Flying high: Award-winning graduate worked in Okemos and Ann Arbor

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Serah Waweru was drawn to the law as early as her teens, although with a different focus to her eventual law school studies.

“My legal ambitions have shifted since high school but, I had a weird obsession with the International Criminal Court and that’s where I wanted to be,” she says.

Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Waweru earned her undergrad degree in international studies from Murray State University in Kentucky.   

“I’ve always been intrigued with how different state systems work and the United Nations. After a meeting with a professor in the political science department, I was sold,” she says. “Plus, a requirement for graduation was to study abroad and I got to go to China.”   

She then turned her attention to law school, entering Cooley in 2016, with a particular interest in juvenile and immigration law; and a goal of succeeding in the area of law in which she ultimately chooses to practice.

Waweru certainly nailed the law school experience, earning the Leadership Achievement Award and Student Bar Association Distinguished Student Award at the July Honors Convocation.

The awards were well deserved. During her time at Cooley, Waweru was an active member of the Student Bar Association, vice president of the Black Law Students Association, a member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Christian Legal Society, Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society, and the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity; and also volunteered with Cooley for Kids and as a Graduation Marshal.

“I enjoyed learning and growing with some of the most brilliant law students. I made lifelong friends in these organizations,” she says.

“As a graduation marshal, I enjoyed being a small part of the graduates’ big day. It was also inspiring because I would soon be in their shoes.” Waweru was involved in numerous student volunteer opportunities including the City Rescue Mission of Lansing, Haven House and Cardboard Prophets, as well as the Street Stand Down, where students and faculty provide the homeless with legal assistance.

“These were humbling experiences because I got the opportunity to connect with people from different backgrounds,” she says. “I was able to understand their struggles through service. The people I interacted with truly taught me resilience.”    

Her first legal job was as a summer law clerk at the Meridian Law Center in Okemos, where she enjoyed learning the inner workings of a law firm.

A highlight was last year’s participation in the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender, where she spent several months in the juvenile delinquency division, drafting documents and performing legal research; and under the supervision of Assistant Public Defender Nichollette Hoard, represented clients in court.

“The PD office was the most rewarding experience of my law school career,” she says.

Waweru, who grew up in St. Louis, now makes her home in Seattle, where as a self-termed “foodie,” she enjoys trying new and interesting cuisines from all over the world; and has also taken up hiking as a hobby.


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