Alumni Spotlight

Just who is a typical CASL graduate?  The simple answer is that there is no such person.  CASL alumni have a diverse range of skills, talents, experiences, and goals.  By “spotlighting” someone every other month, we hope to introduce you to our diverse group of alums ... and maybe you'll see a familiar face.

Name:  Dennis Lienhardt

Degree, discipline, graduation year:  Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminal Justice, 2013

What are your current job responsibilities and/or volunteer activities?  I am an Associate Attorney at The Miller Law Firm, P.C. in Rochester, MI. My practice is split pretty evenly between representing businesses, including automotive suppliers, in commercial litigation matters and representing plaintiffs in regional and national class actions. Most of these class actions involve thousands of plaintiffs in securities fraud or consumer protection lawsuits. 

While I only recently received my license to practice law, I am starting to get involved with local bar associations who dedicate their time to making legal assistance more accessible, providing pro bono services, and raising money for local charities. Additionally, my fiancée Jessica (CASL ’12) and I adopted our wonderful dog, Arlo, from a local animal shelter and since then, we have become huge fans and supporters of these organizations.

Does your career/volunteer work relate to what you studied at UM-Dearborn or is your degree in a totally different field?  My political science and criminal justice degree was definitely helpful during law school. The critical thinking and writing skills that I gained at UM-Dearborn prepared me for law school and a career as an attorney. 

Looking back at the classes you took, pick out one of your favorites and tell why. It’s really hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed just about all of the political science and criminal justice classes I took. One that stands out is Great Powers with Professor Wayman. It focused on international relations and the motivations of different countries. Not only was it interesting, but the class consisted of quite a few friends and students who I greatly respected. The debates and conversations during that class were extremely informative. 

If there was a “favorite” professor(s), let us know and why.  Again, it’s hard to choose. I think I ended up taking most of the Political Science professors the University had to offer and was a big fan of them all. I definitely enjoyed Mitch Sollenberger’s teaching of the American Presidency. It was a great class and I remember appreciating how knowledgeable he was on the topic.

There were also two other professors that I enjoyed interacting with. First, Sheryl Edwards had a huge impact on my time at UM-Dearborn through her role as faculty advisor for the Political Science Association. It was great talking politics with her and she was always encouraging students to get involved on campus and in their communities. The second would be Dean Hershock. As a student, he was extremely easy to talk to and relate with. It was apparent that not only as Dean, but as an alum, he was passionate about the University.