System
Oct. 10, 11:45-1:00. Hutchins 250
Speaker: Khadijah Walker-Fobbs (Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative)
Sponsored by Poverty Law Society and Legal Advocates for Children and Youth
Learn about the challenges facing children as they move out of the foster care system, particularly around debt and other consumer finance issues.
Entrepreneurship in Detroit
Oct. 18, 11:45-1:00. South Hall 1025.
Speakers: Jake Cohen (Vice President, Detroit Venture Partners) and Aaron Bass (Associate, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP)
Sponsored by the Business Law Association, the Entrepreneurial Law Association, and the Journal of Private Equity and Venture Capital Law
Meet Michigan Law graduates on the front-lines of kick-starting entrepreneurship in Detroit while enjoying sandwiches from Potbelly’s.
Pro Bono in Detroit
Oct. 19, 11:50 – 12:50 PM in HH 220
Sponsored by the Pro Bono Board
Representatives from the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy and Community Legal Resources will be speaking about underserved legal communities in Detroit, the work their organizations do, and the role pro bono lawyers and law students play in making their work possible. Sponsored by the Pro Bono Board. Lunch will be served.
Educational Inequality, Race, and Detroit
Oct. 22, 11:45-1:00
Sponsored by the Black Law Students Alliance and the Education Law and Policy Society
Access to Bankruptcy Legal Assistance
Oct. 25, 11:45-1:00. Hutchins 218.

While many of us look at bankruptcy as an issue primarily for the wealthy, Judy Calton will showcase an innovative and award-winning organization, Access to Bankruptcy Court, aimed at providing access to bankruptcy attorneys for low income individuals. Enjoy Southern Fires restaurant while learning.

KEYNOTE: Bringing it Together
Oct. 26, 11:45-1:00. Hutchins 100.
Co-sponsored by the Michigan Health Law Organization
Hear from Mike Duggan as he ties the month of speakers together, shares his experience at the DMC, and his perspectives on challenges and the future of Detroit while enjoying City Wings.
Detroit Service Tour
Oct. 27, 10:00-2:00
Join JDs in the D as we visit pro bono partners, other organizations, and a variety of other places in Detroit, including a few outstanding restaurants. If you would like to attend, please RSVP in advance.
We’d also like to thank our partners, including Michigan Law student organizations, other University of Michigan student organizations, and organizations, companies, and firms from the Detroit area.*

Black Law Students Alliance, Business Law Association, Center for Community Based Enterprise, Criminal Law Society, Detroit Coalition, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Nation, Detroit Partnership, Detroit Venture Partners, Education Law and Policy Society, Environmental Law Society, Equality Michigan, Food Futures, Future Advocates for Breweries and Vineyards, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, LiveWorkDetroit – UM, Michigan Access Program, Michigan Culinary Society, Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Society, Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Michigan Journal of Private Equity and Venture Capital, Outlaws, Poverty Law Society, Pro Bono Board, Revitalization & Business, We Support Detroit Schools, Women Law Students Association.

*list in development.

Speaker Roll Out: Deborah Olson

Deborah Olson

Deborah Olson will participate in our opening “Perspectives on Detroit” Panel.

Our opening panel, “Perspectives on Detroit” is coming together, and we’re pleased to announce our first panelist: Deborah Olson, Executive Director, Center for Community Based Enterprise, Inc. (C2BE).

C2BE is a fantastic Detroit organization which supports and connects entrepreneurs, community and resources to grow “community-based enterprises” that are locally-rooted businesses paying living wages. C2BE also provides education and consulting on community based enterprise best practices. She is also very active in community economic development in the Detroit Metropolitan area and serves as a founding board member of Joint Cities Development Corp.

Outside of Detroit, Olson’s work is just as impressive. She is an attorney with over 30 years’ experience creating and advising employee-owned companies, equity compensation plans and cooperatives and representing companies, trusts, co-operatives, unions and employees. She is managing member of Ingenuity US, L3C, that develops labor patent strategies for keeping union jobs in the US and helped draft the Hawaii Sustainable Business Corporations Act of 2011. She is a board of directors’ member of Circle Pines Center (co-op education and recreation center since 1938); and a board member of the Once Again Nut Butter Collective in Nunda, NY.

Olson was founding Executive Director of the Capital Ownership Group (COG), a Ford Foundation funded virtual think tank, developing policy to broaden capital ownership globally. She was also a board member and past Chair of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), and she serves on the Board of Directors of the European Federation of Employed Shareholders (EFES).

Turning Talk Into Action

We’re very excited to partner with the MLaw Pro Bono Board to organize a Pro Bono Fair as part of MLaw Detroit Month! The Pro Bono Fair will be Thursday, Oct. 18, from 6-8 PM at Michigan Law. Students will have the chance to learn about the opportunities to work with projects in and around Detroit, as well as in other cities around Michigan. We’ll also have expert seminars to dive into starting and managing pro bono work. Plus, like all good MLaw events, food will be provided. If you have a pro bono project that you’d like to see at the fair, please be in touch with Megan Sanders and Jessica Morton.

