Key role: Law student is executive director of Moot Court board


Law student Gilbert Morrison is pictured at his undergraduate graduation from U-M-Dearborn, with his brother, Justin, and his father, Albert. 

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Morrison

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Growing up, Gilbert Morrison was often told, “You like to argue, you should be a lawyer.” 

But the main influence came in high school, when he shadowed the legal team from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 

“After spending the day with them, my wheels started to turn a bit,” he says.

Then while earning an associate’s degree from Oakland Community College, he took a class, “Topics in History,” centering on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The class conducted a mock trial, based on what might have transpired had the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, gunned down by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, lived and gone to trial.

“I was able to perform a direct examination and a cross examination,” Morrison says. “I really felt I was in my element, and I think it showed.” 

After the class, a woman asked if he was interested in going to law school and becoming a lawyer.

“I told her it had crossed my mind in the past. And she said, ‘Well I think you should do it – my brother is a judge and I think you have what it takes.’ And so from then on, I think it finally cemented in my brain that studying law was what I should be doing,” he says. 

Morrison earned his undergrad degree in political science and government from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, drawn to this major by the unique field of study, touching on many different subfields such as history, philosophy, and psychology.

“In my view, political science is a cross-section of all of these subjects so, it was great being able to experience and study them all,” he says.

Currently a 3L in his final semester at Detroit Mercy Law School, Morrison says administrators, professors, and classmates are invested in seeing everyone succeed – both in the classroom as well as post-graduation. 

He thoroughly enjoys serving as Executive Director on the Moot Court Board of Advocates.

“I was over the moon when I found out I could now give back to the program that had given me so much,” he says. “As a junior member, the program not only allowed me to connect with my colleagues but it also gave me practical experience. It taught me how to be a better legal writer as well as a better oralist. It also helped me to speak in front of others more confidently. I hope to make other Moot member’s experiences just as positive as my own.” 

Last year, Morrison spent seven months clerking at the Troy-based firm of Vandeveer Garzia, where some of his duties entailed conducting legal research and drafting motions. 

“I truly am thankful for the time I spent there,” he says. “They were the first firm to give me a shot in the legal realm. It taught me how to thrive in a legal environment I wasn’t necessarily familiar with.”

He also is proud to have been a member of the inaugural class of the law school’s Conviction Integrity Clinic. 

“What I enjoyed the most was that every time I worked on something, I knew I was helping someone,” he says. “Our clinic director, Wayne County prosecutor Val Newman, was wonderful and made an impact on myself and my colleagues alike.” 

Currently interning at Rudoi Law, a criminal defense firm in Royal Oak—and with similar experience during undergrad while interning at Hilgendorf Law Firm PLLC in Troy—Morrison has set his sights on working in criminal defense. 

“There is never a dull moment on the criminal side of things and I firmly believe it’s where I’m meant to be,” he says. 

“My true career goal is to be the best lawyer I can be. I want to be the best advocate for any client I take on. I think it’s safe to say that most of the time individuals are dealing with the legal system, it’s not necessarily a high point in their life. So to be able to not only help them navigate something that may be unfamiliar or perhaps frightening, while being an advocate at their side, means the most to me.” 

While law studies do not leave much in the way of free time, Morrison’s main hobby is collecting vinyl records. 

“It’s helped me relieve some of the unwanted stress,” he says. “To get lost in an album helps me cope with the sometimes stressful and demanding environment of law school.”

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