Advocate: Law student has interned at Prosecutor's Office

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Aubrie Smith started her studies with a BBA in marketing, summa cum laude, from Northwood University in Midland; and now  is a 2L at Wayne Law, where her two particular areas of interest are criminal defense and family law.
“Criminal defense has always been my main interest, but I also feel a strong pull towards practice areas like family law, juvenile advocacy, or even helping communities on a bigger scale through areas like public health law,” she says.

One highlight of her 1L year was serving as a 1L representative for the Student Board of Governors.

“Having a direct line to individuals who can make a difference from posed student concerns, and having a hand in that change, really connected me to the school during our virtual year,” she says. “As secretary, I look forward to continuing the connections I’ve made with fellow students and administration and having a greater part in the growth of Wayne Law.”

Being a part of the Criminal Law Society and National Lawyers Guild student organizations this past year provided the opportunity to meet other students with similar interests and collaborate on ideas for how to get involved.

“Moving to a new city for law school, as well as being virtual, left me feeling very disoriented,” she says. “Student organizations like these help me band together with like-minded classmates and jump start my involvement in the Detroit legal system.”

A member of the Women’s Law Caucus, Smith notes the legal field is still predominately male.

“Being a first-generation law student—first-generation student in general—as well as a woman, the anticipation of being met with challenges was inevitable,” she says. “Joining the Women’s Law Caucus was a direct way to relieve that anxiety and speak to individuals with similar anticipation.

“The WLC was an amazing place to get access to upperclassmen and licensed attorneys with words of advice, resources, and a wealth of knowledge to share. This upcoming year, I have the privilege of being the vice president of Community Relations for WLC and I’m so excited to offer the same experiences to other students and help them connect with their community and future careers.”

Wanting to learn about Mock Trial as early as possible, Smith volunteered to be a Mock Trial witness.

“But it turned into so much more than that,” she says. “I was paired with two amazing upperclassmen who introduced me to other student organizations and gave me the ins and outs of the mock trial program. Being a witness also it allowed me to visit campus more than I would have had the opportunity otherwise. Being a witness played huge role in my choice to join the Mock Trial team this upcoming year, and I’m beyond excited to see where it takes me.”

Smith interned this summer with the Convictions Integrity Unit at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, looking into factual claims of innocence and investigating their validity, as well as any new evidence that has come to light since the conviction.

“This has been an amazing opportunity to advocate for individuals claiming wrongful incarceration,” she says. “My mentor through the CIU is such an inspiring woman and I cannot thank her enough for the wisdom that she has shared in such a short summer internship.”

Smith also has been working as a law clerk for Cripps & Silver, a criminal defense firm in Detroit.

“I can’t express how beneficial this position has been,” she says. “Getting to work hands-on within one of my interested practice areas has solidified my excitement to practice and given me a group of attorneys who promote my growth every day.”

Her post-graduation goal is to become a litigation attorney for a criminal defense or family law practice.

“Eventually, I’d love to work in the post-conviction world doing work similar to an innocence project—working on claims of innocence,” she says. “However, I’m also really focusing on not casting too small of a net. Areas like juvenile justice and public health law are still on my list. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and, though I have specific area-related goals, I’m also open gaining experience that may alter those goals.”




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