Advocate: Law student clerked for Animal Legal Defense Fund

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Sara Mickovic jokes she was drawn to study law before she even knew what law was.

“I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was probably 8, back when I thought prosecutors and defense attorneys I saw on television were the only types of lawyers to exist—but as I grew older and learned more about what I could do with a law degree, the interest never went away,” she says.

An alumna of the University of Windsor and now a rising 3L at Wayne Law, she particularly enjoys the people at the school.

“Having your professors and fellow law school friends and peers genuinely want you to succeed contributed to me not experiencing the aggressive competitiveness that’s so often attributed to law school,” she says. “Instead, I feel a lot of support and positive encouragement both for and from those at Wayne Law.”

Mickovic is excited to serve as the most recent Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law in Society.

“I think having the ability to see academic publications go from, essentially rough drafts, to being part of a fully drafted issue is so amazing,” she says. “I get to be part of every single aspect of the Journal from editing individual articles, to working on our annual symposium, to selected student Notes for publication. It's a very hands-on job, but it’s so rewarding.”

Moot Court was probably the single greatest time commitment of her 2L year, she says—“But I wouldn't trade that for anything! I think what's so
amazing about Moot Court is how much of an expert you can be on one specific topic. I was a member of Wayne Law's national team that competed in the West Virginia Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, and I found myself studying electrical engineering blogs so I could better understand the material.

“I think the best part is actually being able to compete, because knowing the months of practice and work finally culminate in one final competition is such an amazing feeling.”

Working earlier this year in the Appeals and Post-Conviction Advocacy Clinic at Wayne Law brought the realization of how lucrative and complex criminal defense can be.

“Working on the appellate level, I focused my entire semester on working on one single criminal appeal which made me so familiar and focused on every stage of the criminal appeal which I loved,” she says.

Her first experience of working in a legal setting was her 2020 internship at the Sugar Law Center in Detroit.

“But the supervisors truly made it so easy to ask questions and learn,” she says. “I saw my first depositions, court proceedings, and got my first ever legal work assignments in employment and labor law which is so interesting.”

Last year, Mickovic spent a semester as a law clerk for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

“I absolutely loved it,” she says. “I volunteer with Second Chance Animal Rescue in Windsor-Essex County, and I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs. When I had the chance to work with the ALDF, I knew I had to take the opportunity to combine my love for animals with my professional abilities as a law student, and it was honestly so eye-opening. I didn’t realize in how many ways animal rights were fused with different areas of the law.

“Most of the work I did was in animal property law and animal family law, but just by working with the ALDF I saw so much more. But while working with the ALDF on one case in particular, I became inspired to write a legal note on pet custody and legislative reform that’s going to be published next year in the Animal Law Review. Though a very specific practice area, I one hundred percent know I’m not done with my work in animal law.”

This summer she completed a remote judicial internship with the Superior Court of Santa Clara County in San Jose, Calif.; and this year, worked in the personal litigation department at Sommers Schwartz in Southfield.

“I loved being able to work in a firm on such interesting cases,” she says. “I learned so much on how to communicate with clients, draft trial documents—which no one actually teaches you in law school—and work with much wiser and really amazing attorneys.”

Her eventual long-term goal is to teach law.

“Before I get there, however, I’d like to get my JD recognized and accredited so I can practice law in Canada as well as in the United States and get the opportunity to do judicial clerkships in both countries,” she says. “But, I can't talk about my professional goals without stressing the fact I would love, in some capacity, to keep practicing animal law, whether it be through pro bono work or by writing on animal law topics. Though a very specific practice area, I one hundred percent know I’m not done with my work in animal law.”

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