The University of Michigan Law School

The University of Michigan Law School
Admissions Office, 701 South State Street, Suite 2200, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091, USA
Phone: 734.764.0537
Email: law.jd.admissions@umich.edu | Website: www.law.umich.edu

Does your law school have a nondiscrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to:

Senior Director for Institutional Equity and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432

Phone: 734.763.0235
TTY: 734.647.1388

For other University of Michigan information, call 734.764.1817.

Does your law school have a nondiscrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity?

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to:

Senior Director for Institutional Equity and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432

Phone: 734.763.0235
TTY: 734.647.1388

For other University of Michigan information, call 734.764.1817.

Does your law school provide gender-neutral restrooms?

Yes

Does your law school have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender student organization?

OUTLaws’ objectives:

  • to add the voices of LGBTQ law students to the dialogue of the law school and university communities;
  • to embrace and learn from our straight allies;
  • to increase the visibility and involvement of our LGBTQ students of color;
  • to provide a forum for LGBTQ students to meet and form a community;
  • to reach out to other organizations not traditionally allied with OUTLaws;
  • to extend support for law students who have kept their LGBTQ identity private;
  • to keep our members informed of events and LGBTQ rights issues outside of the law school; and
  • to change the world, one openly queer lawyer at a time.

For more information, contact:

University of Michigan Law School
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Board Email: outlawsexec@umich.edu

General Body Email: mlawoutlaws@umich.edu

Does your law school have any openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender faculty members?

Maureen Carroll
Assistant Professor of Law
Email: msclaw@umich.edu

Bruce W. Frier
Henry King Ransom Professor of Law
Email: bwfrier@umich.edu

James C. Hathaway
James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law
Email: jch@umich.edu

Frank E. Vandervort
Clinical Professor of Law
Email: vort@umich.edu

Does your law school have any openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender administrators?

Jay Baer
Director of Employer Outreach
Email: jaybaer@umich.edu

Bayrex Martí
Assistant Dean for Student Life

Email: bayrex@umich.edu

Does your law school offer any academic courses primarily focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender legal issues?

Michigan Law established one of the first LGBT law courses in the country and has historically integrated LGBT issues into many different curricular offerings. Recent offerings include:

  • The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law seminar examines sexual orientation and gender identity in the US legal system. We will explore the ways in which different views of sexual orientation and gender identity have influenced the constitutional and statutory rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Topics will include anti-sodomy laws; associational rights (relating to both associations among LGBT persons and those who seek to exclude such persons from public and private spaces and activities); anti-gay ballot initiatives; military service; efforts to expand and limit family and parental rights, including second-parent adoption and marriage rights; equality rights in educational contexts; equal employment opportunity; and religious freedom restoration acts. Throughout, we’ll consider the interactions among lawyers and legal advocacy, LGBT movements, legislative politics, and doctrinal development in state and federal courts, as well as in administrative agencies such as the EEOC and the federal Department of Education.
  • Equal Protection: Race, Rights, Remedies examines the law and theory of equal protection under the US Constitution. It considers equal protection both as a rubric in which race has been the central paradigm and as a framework for addressing a broader set of social issues. Topics include changing conceptions of racial discrimination and racial neutrality, the problems of social-role discrimination in the contexts of sex and sexual orientation, the fundamental-rights branch of equal protection doctrine, and the institutional considerations that shape the ways in which courts, legislatures, and other governmental bodies deal with questions of equality. Attention will be given to the University of Michigan’s own experience with the constitutional law of affirmative action, from the Grutter and Gratz cases through Schuette v. Cantrell.
  • Family Law provides an overview of contemporary family law, including the status and conditions of practicing contemporary family law. The course will cover constitutional principles that circumscribe the state’s power over private relations, marriage (including same-sex marriage), economic rights and obligations, non-marital families, parenthood (including adoption), surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies, divorce, division of property on divorce, child support, child custody and visitation, child protection and foster care, juvenile justice, dispute resolution methods, and private agreements in family law (prenuptial and separation) and family law jurisdiction. The course will communicate the rapid trajectory of doctrinal and cultural change in modern family law and provide a foundation for understanding and participating in the ongoing evolution of the field.
  • In Sex Equality, theory and practice are engaged in inquiry into the relationship between sex inequality in society and sex equality under the law. The context provided draws on social science, history, and international and comparative law. The dominant approach to legal equality is examined on its own terms and through an alternative. Concrete issues—employment discrimination, family, rape, sexual harassment, lesbian and gay rights, abortion, prostitution, and pornography—focus discussion through cases. Racism, class, and transsexuality are considered throughout. The course investigates, criticizes, and expands the law toward civil equality between the sexes.