If you haven’t yet done so, we encourage you to sign the Pro Bono Pledge to demonstrate your commitment to public service while at Michigan Law.

Speaker Roll Out

With a little over a month to go until @MLawDetroit Month, we’re excited to introduce one of our speakers. Co-sponsored by Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Outlaws, Emily Dievendorf, the Director of Policy of Equality Michigan will be speaking on equal justice issues and the LGBT community.

More speakers to be announced soon.

From her bio:

Emily Dievendorf
Director, Policy

Emily Dievendorf advocates for LGBT-friendly policies among legislators and other political leaders throughout the state. Prior to joining Equality Michigan, Ms. Dievendorf worked in the Michigan House of Representatives for Democratic state legislators Alexander C. Lipsey of Kalamazoo and Andy Coulouris of Saginaw. Ms. Dievendorf served as Chief of Staff to Representative Coulouris, the Chair of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services.

Ms. Dievendorf’s passion for civil rights causes began in elementary school, where she advocated for racial justice that led to both referrals and detentions. A natural advocate and policy wonk, Ms. Dievendorf sees social justice as a way of life rather than as work. Ms. Dievendorf has long been active in social justice causes including LGBT equality, race relations, women’s rights, and HIV/AIDS. Ms. Dievendorf currently serves on the Ingham County Women’s Commission. She is a graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University.

M Law Detroit Month Overview


Make the Michigan Law community a partner with Detroit-based organizations in the overall effort to revitalize Detroit, protect basic rights of individuals living in the area, and redevelop the Detroit area as a prosperous, sustainable urban center that provides economic, educational, social and creative opportunities for individuals and the community as a whole.


We hope that this first Detroit Month engages the Michigan Law community to understand the reality, opportunities, and challenges of the Detroit area. Michigan Law students are busy, so rather than create a new group that requires more time and new partnerships, we have coordinated with a range of Michigan Law student organizations and Detroit-based community organizations to present a comprehensive vision of Detroit and tangible opportunities for law student involvement.

This year’s broad focus will be on answering the question: How are members of the Detroit legal community making their city more just, sustainable and secure? We hope that this event inspires an annual series that connects efforts across the University of Michigan and Detroit community to help transform and create a more equitable city.


During October 2012, Detroit Month will engage and educate students through a Speaker Series, Dinner and a Movie Night, and a Pro Bono Fair emphasizing opportunities to engage with work in Detroit. Panelists will speak about broad issues impacting Detroit and required to be addressed in order to restore economic, cultural, educational and social vitality, and how lawyers and law students can support these efforts. We will work with student group partners to develop cohesive themes and sponsor panelists, with a particular emphasis on inviting speakers who are currently working on the ground in Detroit.  These student groups will help us organize a month-long Speaker Series, which will bring in speakers for lunch-time talks throughout the week. Student groups will invite speakers and panelists who will discuss how their work, and the work of the organizations they represent, is helping make Detroit more just, sustainable and secure.  In particular, the Speaker Series will focus on legal issues facing Detroit, as well as opportunities for resolving these challenges. The Dinner and a Movie Night will feature a Detroit-focused movie, food from a Detroit restaurant, and community efforts around the theme of the movie. The Pro Bono Fair will be sponsored and organized by the Pro Bono Board, and will feature pro bono projects organized by the school and student groups. Detroit-focused projects will be emphasized, and Detroit-based community organizations will be invited to attend. We may also invite an opening speaker to talk about the importance of Pro Bono work in the Detroit revitalization process.

At the end of October, we will hold a keynote address to tie together the previous month of activities and challenge the Michigan Law community to take continuing action.  We will conclude with a tour of Detroit, featuring those organizations that have participated in the Month and more directly connecting Michigan Law students with the community.


The Detroit Month Planning Team, led by Jamen Tyler and Perry Teicher, will coordinate both the month and the day-and-a-half symposium. They will be directly responsible for (a) overall thematic connection; (b) coordination: of panels; between groups; and with the university; (c) fundraising; (d) budgeting; (e) marketing; and (f) evaluation coordination. We plan to have a website to post videos, photos, and notes about the month, along with additional information for those interested in Detroit.

Student groups will co-sponsor the overall event and be responsible for (a) finding and confirming speakers; (b) sending a proposed budget to the Planning Team; (c) marketing to their membership and networks; (d) managing their speakers; (e) pro bono fair participation; and (f) participation in post-event evaluation.

Pro Bono Committee will coordinate with student groups, the university and the Student Government to plan and implement the Pro Bono Fair. It will support Detroit Month by encouraging student groups to develop Detroit-focused projects and by highlighting Detroit-based or Detroit-focused projects and activities at the Fair.


Poverty Law Society, Pro Bono Board, Food Futures, Business Law Society, Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Society, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Environmental Law SocietyBlack Law Students Alliance, Michigan Action Program, Outlaws, Detroit Nation

Funding provided by Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, SOFC of CSG, University of Michigan Law Student Affairs, and the UM Law School Student Senate.