Deborah Paruch

Deborah Paruch

Professor of Law

Paruch, Deborah
Contact Info:
Campus: Riverfront Campus
Building: Dowling Hall
Room: 233
Phone: 313-596-0204
Paruch, Deborah
Areas of Expertise:
Children and the Law
Family Law
Juvenile Justice
Legal Writing


  • J.D. University of Detroit '92
  • M.B.A. University of Detroit '77
  • B.A. University of Detroit '74


Deborah Paurch’s scholarship focuses on family law, children and the law, evidence and legal writing. Prior to law school, Professor Paruch practiced as a C.P.A. in Michigan for Ernst and Young, and as the manager of the tax department for a small C.P.A. firm in Texas.  She also spent 5 years on the faculty of the School of Business Administration at Oakland University in Rochester Michigan where she taught financial accounting and tax in the undergraduate and M.B.A. programs. 

Following graduation from law school, Professor Paruch practiced at the Dykema Gossett Law Firm and was the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Detroit. She held a prestigious Community Builder Fellowship position with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Professor Paruch joined the Detroit Mercy Law faculty in 2000. Professor Paruch is a member of the Michigan Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Legal Writing Institute. She currently serves on the Children’s Law Council and the Legislative Committee of the Children's Law Section of the Michigan Bar Association. 

Professor Paruch is a past Chairperson of the Board of Directors of South Oakland Shelter, a Michigan non-profit organization devoted to serving homeless individuals and families.  She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Spero Housing Group (a subsidiary of South Oakland Shelter) which has recently been awarded a $13.5 million dollar tax credit grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to develop Coolidge Place, a 64-unit affordable housing project in the City of Oak Park, Michigan. 

 Professor Paurch enjoys golfing, cooking, and hanging out with her one-year-old golden reteriver Harrison. 


    Courses Taught


    Juvenile Appellate Clinic 

    Children and the Law 

    Applied Legal Theory and Analysis 


    Selected Publications

    Attorney Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine in Michigan, co-authored, forthcoming, Institute of Continuing Legal Education  

    The Solitary Confinement of Juveniles:  It Is Cruel and Unusual Punishment
    , forthcoming Idaho Law Review, Spring 2021 

    Banishing Juvenile Solitary Confinement: A Call to Reform Michigan’s Practices,  98 Michigan Bar Journal , number 11 at 40, November 2019 

    Testimonial Statements, Reliability, and the Sole or Decisive Evidence Rule: A Comparative Look at the Right of Confrontation in the United States, Canada, and Europe, 67 Catholic Univ. L. Rev. 105 (2018). 

    Non-offending Parents, Children and the Fourteenth Amendment in Child Protection Proceedings:  A Critique of In re Sanders – One Court’s Arbitrary Destruction of the One Parent Doctrine, 84 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 97 (2015). 

    Silencing the Victims in Child Sexual Abuse Prosecutions: The Confrontation Clause and Children's Hearsay Statements Before and After Michigan v. Bryant, 28 Touro L. Rev. 85 (2012). 

     From Trusted Confidant to Witness for the Prosecution:  The Case Against the Recognition of a Dangerous-Patient Exception to the Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege, 9 U.N.H. L. Rev. 327 (2011).  

    The Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege in the Family Court:  An Exemplar of Disharmony Between Social Policy Goals, Professional Ethics, and the Current State of the Law,  29 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 499 (2009). 

    The Orphaning of Underprivileged Children:  America’s Failed Child Welfare Law & Policy, 8 J. L. & Fam. Stud. 119  (2006). 

    Willian Ladd & Deborah Paruch, Amicus Curiae Brief, In re Sanders, 852 N.W.2d 394 (Mich. 2014) filed on behalf of the Univ. of Detroit Mercy School of Law Juvenile Appellate Clinic  


    Selected Presentations

    A Comparative Look at the Right to Confrontation at the International Conference on Evidence Law and Forensic Science held at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg Germany on August 1, 2019. 

    “Pointing Empowered Student Leaders toward a Justice Horizon,” Tim Hipskind, S.J., Deborah Paruch, and Mary-Catherine Harrison, Commitment to Justice In Jesuit Higher Education Conference, Seattle University, August 2017 

    The Emerging Conflict Between Non-Offending Parents, Their Children and the State in American Child Protection Proceedings, 16th World Conference of the International Society of Family Law, Vrije University, Amsterdam Netherlands, July 2017. 

    Testimonial Statements, Reliability, and the Sole or Decisive Evidence Rule: A Comparative Look at the Right of Confrontation in the United States, Canada, and Europe. University of Windsor School of Law, October 2016. 

    Panel, Experiential Learning and Simulation Courses, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference, Amelia Island, Florida, August 2016 

    A Comparative Perspective of Children’s Hearsay Statements in Criminal Trials, Barry University School of Law, April 2016 

    A Comparative Perspective on the Right to Confrontation in Child Abuse Cases in the United States, Canada and England, Global Legal Skills Conference, John Marshall Law School and Northwestern Law School, May 2015. 

     Non-offending Parents, Children and the Fourteenth Amendment in Child Protection Proceedings, presented at the Central States Law School Assoc. 2014 Scholarship Conference, LSU Law Center October 2014. 

     Panel, Bringing Outside In:  Social Justice Collaborations in the Legal Writing Curriculum, Legal Writing Institute Bi-Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, June 2014. 

    Putting the Child Back into Child Protection Proceedings, Southwest Regional Clinical Workshop, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, April 2014. 

    Faculty Workshop, Substantive Due Process Rights of Non-offending Parents in Child Protection Proceedings, University of Toledo School of Law, April 2014. 

    Panel, Experiential Learning:  Simulation Courses in Child, Juvenile and Family Law, Charleston Law School, December 2013 

    Presenter:  A Comparative View of the Treatment Accorded Children’s Hearsay Statements in Sexual Abuse Cases in the United States and Canada, 2013 Law & Education in the Americas Conference, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, June 2013. 

    Presenter: Writing Across the Law School Curriculum:  Continued Lessons from the Trenches, Savannah Law School, April 2013.  

    Presenter:  Preparing Practice Ready Grads: UD Mercy School of Law’s  “Law Firm Program,” New York Law School, December 2012. 

    Presenter: Common Pitfalls and Hot Button Topics in Evidence, National Association of Counsel for Children 35th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law ConferenceChicago, IL August 15, 2012 (with Jennifer Pilette and William Ladd). 

    Presenter:  “Be Careful What You Wish For”:  The Challenges Confronting Legal Writing Directors and Professors on Tenure Track,” 2012 Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, Arizona State University, March 2012 (with Cristina Lockwood). 

    Presenter:  Compelled Disclosure of Patient Confidences in Court Ordered Treatment Plans, National Association of Counsel for Children 34th National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference, San Diego, Calif., August 30, 2011. 

    Presenter, Writing Across the Law School Curriculum: Lessons from the Trenches, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Arizona, March 20, 2010. 

    Presenter, The Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege in the Family Courts,  Northern Illinois University Law School’s 18thAnnual Law Review Symposium:  Confronting the Challenges of Persons Who are Mentally Ill:  Best Practices & Remaining Issues in the Law, April 17, 2009. 

    Presenter, The Orphaning of Underprivileged Children:  America’s Failed Child Welfare Law & Policy, at Protecting Children’s Need for Nurturance:  Proven Strategies and New Ideas sponsored by the Oregon Child Advocacy Project, University of Oregon School of Law, March 24-25, 2006. 

    Presenter, Child Protection Proceedings in Michigan, University Health Education Committee Symposium on Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Detroit Mercy, January, 2003.