Law student blazing academic trail for family


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
When Najah Allaham was a teen-ager, her father was diagnosed with cancer and was subject to mistreatment and malpractice.

“We wanted to seek legal advice but we found ourselves too busy to focus on anything other than trying to get my father better treatment,” she says. “I think that was a pivotal moment for me. I realized I want to be an advocate for others. My father’s illness gave me the push I needed to pursue a career in law.”

Now a 2L student in the evening program at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Allaham jokes that as a child she was afraid to attend parent teacher conferences where teachers would tell her parents that she loved to argue and was destined to be a lawyer.

“I guess that sort of planted the seed,” she says. “As I got older, I took some political science and criminal justice classes and got to learn more about the law and how it affects our everyday lives.”

After earning her undergrad degree in political science and philosophy, summa cum laude from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Allaham is thrilled to attend law school in the Motor City.
“Detroit Mercy’s location was perfectly situated for me as it’s not too far from home and is surrounded by so much beauty,” she says. “The faculty has made the law school experience less stressful, they genuinely care about their students and want to see them do well.”

In addition to her legal studies, Allaham works as a legal assistant at Dagher Khraizat Immigration Law Group in Dearborn, where she assists with filling out forms for various immigration related matters, writing briefs, and keeping clients updated on there case status.

“What I enjoy most is the lasting effect you can have on another’s life, which is the reason I wanted to pursue a career as a lawyer,” she says. “Working there I’ve gotten to see the difference one can make, whether it be assisting someone in bringing their parent, child, or spouse. The feeling that overcomes me when I finally get to see these individuals walking through our office doors is what drives me to keep doing what I do.”

With two years’ experience at the law firm under her belt, Allaham decided to take the Immigration Law Clinic at Detroit Mercy Law as a place where she felt she would have the most impact.
“I wanted to be able to use the skills I’ve acquired at Dagher Khraizat to help those in need,” she says. “I don't know if I’ll be practicing immigration law after I graduate so I wanted to get the most out of the knowledge and experienced I’ve acquired thus far in that practice area.”

While she is unsure about her eventual area of practice after her 2020 graduation, Allaham enjoys the field of contracts and property, and plans on getting a summer internship at a law firm that specializes in one of these areas.

“I’m hoping to gain experience in a number of practice areas in the next two years so I can have a idea of what I want to practice after graduation,” she says. 

Born and raised in Detroit, and now living in Dearborn Heights, Allaham is passionate about her hometown.

“What I love most about Detroit, aside from its beautiful architecture and historic background, is its resilience and ability to bounce back,” she says. “This city has seen dark times and through it all it has still managed to persevere, regardless of the curveballs life has thrown at it. This is something I find myself relating to quite often.

“I think one of the greatest things about Detroit is its diversity. It’s the one thing we all have in common, the one thing that unites us. Acceptance of different races, religions, and cultures is essential to strengthen and unite the community.”

In her leisure time, Allaham enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time outdoors.

“I take study breaks often to walk around downtown Detroit to admire the city and try out different restaurants,” she says. 

According to Allaham, she has entered “uncharted waters” for her family.

“We’ve never had a member of the family graduate from college, let alone attend law school,” she says. “I believe it’s important to encourage others to break generational chains and encourage them to take on new challenges that will benefit their future.”

Her parents immigrated to America during a time of civil strife in Lebanon, hoping to create a better future.

“Due to the poverty and war conditions, neither one was able to complete their education, although they truly wished they could,” Allaham says. “My parents and their families decided to move to Detroit due to the booming automotive industry. They believed that it would provide ample opportunities for a better life. My father worked as a baker, circus vendor, and gas station cashier in Detroit before marrying my mother. My parents struggled raising my siblings and me, mostly because they were uneducated and unable to speak English well. They wanted to provide us
with opportunities they never had.

“Obtaining an exceptional education, in my eyes, was the least I could do to repay my parents for all they had sacrificed.”