Wayne Law student serves as co-president of OUTlaws

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Co-president of the Wayne OUTlaws, Wayne Law 2L student Danny King is an avid skier and is pictured on the slopes with his father, attorney Daniel Patrick King.

Photo courtesy of Daniel King

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A 2L student at Wayne Law, Danny King hopes to become a third-generation attorney. His grandfather Norman J. Levasseur graduated from University of Detroit Mercy Law School, and both parents graduated from Detroit College of Law.

“As long as I can graduate, we’ll have the trifecta of Detroit law schools in one family,” says King, who also has two uncles who are attorneys in the area.

When King was a child, his mother Denice LeVasseur put him and his sister to work around the office to stop them from throwing marshmallows out of the windows in the David Stott building.

“As we got older, my sister went off on her own path, but I kept hovering around and my mother kept increasing my duties,” he says. 

King earned his undergrad degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa.

“When I graduated in ‘08, everyone going to law school seemed to be doing it out of fear of the job market and not because of a genuine interest in practicing law,” he says. “I didn’t want to go into law if my heart wasn’t in it and felt I had a very creative drive, so I went to New York with the hope of working in publishing.”

His time in the Big Apple was a great experience.

“When you’re younger and completely broke, there’s still so much to do because it’s New York,” he says.

After working as a paralegal for a few years, he landed a job in publishing, working in the Flatiron building with a great view of Madison Square Park.

“However, I quickly realized life isn’t a sitcom and publishing wasn’t really the career I thought it would be,” he says.

He started looking for another job that he thought would fill his desire to be creative. 

“It finally dawned on me that the crafting and shaping of a case in terms of advocacy was more creative than anything I could really do in publishing or other ‘creative’ fields,” he says. “I took a little bit of time coming to my decision to go to law school, but I believe it was the best decision I could have made. I’m doing better in law school then I ever did at any other stage of education because it was my choice.”

He enjoys the student community at Wayne Law.

“It felt strange returning to school after being out for seven years, but Wayne’s student body had a wide range of ages and experiences so I  didn’t feel out of place,” he says. “It’s great to interact with everyone, and even with the competitive nature of law school, everyone has been very supportive and encouraging.”

King restarted the Wayne OUTlaws and serves as co-president, to create a network for LGBT students to find practicing attorneys who can help them understand and conquer challenges that they will face. 

“In New York, I had a wonderful mentor named Kerryann Cook at McGivney & Kluger who routinely went out of her way to aid me and other LGBT individuals in bettering ourselves both personally and professionally,” he says. “I knew that once I got into law school, I wanted to use her as a model of how to act, both as an attorney and as a person.

“We hope to bring in attorneys and judges from various fields to talk both about the issues facing LGBT individuals in the workplace, as well as how to serve LGBT individuals at large. We’re also hoping to create and strengthen bonds between students now so that they can help each other later on in their careers.”

Wanting to increase his public speaking skills, King joined Mock Trial to help with both the nerves of public speaking and to have some hands on experience with Evidence.

“It’s so much easier to understand the purpose and procedure of evidentiary rules when it’s live and in front of you instead of just as words in a textbook,” he says. “I’ve also been complimented for my skills with crafting a narrative from the facts, so it’s nice to see that Creative Writing degrees have some use!”

His involvement in the Criminal Law Society, and in If/When/How compelled him to volunteer with the Prosecutor’s Office in the Sexual Assault Unit.

“The more I explored the fields and looked at specific issues in criminal justice and reproductive justice, the more engrossing I find each field,” he says.

He spent the past summer at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Everything I had ever done before was basically insurance defense, and I wanted to investigate the actual criminal side of law,” he says. “The criminal courts move so fast compared to civil cases. I was in awe at how prepared, informed, and effective Danielle Hagamann-Clark and the rest of the unit could be with such a short reaction time. Every day they’re faced with horrible situations, but are able to continue under the pressure while remaining compassionate and understanding to the needs of the victims.”

King also returned to work at his family firm of LeVasseur & DeFrank – but instead of just summarizing facts and filling out forms as he did when younger, he’s now able to articulate what those facts mean for the case and help formulate the firm’s position.

“This increased ability to work with the case beyond the information gathering stage is exactly why I wanted to take the next step from paralegal to attorney,” he says. “I’m also extremely grateful that I got to law school in time to work with both my mother and grandfather. Having them teach me the law is not only a great learning experience, but also the passing of a family tradition.”

Interested in employment law, King is looking at all the different aspects of the field.

“I’ve seen a lot of classmates from college enter the workplace as independent contractors, many of them who appear to be misclassified – so my interest in employment law could help them and others with similar issues,” he says. “However, the thrill of the courtroom and the importance of the work that occurs there do still have a pull on me towards the Prosecutor’s Office.”

The Bloomfield Hills native shares his home in midtown Detroit with his boyfriend and his dog; and in his leisure time, enjoys reading, is an avid skier, and races sailboats with family members out of Detroit Yacht Club.

“I’m hoping to take some classes this summer so I can actually understand what I’m doing and get promoted beyond being ‘ballast technician,’” he says with a smile, referring to crew members who scramble from one side to the other to sit on the edge of the boat to balance it while tacking, or changing its position into the wind.

He also writes for a craft-beer blog called Porchdrinking.com as a writing outlet outside of the law.

He enjoys being back in the Motor City area, especially going for long drives to unwind.

“New York made me feel claustrophobic,” he says. “I love the idea I can just get in my car and go anywhere I feel like, with wide-open spaces and countryside.

“Besides that, people on the street seem to genuinely be interested when you wish each other a good day or strike up a conversation while waiting for a light. They’re invested in the success of local businesses and do what they can to help spread the word when a new spot opens up to help its success.”

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