Tip-top: Cooley grad honored with Leadership Award

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

 Erika Morgan always dreamed of becoming an attorney—and is finally seeing those dreams reach fruition, recently graduating cum laude from WMU-Cooley Law School and completing her final term with a solid 4.0 GPA.

She achieved this while working full time as a regulation agent for the State of Michigan, Office of Inspector General for six years and attending evening classes at Cooley. “I loved investigating welfare fraud, and making sure the laws and regulations were adhered to by recipients that received assistance from the State of Michigan,” she says. She recently resigned from OIG in order to focus her energy on passing the 2018 Michigan Bar.

 “I believe being a lawyer is a calling and God places everyone on this earth, and equips them with an ability to do what He wants them to do,” says Morgan, a member of the Christian Legal Society. “I believe being a lawyer is my calling to help those that cannot help themselves in the area of law—and I also want to be a voice for the voiceless. It was God that got me through, along with my hard work. Without God, I could not have completed law school.”

Morgan rates Cooley as a law school that is second to none. “From the deans to the professors and administrative staff, they all want to help students succeed,” she says.

And succeed she did—earning a Leadership Achievement Award at the Honors Convocation. “I was shocked when they called my name to get the award,” she says. “I knew that I was a leader, but what makes you a leader even more is when others look at you as the leader. This was a humbling and wonderful experience.”

The experience of Moot Court provided the challenge of thinking on her feet in legal matters.  “I was pushed to know what I was talking about and support my findings with the law, and not my own emotions about a matter,” she says.

As secretary of the Black Law Students Association, she enjoyed the interactions with students. “This taught me to be social, even though I was already so busy, I was able to build lasting relationships with the student body,” she says.

As a Cooley Student Ambassador, her face was the first many visitors saw. “I enjoyed being hospitable and touring new students around,” she says. “I knew helping people adapt to law school is a process and can be hard, but I loved every moment of it.”

Her hard work and diligence for one semester as an associate editor for the Homeland and National Security Law Review, quickly led to her becoming a senior associate editor, where she enjoying editing the footnotes of different articles and getting to know how scholarly and legal articles are edited from beginning to end before being published.

Morgan now is exploring several career fields including criminal law, bankruptcy, family law, sports and entertainment contract law. She may try and do solo practice, and is keeping her options open to possibly working for the federal government. 

Morgan started her career path by earning her undergrad and master’s degrees in criminal justice and intelligence analysis from the University of Detroit Mercy, with a view to a possible career as a special agent with the AFT or the FBI. During the program, she interned with Special Agent Frederick Sharp in Detroit, and attended surveillance meetings and career development fairs.

While working for the Department of Corrections and 36th District Court, she learned how to write many pre-sentence reports for the judges; and learned how to effectively analyze a threat or risks of threats in a job with Securitas/ in the General Motors Crisis Command Center.

The Detroit native, who moved to Southfield in the 7th grade and graduated from Southfield High School, now makes her home in West Bloomfield

Passionate about dancing, she especially enjoys teaching youth praise dance; and served as cheer director for the West Bloomfield Lions Youth Athletics Organization from 2013 to 2015.

Morgan has her own large team to cheer on her career efforts: married for 13 years to Semaj Morgan, she has five children and step-children ranging in age from 12 to 26, and a 2-year-old granddaughter.


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