Wayne Law, GVSU criminal justice student aims for civil rights career

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Wayne Law student Jessica Soblesky earned her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University

PHOTO COURTESY OF WAYNE LAWE

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Seeking a career that would challenge her and allow her to help those less privileged, Jessica Soblesky majored in criminal justice, with a minor in legal studies, at Grand Valley State University.

In an internship at the Attorney General’s Office, she enjoyed learning about civil rights issues and the various Michigan statutes in place to safeguard protected classes from discrimination.

“As an undergraduate, I was primarily responsible for researching and drafting constituent response letters on a variety of civil rights issues for the division chief’s signature,” she says.

Her work as a paralegal intern at the Disability Advocates of Kent County in Grand Rapids opened her eyes to the various challenges people with disabilities face on a daily basis.

“Some of these challenges included tasks many people took for granted, such as entering a building that’s only accessible by a stairway,” she says. “After my internship I knew I wanted to help people and felt a law degree would allow me to better protect individuals from discrimination.”

She also enjoyed legal research at her work, and writing memorandums of law on civil rights issues.

“Finding an answer to a difficult question, after many hours of research on a difficult legal issue, was very rewarding,” she says.

Now a student at Wayne Law School, Soblesky has high praise for the faculty. 

“The professors take the time to make sure students understand the law and are always around to give advice and guidance,” she says.  

In her 1L year, Soblesky saw her former supervisor from the AGO, Ron Robinson, at Wayne’s Public Interest Internship Fair, who offered her a law clerk position in the AGO’s Civil Rights Division.

“I’m drafting appellate briefs and memorandums of law on various civil rights issues, and I’ve also attended circuit court hearings, and civil rights commission meetings,” she says.

A member of Keith Students for Civil Rights, she serves on the diversity committee and is involved in a project aimed at increasing diversity at the school.

“We’re in the process of conducting preliminary research, collecting data on diversity levels at Wayne Law and comparing them to other Michigan law schools,” she explains.

She also is involved in a group of students that is reviving the ACLU Student Chapter. 

“One of the areas we plan to focus on during the fall semester is the education of students on voting registration,” she says.

Soblesky, who has been selected as an article editor for The Journal of Law and Society this upcoming year, aims for a career in the field of civil rights.

“Specifically, I enjoy labor and employment law as well as disability law,” she says.

She enjoys the location of the law school in the heart of Motor City.

“I like the revitalization the city is currently experiencing – there’s always something new and exciting going on,” she says. “I love exploring with my friends, stumbling upon new places to eat or hang out. I also like that I can walk around the city during the day or at night and feel safe.”

In her leisure time, Soblesky enjoys visiting and exploring new places in Michigan with friends and family, playing sports, including playing on an intramural basketball team at Wayne.

The lifelong Canton resident hails from a large Arabic family, and has two older sisters, a younger brother, and 18 first cousins.

“My family means the world to me and they are very supportive of my dreams,” she says.

 

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