Law school salutes adjuncts at retirement reception


University of Detroit Mercy School of Law adjunct professors Richard Krisciunas and Michael Morgan, who for years have taught the Criminal Trial Clinic at the law school, were honored at a special retirement reception June 9. Pictured are (left to right) Dina Zalewski, an attorney with the Thurswell Law Firm in Southfield and a Detroit Mercy Law grad; Michael Morgan; Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis Crocker; Richard Krisciunas; and Hannah Treppa, an attorney with Butzel Long and a Detroit Mercy Law alum.   (Photo by John Meiu)

Friends, family, and colleagues gathered at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law on Friday, June 9, to celebrate the retirement of Adjunct Professors Richard T. Krisciunas and Michael V. Morgan. Krisciunas and Morgan have been co-teaching the school’s Criminal Trial Clinic since 2008.

Through the Clinic, both professors have given hundreds of students the opportunity to go on the record in the courtroom. Two such former students—Hannah E. Treppa (‘16) and Dina M. Zalewski (‘12)—paid tribute to their mentors at the reception. Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker and Alumni Association President Edward G. Lennon (‘88) also gave remarks.

Krisciunas received his undergraduate (‘72) and law (‘75) degrees from University of Detroit Mercy. Early in his career, he joined the Prosecutor’s Repeat Offenders Bureau (PROB) and handled several high visibility trials. He was subsequently assigned to Squad 7, the Detroit Police Department’s felony murder section. He also served as the chief of the Trial Division under Prosecutor Mike Duggan.

Krisciunas was previously the director of externships at Detroit Mercy Law from 2004-2016, and was honored with the school’s Time and Talent Award in 2015. He is happily married to Kathy, who was a law librarian while he was a student. Although he is retiring from the Clinic, he will continue to teach Trial Practice, a course he has taught since 1982.

During his remarks at the retirement celebration, Krisciunas said his former students still call him to share their early experiences in court.

“When you win a trial and you call me, I get goosebumps,” he said. “I appreciate that, and I challenge you to continue to make a difference.”

Morgan also received his undergraduate (‘69) and law (‘72) degrees from University of Detroit Mercy. He formerly practiced in the area of traffic offenses and is a former chair of the License Appeal Board of the Michigan Department of State. He co-authored the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s first two books on drunk driving, “Drunk Driving Cases: A Manual for Michigan Lawyers” and “Defense of Drunk Driving Cases in Michigan.” He edited several editions of ICLE’s “Michigan Drunk Driving Law and Practice,” and was a contributor to the first five editions of ICLE’s “Michigan Basic Practice Handbook.” He lectured at the first American Bar Association Seminar on Drunk Driving in 1983.

Morgan was honored in 2004 with the State Bar of Michigan’s Champion of Justice Award and in 2009 with Detroit Mercy Law’s Time and Talent Award. Of his students, Morgan observed, “After a few weeks (in court), a light bulb goes off, and they say to themselves, ‘I can do this.’ That’s the exact moment that guys like me and Rich Krisciunas live for.”

Detroit Mercy Law has established the Richard T. Krisciunas and Michael V. Morgan Scholarship Fund to commemorate the collective impact of these two outstanding educators.

Contributions may be made online or sent via check to the School of Law.