UDM Law to run law clinics out of historic firehouse

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law took another step in the expansion of its law clinic program on Wednesday, Feb. 1, by finalizing the purchase of an historic firehouse adjacent to the school's downtown Detroit campus.

"The entire School of Law community is thrilled that we will finally have an excellent facility to house one of the oldest and best clinical programs in the country," said UDM Law Dean Lloyd A. Semple. "We are grateful to Anthony Asher, the children of Walter Buhl Ford III, the McGregor Fund, and others for providing the resources to undertake this wonderful project."

When completed, the new facility will add more than 6,000 square feet to the school's 10 legal aid clinics in downtown Detroit. The clinics, which include Urban Clinic, Immigration, Mortgage Foreclosure, Veterans, Criminal Trial, Criminal Appellate and Youth Justice, served 1450 clients in 2011.

Target date for opening the renovated building is December 2012. That event will be celebrated in conjunction with the school's 100th anniversary and the 47th anniversary of its first Urban Law Clinic.

UMD alumnus attorney Anthony A. Asher made the principal gift allowing the purchase and renovation. He offered the gift in the name of his brother, George J. Asher, who became head of the household at age 16 when both parents died. After having to quit high school to support the family, George was eventually just months from graduating from University of Detroit Law School when he died of complications from hemophilia.

In recognition of the gift, the clinical program in the new building will be called the George J. Asher Law Clinic Center.

The heirs of Walter Buhl Ford III are also providing support for the purchase and renovation and the building will be named for him.

The firehouse was home to the department's Engine 2 for many years and was built in the early 1900s.

Published: Fri, Feb 3, 2012

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