Does your law school offer the same benefits to faculty, staff, or student same-sex spouses as they do opposite-sex spouses?

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that all states must license same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The historic decision overturns Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and allows the university to offer benefits equally to married same- and opposite-sex spouses.

This ruling may have implications for your University of Michigan benefits

The university has offered, and will continue to offer, benefits coverage for Other Qualified Adults (OQAs) and their children. However, the benefit provided to the OQAs is taxable to the employee. With this ruling, legally married same-sex couples receive the same federal and state pre-tax benefits as opposite-sex married couples. This applies to medical, dental, and vision benefits, when your covered spouse and/or your spouse’s children are enrolled in these benefits.

What you need to do if you and your same-sex spouse are legally married

If you are legally married, university records must be updated to change the relationship on your employee record from “OQA” or “OQA child” to “spouse” or “step-child” so that the university can correctly address the tax implications of your benefits. This is not a change that you can make online using Self Service Benefits.

Fax or mail a Dependent Information Form, which can be obtained by calling the SSC Contact Center at 734.615.2000 or 866.647.7657 toll free for off-campus calling within the United States.

Submit your completed form:

By fax: 734.763.0363

By mail: Make a copy for your records and send by Campus Mail or US mail.

Mail to:
SSC Benefits Transactions
3003 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1276

Michigan income tax and retroactive recognition of same-sex married couples

On July 16, 2015, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury issued the notice “Michigan Income Tax Treatment of Employee Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses.” This notice states that if an employee is married to a same-sex spouse at any time during 2015, an employer should not withhold Michigan income tax from the employee’s pay to cover the value of the benefits for the spouse. For married same-sex couples who are legally married and provide documentation to the university as noted above, the university will provide refunds for any additional Michigan taxation that was taken from the employee’s pay retroactive to January 1, 2015.

The notice also states that for tax years before 2015, an employee who was married to a same-sex spouse may seek a refund by filing an amended Michigan income tax return to deduct the value of any same-sex spousal benefits that had been included in Michigan taxable income for that tax year. The amended return must be filed within four years of the date the original return was due. The taxpayer must claim either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separate” status. For more information on filing amended returns, please consult a qualified tax preparer. The Benefits Office and the university Shared Services Center cannot provide tax advice.

If you do not already cover a spouse in your U-M benefits plans, you may enroll one Other Qualified Adult (OQA) for benefit coverage if all of the following eligibility criteria are met:

  • You are eligible for U-M benefits; and
  • The OQA, at the time of your requested enrollment, shares a primary residence with you and has done so for the previous 6 continuous months, other than as your employee or tenant.

The following individuals are not eligible for participation in the OQA program if they are your or your spouse's:

  • Parents
  • Parents’ other descendants (siblings, nieces, nephews)
  • Grandparents and their descendants (aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Renters, boarders, tenants, employees
  • Children* or their descendants (children, grandchildren)

*Your children or your OQA's children may be eligible for coverage as dependent children, but not as other qualified adults. Eligible children of an OQA may be enrolled. Eligibility for an OQA’s child(ren) is defined by the eligibility criteria for dependent children.

You have 30 days from the date six months of shared residency have been established to add your OQA to your benefits coverage. If you do not enroll your OQA within the 30-day deadline, you must wait until Open Enrollment to make changes to your enrollments.

