Litigation vocation: MSU Law 2L student wins several accolades

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A 2L student at Michigan State University College of Law, Dalia Abdow earned her undergrad degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University, where she was a member of the Chaldean American Student Association.

“I was particularly interested in the criminal justice system because of the vast implications and effects it has on society,” she says.

Before heading to Michigan State University College of Law, where she is now in her 2L year, Abdow worked as a legal assistant and Chapter 13 bankruptcy coordinator at Moran Law Offices in Royal Oak.

“I enjoyed interacting with the clients and knowing I made a difference in their lives,” she says. “Many clients would thank us for relieving the stress they felt caused by the enormous debt they were experiencing. Taking part in easing that stress was such a rewarding feeling.”

Abdow’s interest in law stemmed from a high school class in Criminal and Civil Law, taught by a former attorney. “After hearing some of the feedback my teacher provided and doing some of my own research, I knew I wanted to be a legal advocate for others,” she says.

She is enjoying her experience as a legal Spartan in East Lansing, and looking forward to her upcoming summer associate position at Dickinson Wright PLLC in Detroit.

“I feel a tremendous amount of support from the administration as well as fellow students,” she says. “MSU Law is similar to a small community that looks out and supports one another.”

In the top 5 percent of her class with a 3.9 GPA, Abdow nevertheless was surprised to be selected last year as Outstanding 1L student. “Everyone in the school works so hard every day and sometimes the routine can weigh us down a bit, but receiving recognition is encouraging and reassuring,” she says.  

Those are not the only kudos she has earned. Last October, she was recognized by the Chaldean American Bar Association and received the Jane Shallal Legal Scholarship; and she also was awarded a House of Representatives State of Michigan Certificate of Recognition for outstanding achievement awarded by Michigan State Representative Klint Kesto.

“The awards dinner was a great experience and I was honored to be in the presence of so many successful attorneys and judges,” she says. “Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein delivered the keynote address and I really connected with his speech that encouraged young law students to be passionate in the study of law and our future careers.”

In last summer’s work as an extern in the Research Division at the Michigan Court of Appeals, she analyzed legal issues and conducted independent research to help resolve issues on appeal.

“I received lots of experience in legal research and writing,” she says. “I had the opportunity to meet with Michigan Court of Appeals Chief Judge Talbot, and he shared with me his experiences in the legal field as well as words of advice to continue to work hard to attain the success I wanted in my legal career.”

Interested in litigation, Abdow is a member of the law school’s Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute, where the curriculum focuses on each stage of a trial and provides insight into trial advocacy. “Over the past semester, I learned how to draft a complaint, a motion for summary judgment, and several other legal documents that students typically don’t work on until they are already in the workplace,” she says.

With plans to become a litigator, she has yet to narrow her focus to a specific niche. “I want to advocate for those who don’t necessarily know the extent of their rights under the law,” she says. “However, my goal is to eventually provide some type of pro bono work to the community.”

She currently chairs the Student Bar Association events committee, her first leadership position in the SBA. “I’m eager and excited to reach out to students and provide opportunities to network with each other and stay connected,” she says.
She also is the event coordinator of the Middle Eastern Law Student Association, and is planning the law school’s annual Arabian Nights event, which provides ethnic food, henna tattoos, and educational opportunities to learn about the Middle Eastern culture.  

Her Chaldean parents immigrated to the U.S. 35 years ago from Iraq. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity and sacrifices they’ve made for my two older brothers and me,” says Abdow, who is fluent in Arabic. “My mother and father worked manual labor jobs to put us all through college and to make sure we were given the best opportunities. I hope to be able to support them the same way they supported me.”

Originally from Sterling Heights, Abdow now makes her home in East Lansing, where her major hobby is weight lifting, with an eye to participating in a competition within the next year. “It’s a great stress reliever while in law school and it’s something I’m extremely passionate about,” she says.
 

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