Detroit Mercy Law student trains his focus on economy's 'unsung heroes'


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A first-generation Chaldean-American, Simon Alnajjar strives to be a leader in his local Chaldean community.

“I have so many opportunities my parents didn’t have growing up,” he says. “One opportunity was getting an education. I always encourage the younger generation to go to school and find what they’re passionate about and pursue whatever that may be.”

His own passions led him to earn an associate’s degree in general studies from Macomb Community College followed by an undergrad degree in integrative studies from Oakland University. Now as a 1L at Detroit Mercy Law School, Alnajjar says he is particularly appreciative of the academic advising team at Oakland University.

“When I met with my counselor Lindsay, she sat me down and explained to me what I needed to do to achieve my goal of attending law school. She laid out the framework for success, which was a huge factor in choosing integrative studies,” he says.

His interest in philosophy and logic reasoning drew Alnajjar to study law.

“My first two college courses were philosophy classes and I fell in love with the critical thinking and Socratic method we used,” he says. “Those two courses really pushed me to study law because I could take those critical thinking skills, use the Socratic method, and apply them to the real world.”

Alnajjare says he is enjoying his experience at Detroit Mercy Law.

“I’m not just a number here — my professors take the time to get to know students’ names and encourage us to visit them during office hours, even if it’s just for a quick hello,” he says.

While he plans to focus on business law, he also is open to all areas of practice at this point. 

“My career goal is to represent and protect small businesses,” he says. “I believe small businesses are the ‘unsung heroes’ of this economy.”

He brings a background in business to this legal niche, having spent three years as a callback case specialist with Volkswagen Group of America and a year as a customer service associate at AutoPro Shelby.

“I’m extremely grateful for my time at Volkswagen Group of America. I learned a lot about the corporate structure and the flow of business and even made some lifelong friends; and my appreciation for small businesses comes from my work experience at Auto Pro,” he says.

Being a Dean’s Fellow in law school is very meaningful for him.

“While the rewards are life-changing, I’d say the responsibility is what really means the most. Representing Detroit Mercy Law as a Dean’s Fellow requires I be a positive force in the community and a role model to others,” he says. “This responsibility alone is what gets me up every morning.

“Detroit Mercy Law believed in me and my capabilities and it’s my responsibility to the school to represent them with the utmost respect. I’m honored to have this responsibility and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Alnajjar grew up in Sterling Heights until the age of 12 before the family moved to Macomb Township.

“I still consider both of those cities home,” he says.

He currently lives in Shelby Township with his parents, older brother, and French bulldog, Diesel—who unfortunately always wants to play during remote classes, Alnajjar says with a smile.

Alnajjar gives much credit to his family for his success, not just as a student, but as a person.

“My parents and brother have definitely been my backbone, especially during law school. They’ve allowed me to focus on school and I’m extremely grateful for everything they’ve done and continue to do.”

Alnajjar is a huge sports fan and during the summer months enjoys being outdoors as much as possible. A fan of the Motor City, he main thing he enjoys about Detroit is the city’s spirit. 

“The great (former Lions wide receiver) Nate Burleson said it best—’Detroiters are a hard hat, lunch pail, go-to-work type of people. He’s absolutely right, we’re a humble city with an unmatched work ethic,” Alnajjar says. “The city is inspiring—Detroit is this country’s unsung hero.”

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