Get to Know Oday Salim


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Oday Salim is the senior attorney at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit. He came to this job after working as a senior attorney at Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services in Pittsburgh; and was previously a staff attorney at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Environmental Law Clinic and an adjunct professor at the school.

Salim received his J.D. from Wayne Law where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as a Lombard fellow and a Freeman fellow. As a member of the Jessup International Law Moot court team at Wayne Law, he won awards for best oralist and best memorial in the regional competition. He was a research assistant for professors Dubinsky and Hall, and interned with Justice Marilyn Kelly. After earning his J.D., he continued with an LL.M. degree, cum laude, in environmental and natural resources law from Lewis & Clark Law School, where he works as an adjunct professor each summer.

Salim has broad experience in environmental law. His expertise includes toxic tort litigation, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, coastal zoning issues and issues related to water usage and pollution in the Great Lakes. He has also worked on international trans-boundary water allocation and pollution issues, particularly in North America.

Salim also holds a master of arts in English, which he received magna cum laude from the University of Illinois, His bachelor of arts is from Wayne State University, where he was a double major in English and Spanish and received a highly competitive President’s Scholarship.

Residence: Birmingham

What would surprise people about your job? How often, instead of reading about the law, I’m reading about science and technology.

Why did you become a lawyer? I love to figure out what’s broken and to fix it.

What’s your favorite law-related TV show, movie, and/or book? For TV, “The Wire”; for books, anything by Martha Nussbaum; for movies, “Anatomy of a Murder.”

What do you do to relax?
Relaxing is boring; I avoid it like the plague.

What other career path might you have chosen?  Historian.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Read until it hurts.

Favorite local hangouts? Ferndale’s coffee shops and used bookstores.

Favorite music? Jazz; anything by Radiohead; the second movement of Beethoven’s Emperor piano concerto.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Watching my mom cook while listening to Diana Ross.

What are your most treasured material possessions? My books.

What do you wish someone would invent? An ever-lasting gobstopper.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? The Columbia River gorge.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? To bend Microsoft Excel to my will

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? A. Philip Randolph; Federico García Lorca; Susan B. Anthony.

Favorite place to spend money? Bookstores.

What is your motto?
Measure twice, cut once.

Which living person do you most admire? Peter Singer