Learning to think like a lawyer is a powerful experience – that’s why the law has always served as a gateway to impressive careers. We’re focused on providing graduates with the fundamental skills that will prepare them to lead, no matter where the legal profession takes them.

With the launch of the MICHIGAN LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE (MLI), MSU Law embarks on an ambitious new plan: to educate the state’s next generation of leaders. By seeking out an elite group of students who have already demonstrated strong leadership skills and a commitment to our state, we’re investing in Michigan’s future.

The Initiative will provide a select group of incoming students with unique opportunities to engage with Michigan’s leaders. Structured programming includes guaranteed summer placements, one-on-one faculty mentorships, close-knit cohort development, and special access to high-profile alumni.


A pre-Immersion Week retreat for students with their cohort and faculty

A monthly speaker series that connects students with leaders from many settings

Monthly student-led group meetings Specialized career counseling

Guaranteed placements for summer internships or externships


From the rigors of the classroom setting to demanding co-curricular activities, a legal education develops essential leadership skills. MICHIGAN LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE students will develop the core traits that will prepare them to excel.

  • Fostering diversity
  • Integrating technology
  • Excelling in communication and networking
  • Managing crises
  • Building high-functioning teams
  • Giving back to the community
  • Mentoring colleagues
  • Investing in personal growth


The Office of Admissions will offer admission to the MLI to select incoming 1Ls who have strong academic credentials, a personal history of community service, and a demonstrated commitment to the state of Michigan. There’s no need to submit a separate application for Initiative consideration, though applicants are advised to mention their interest in the personal statement.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1891, Michigan State University College of Law has prepared students for powerful careers in government, business, and the judiciary. Graduates have included circuit court judges, Michigan representatives, state Supreme Court justices, mayors, and leaders in a wide range of industries.

In creating the Michigan Leadership Initiative, our aim is to assist a selective group of new students in further developing their already-demonstrated leadership skills by giving them exposure to leaders and key policymakers from around the state, including managing partners, judges, corporate CEOs, NGO executive directors, etc. In short, we hope to make abundantly clear to these students the many ways in which they can use their legal education to make a difference in society.” —Dean Lawrence Ponoroff