Detroit Mercy Law launches Arts & Entertainment Law Clinic

October 14, 2022

University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Law recently established the Arts & Entertainment Law Clinic in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship. The Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in Michigan.

The Arts & Entertainment Law Clinic expands the Detroit Mercy School of Law clinical program. The clinic aligns with the institution’s Jesuit and Mercy traditions through a focus on service learning, providing access to justice and efforts to educate the complete lawyer.

The new clinic enhances the culture richness of Detroit by providing pro bono legal services to artists such as musicians, independent filmmakers, and photographers, among others. Combined with existing patent and trademark clinical programs, the Arts & Entertainment Clinic provides students access to a comprehensive intellectual property law practice experience.

“This clinic will fill a gap that artists need. Michigan lost its only pro bono arts and entertainment law organization in 2019,” explained Melissa Eckhause, assistant professor of Law and director of the clinic.

Eckhause, who will help direct the work of the clinic, said that it will empower artists by educating them about their legal rights and advocating on their behalf.

“I look forward to being a part of this historic and important clinic,” said Matt Bower, a partner with Varnum LLP and a member of the firm’s corporate and intellectual property practice groups, who will co-direct the clinic as an adjunct instructor.

Specific client projects may include filing copyright registrations, preparing clearance reports and fair use analyses, drafting and commenting on music agreements, location agreements, and advising on defamation matters.

This clinic also enhances the School of Law’s commitment to educating the complete lawyer. In addition to the copyright work through the Arts and Entertainment Law Clinic, Detroit Mercy Law offers a transnational patent clinic and trademark clinic, both of which are certified by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).