Experience offers student various practice options

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

After earning his undergraduate degree in political science from Western Michigan University, Angelo Berlasi Jr. spent a couple of years working on political campaigns for U.S. Sen. Gary Peters in the metropolitan Detroit area and Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing in East Lansing.

“I was able to meet some wonderful people,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated with the political process and how governments interact with each other as well. That’s what drew me to focusing on comparative politics.”

With a strong interest in the law, Berlasi got encouragement from his parents and a few cousins in the legal field to pursue his dream.

“I can’t thank them enough for their support,” he said.

He is enjoying his time at Detroit Mercy Law, where he is in his 2L year and serves as class secretary.

“Law school is a stereotypically cutthroat environment, but from my experiences, students at Detroit Mercy Law don’t let competitiveness get in the way of friendships,” he said.  “Although I believe a certain amount of competitiveness is healthy because it keeps us driven, we ultimately want to see each other succeed.”

Last summer, Berlasi interned in Wayne County’s Real Estate, Tax and Public Services Division, working closely with the deputy corporation counsel on issues involving the Wayne County Land Bank and Economic Development Corporation.

“It was a very interesting experience…and the Guardian Building is beautiful,” he said.

Berlasi started clerking at Berry Moorman, P.C. in Detroit last fall.

“I had hoped to gain as much practical legal experience as possible prior to graduating and the attorneys there have allowed me to do so thus far,” he said “I greatly appreciate their commitment to my growth as a future attorney and look forward to my relationship with the firm.”

The work at Berry Moorman has allowed Berlasi to experience several different practice areas and he particularly enjoys health, real estate and employment law.

Berlasi serves as secretary for the law school’s St. Thomas More Society, helping organize such activities as the annual Tommy Bowl Fundraiser in the fall, and participation in the Halloween Safety Street at UDM’s main campus, as well as a few other fundraising/volunteer events and volunteer opportunities at the Pope Francis Warming Center.

“As soon as the weather warms up we’re planning to get involved in some community clean up events around Detroit as well,” he said.

After graduation next year, Berlasi hopes to work in or near Detroit.

“I’m happy to have experienced its downtown revitalization as of late and hope to be involved in its continued growth one way or another,” he said. 

Berlasi enjoys playing on the school’s ice hockey team that competes in the annual Justice Cup between Michigan State, Michigan and Wayne State law schools, and the team may play in a local beer league next fall.

“Some of my best friendships have come from playing hockey and it’s definitely a nice way to relax from studies,” he said.

During undergraduate studies, Berlasi spent his junior year in Italy, as a study abroad student at John Cabot University in Rome, then teaching English at summer camps throughout Italy.
Since then, he’s returned to Italy every couple of years, although his next trip may have to wait until after graduation.

Berlasi and his father enjoy watching Italian soccer together.

“My father, having been born in the Lazio region of Italy, is naturally a SS Lazio fan. However, we usually watch their bitter rivals AS Roma play together on Sundays,” he said. “I’ve either converted him to support AS Roma as I do, or he secretly hates it and just obliges me — I hope it’s the former.”

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