Detroit Mercy Law student eyes career in estates, trusts

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Inspired by her uncle, an attorney in San Antonio, Holly Hubert set her sights on a law career as early as kindergarten.

“I always looked to my uncle as a role model so he inspired me from a very young age to be active in our justice system,” she says.   

After studying at Alma College, Hubert went on to earn dual undergrad degrees in criminal justice and psychology at Wayne State University.

“I was always interested in how people become who they are so I became enamored with psychology, especially in child development where we see the impacts of nature versus nurture more clearly,” she says.     

“I was also interested in learning more about our justice system because it had a strong sense of right and wrong. After taking that as a major, I found there to be a lot of gray areas in the criminal justice system and I was able to more fully explore some of the ways in which I feel the system is also very broken.”

After graduation, she worked in the insurance industry for a few years, and continued to work as a claims examiner in Southfield when she first attended Detroit Mercy Law.

“I loved handling claims, each one was like a puzzle for me to solve. Regardless of whether it was workers compensation or auto injury, each case was trying to figure out what happened, why, and who was responsible. You learn how to spot suspicious stories and reconstruct entire events,” she says. “I also really liked that I got to talk to people on a bad day and try to make it better for them. No one is having a good day when they are involved in a car accident, but I got to tell them they’d be ok and that we’d help make them whole again.” 

A legal secretary at Bodman in Detroit for close to two years, Hubert enjoys the flexibility of attending Detroit Mercy Law while holding down a full time job as she works towards graduating in 2019.

“I can still pay the bills and I also get real-world experience and networking opportunities outside of my school education,” she says.

“Bodman is an amazing place to work. I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with some of the top attorneys in their fields as well as all the excellent and dedicated support staff who allow the attorneys to excel at what they do. Everyone I’ve worked for has been respectful and engaging. They’ve also been extremely supportive of my education and have always been encouraging. I feel comfortable talking to the attorneys and asking them for advice. The attorneys have given me a wonderful start in my legal career and they really help me feel confident in my decision to become a lawyer.”

After exploring different areas in her law school courses, including insurance, litigation, immigration, criminal defense, and real estate, Hubert is leaning toward estates and trusts as her niche.

“I’m currently enrolled in ‘Estates and Trusts’ and I work for several attorneys who all do estate planning,” she says. “Because of my unique opportunity of working and going to school, I’m able to see the academic world and the practical application of a specific area of law.

“I know for some people getting a law degree is just a stepping stone to go other places but I love seeing people progress from a nervous first year associate to a confident partner in law firms. I also love being able to apply my knowledge to help others through what can often be an intimidating and confusing legal system. I really want to work for a larger firm and spend my free time offering pro bono services to those who need assistance in areas like veterans’ benefits or immigration.”

Vice president of the school’s Phi Alpha Delta Chapter, she enjoys helping to organize and participate in local community public service through PAD.

“I’ve gotten to do things like spend time volunteering to help people expunge part or all of their records so they can have a real shot at starting a new life,” she says. “PAD has given me an opportunity to help others live better lives and provide a better future to people in Detroit.”

As secretary of the Student Bar Association for her evening class, Hubert helped organize a CycleBar indoor cycling charity event to benefit Freedom House Detroit, a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada.

A native of Waterford, where her parents still reside, Hubert current makes her home in Oak Park. She and her husband of two years, sweethearts since undergrad at Alma College, enjoy scuba diving, and spent much of their honeymoon scuba diving in the Caribbean.

Music is another a passion. A violinist since fourth grade, Hubert received a music scholarship to Alma College where she played in the orchestra, and after undergrad played in the Orchard Lake Philharmonic.

“I love the way instruments can come together in a symphony, everyone playing a different part but fitting together in incredible ways,” she says. “With law school and work it’s difficult to find the time to play with a group but I still like to play at home when I get the chance.”

Hubert admires the resilience of the Motor City.

“Everyone here seems to be able to find common ground in their determination to help this city not just survive but thrive,” she says. “We were hit hard in the recession but it’s been incredible to see how it’s been rebounding.

“Detroit is an epicenter of innovation, technology, and ideas. I think a lot of the rest of the country seems to write Detroit off, but this community and the people in it are consummate fighters and I think Detroit is flourishing in ways a lot of people don’t even realize.”