Introducing the Michigan Leadership Initiative

Spartan Lawyer

Winter 2017

Since its founding in 1891, Michigan State University College of Law has prepared students for careers as leaders 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.

With the upcoming launch of the Michigan Leadership Initiative, MSU will embark on an ambitious new plan to educate the state’s next generation of leaders. The Initiative will provide an elite group of incoming students with unique opportunities to engage with Michigan’s leaders. Structured programming includes guaranteed summer placements, close-knit cohort development, and special access to high-profile alumni.

We know that learning to think like a lawyer is a powerful experience – that’s why so many legally trained individuals end up in leadership positions, not only in the legal profession, but in business and government as well,

said Dean Lawrence Ponoroff.

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.”


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, no matter where the legal profession takes them.

  • 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


  • A pre-Immersion Week retreat 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


The Michigan Leadership Initiative will offer admission to incoming 1Ls who have strong academic credentials, a background in community service, and a demonstrated commitment to the state of Michigan.