First-hand: Immigration experience sparked her faith in the 'American justice system'

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

When Asma Al-Khshali and her family moved from Qatar to the United States 7 years ago, their application for permanent residency was initially declined. The family hired an immigration attorney — Al-Khshali’s first exposure to the legal system in the U.S.   

“I was very intrigued by it,” she says. “The immigration judge who ultimately granted our stay in the country changed my family’s life, and my faith in the American justice system was cemented right there and then. I wanted to contribute to the system’s legacy ever since.”   

She earned her undergraduate degree in English, with high distinction from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, with a minor in Arabic and Sociology. During her time as an undergraduate student, she worked as a lead research student, as well as a file clerk at Bodman PLC. She headed to Wayne Law School a year ago, following her older brother — an attorney — into the legal world.

“The pool of students at Wayne Law is incomparable — we all come from many different and diverse backgrounds, yet somehow we have so much in common,” she says. “I also love that it is right downtown with the best legal connections in Michigan.”

As vice president of the law school’s Entrepreneurship and Business Law Society, Al-Khshali oversees meetings and events, and recruits 1L students to carry on the legacy of the organization.

“Connecting current students with business lawyers in the area is at the core of our organization’s mission because that’s what the legal profession is all about — networking,” she says.

She also is an associate editor of Wayne Law’s Law Review; a member of Wayne Law’s moot court; a member of Wayne Law’s transactional law competition; a member of the Wolverine Bar Association; and a clinical program assistant.

Al-Khshali spent half of this past summer clerking for Judge Laurie J. Michelson at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where she conducted legal research and drafted memoranda, decisions, and orders on a variety of legal issues, including petitions for habeas corpus, motions for reconsideration, motions for summary judgment, and motions to dismiss.

During the other half of the summer, she interned at Barris, Sott, Denn and Driker in Detroit, researching and drafting memoranda on issues relating to litigation, business counseling, real estate, estate planning, and tax. Both work experiences were through the Wolverine Bar Association.

Of Iraqi descent, Al-Khshali was raised in Doha, Qatar. Her family settled in West Bloomfield, where she still makes her home. Her leisure pursuits include reading, yoga, cooking, painting, blogging, and collecting jewelry; and she is particularly passionate about fashion, style, and art.

As she settles into her 2L year, Al-Khshali does not yet have a specific title or role selected for her 5/10-year plan.

“What’s important to me is continuing to learn new things, get better at what I know and progress in my legal career at a reasonable pace. Working with sophisticated professionals is also crucial – I feel I’m at my best when working with other high quality people,” she says.

“The opportunities I was presented with during my summer at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and at Barris, Sott, Denn and Driker were tremendous to me because of the complex nature of the assignments and diverse tasks for which I was responsible, both of which enabled me to broaden my skill set. My goal is to work for a place with a reputation and culture that precedes its name.”

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