Dana Alicia Thompson is a clinical professor of law and is the founding director of the University of Michigan Law School’s Entrepreneurship Clinic where she represents University of Michigan student-led startup ventures.
Prior to the Entrepreneurship Clinic, she taught in the Law School’s Urban Communities Clinic, where she represented small businesses, startup ventures and community-based organizations, primarily based in Detroit.
Before joining Michigan Law, Professor Thompson taught at Wayne State University Law School and founded and directed Wayne Law’s Small Business Enterprises and Nonprofit Corporations Clinic. At Wayne Law, she was also the director of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History. She represents clients in corporate, nonprofit and startup company matters.
Professor Thompson writes on entrepreneurship, small business, nonprofit and social entrepreneurship issues in academic journals and for media outlets and has commented in numerous media interviews about such issues.
Prior to entering academia, Professor Thompson practiced at Morrison and Foerster, LLP in San Francisco, then at Miller, Starr and Regalia, where she specialized in commercial real estate and corporate law. She then joined the Nature Conservancy as regional counsel where she represented the organization on land conservation transactions.
In November 2014, Professor Thompson was elected statewide by the citizens of Michigan to serve on the Wayne State University Board of Governors. The Board of Governors elects the president of the University, has general supervision of the University, and controls all expenditures from University funds, among other duties.
Professor Thompson also serves on the board of directors of TechTown, a Detroit based business accelerator. She is the immediate past chair of the Community Economic Development Committee of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and is a past co-chair of the Legal Educator’s Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. She also is the immediate past co-chair of the Association of American Law School’s Clinical Law Section’s Awards Committee. In addition, she previously served on the board of Michigan Community Resources and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s emerging Small Business Leaders and Entrepreneurial Council.
A globally conscious academic, Professor Thompson, during her law school years studied in South Africa researching sexual assault laws as South Africa was preparing to come of age democratically and after the creation of its first democratic Constitution. She did her research at the University of the Western Cape examining ways to improve South Africa’s sexual assault legislation.
Professor Thompson received her AB in Political Science and French from Bryn Mawr College and her JD from the University of Michigan Law School where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.