Does your law school offer any form of domestic-partner benefits to faculty, staff, or students?

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that all states must license same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The historic decision overturns Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and allows the university to offer benefits equally to married same- and opposite-sex spouses.

This ruling may have implications for your University of Michigan benefits

The university has offered, and will continue to offer, benefits coverage for Other Qualified Adults (OQAs) and their children. However, the benefit provided to the OQAs is taxable to the employee. With this ruling, legally married same-sex couples receive the same federal and state pre-tax benefits as opposite-sex married couples. This applies to medical, dental, and vision benefits, when your covered spouse and/or your spouse’s children are enrolled in these benefits.

What you need to do if you and your same-sex spouse are legally married

If you are legally married, university records must be updated to change the relationship on your employee record from “OQA” or “OQA child” to “spouse” or “step-child” so that the university can correctly address the tax implications of your benefits. This is not a change that you can make online using Self Service Benefits.

Fax or mail a Dependent Information Form, which can be obtained by calling the SSC Contact Center at 734.615.2000 or 866.647.7657 toll free for off-campus calling within the United States.

Submit your completed form:

By fax: 734.763.0363

By mail: Make a copy for your records and send by Campus Mail or US mail.

Mail to:
SSC Benefits Transactions
3003 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1276

Michigan income tax and retroactive recognition of same-sex married couples

On July 16, 2015, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury issued the notice “Michigan Income Tax Treatment of Employee Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses.” This notice states that if an employee is married to a same-sex spouse at any time during 2015, an employer should not withhold Michigan income tax from the employee’s pay to cover the value of the benefits for the spouse. For married same-sex couples who are legally married and provide documentation to the university as noted above, the university will provide refunds for any additional Michigan taxation that was taken from the employee’s pay retroactive to January 1, 2015.

The notice also states that for tax years before 2015, an employee who was married to a same-sex spouse may seek a refund by filing an amended Michigan income tax return to deduct the value of any same-sex spousal benefits that had been included in Michigan taxable income for that tax year. The amended return must be filed within four years of the date the original return was due. The taxpayer must claim either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separate” status. For more information on filing amended returns, please consult a qualified tax preparer. The Benefits Office and the university Shared Services Center cannot provide tax advice.

If you do not already cover a spouse in your U-M benefits plans, you may enroll one Other Qualified Adult (OQA) for benefit coverage if all of the following eligibility criteria are met:

  • You are eligible for U-M benefits; and
  • The OQA, at the time of your requested enrollment, shares a primary residence with you and has done so for the previous 6 continuous months, other than as your employee or tenant.

The following individuals are not eligible for participation in the OQA program if they are your or your spouse's:

  • Parents
  • Parents’ other descendants (siblings, nieces, nephews)
  • Grandparents and their descendants (aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Renters, boarders, tenants, employees
  • Children* or their descendants (children, grandchildren)

*Your children or your OQA's children may be eligible for coverage as dependent children, but not as other qualified adults. Eligible children of an OQA may be enrolled. Eligibility for an OQA’s child(ren) is defined by the eligibility criteria for dependent children.

You have 30 days from the date six months of shared residency have been established to add your OQA to your benefits coverage. If you do not enroll your OQA within the 30-day deadline, you must wait until Open Enrollment to make changes to your enrollments.

Additional Information

We welcome having students identify as LGBTQ in their application materials. We provide checkbox questions for both sexual orientation and gender identity. We also welcome a fuller discussion through a personal statement or optional essay. If you so identify and we admit you, during the recruiting process we will put you in touch with current students who are active in OUTLaws—one of our most lively and engaged student groups. 

Michigan Law is a very open and welcoming environment for LGBTQ students. For example, we were the first law school to graduate an out-transgender person. Both the university as a whole, which has roughly a dozen active LGBT student groups, and the city of Ann Arbor are open and welcoming as well. 

In addition to an active student presence, the Michigan Law community includes a number of LGBTQ faculty, administrators, and staff. We hope you'll consider Michigan for your law school education.