At the helm

President of the Wayne Law Muslim Law Students Association, Husnah Khan is Lieutenant Governor of public interest for the ABA Law Student Division’s Sixth Circuit.

Photo courtesy of Husnah Khan

England native heads up Wayne's Muslim Law Students Association

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

In her undergrad years at the University of Michigan, Husnah Khan co-founded an interfaith student organization called "MuJew" with two Jewish friends, to invite students from all backgrounds to come together and improve the community.

Now serving as president of the Muslim Law Students Association at Wayne Law School, Khan the daughter of a Malaysian mother and Afghan father would like to invite Muslim and non-Muslims students to join her in performing service work throughout the year.

"One of the main tenets of Islam is service to others, and I've been encouraged by my parents to act upon this requirement from a very young age," she says.

"Another goal as president is to raise awareness about Islam to the greater campus community in an attempt to dispel stereotypes and create opportunities for non-Muslim students to engage with their Muslim peers."

Khan also has been appointed lieutenant governor of public interest for the ABA Law Student Division's Sixth Circuit.

"I'm honored," she says. "This position will allow me to work with the other Lieutenant Governors on various initiatives aimed at improving local communities, in addition to our respective legal communities. Some of the initiatives I'd like to focus on this year involve a textbook exchange program and a year-round Adopt-A-Family program."

Now entering her second year at Wayne Law, Khan appreciates the small class sizes that enable students to connect with professors on a personal and professional level.

"I also enjoy the number of opportunities available for students who want to practice 'real-world lawyering,'" she says. "Whether it be through externships, internships, employment, clinics, or volunteer work, Wayne Law students are encouraged to apply what they have learned in a practical setting."

As a member of the Women's Law Caucus, she enjoys the sense of camaraderie.

"Last year, not only were the e-board members always available to answer questions and give advice, they also planned networking events, hosted fundraising activities, and served as a vibrant resource within the campus community," she says.

A member of the Wolverine Bar Association and South Asian Bar Association, she also belongs to the International Law Students Association, where she has enjoyed the dynamic and diverse schedule of speakers invited to campus.

"Members are encouraged to volunteer at the events where they can engage with the speakers during question and answer sessions as well as interact with other audience members," she says.

This past summer, Khan was awarded a 2016 AmeriCorps JD Fellowship through her work as a summer intern at the University of Michigan's Innocence Clinic in Ann Arbor, where she interviewed witnesses, visited clients, reviewed court transcripts, wrote memos, followed up on new leads and filed post-conviction motions.

"I'm truly grateful for the fellowship since it allowed me to work on behalf of individuals from low-income backgrounds," she says. "I enjoyed learning from the attorneys and staff members, especially clinic co-founder David Moran who provided me with sage advice whenever I turned to him for guidance. His work ethic and attention to detail challenged me to work as hard as I could and to always be prepared.

"Convicted individuals who try to claim wrongful convictions typically can't afford legal representation this causes them to represent themselves unless an Innocence Clinic steps in. Innocence Clinics are crucial because of their pro bono nature which invites support from legal professionals, volunteers, and law students."

Khan is setting her sights on a position on a judicial bench.

"That's my ultimate career goal but before then, I'd like to gain experience in a law firm or for a company," she says.

"The field of law is a dynamic one. Individuals can serve as advocates in the courtroom, within a law firm, at a corporation, for a sports team, for a private investor, and more. There are a variety of opportunities for lawyers to use their skills to improve various communities, and this is what I hope a legal education will allow me to do."

A native of Woldingham, England, Khan returned to the U.K. to complete her U-M undergrad degree in English at Oxford, "the city of dreaming spires."

"The experience changed my life," she says. "I'd never visited Oxford before I studied there. The lush scenery, cobblestoned streets, quaint bookshops, diverse student population, and the excellent professors all contributed towards my study abroad experience. The friends I met have remained my friends to this day and we're planning a reunion for next year."

In her leisure time, the Bloomfield Hills resident enjoys reading, writing poetry, traveling, fund-raising for animal advocacy organizations such as Paws 4 A Cure and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, shopping, binge-watching shows on Netflix, singing, and spending time with family and friends.

Published: Fri, Sep 09, 2016

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