A tragedy sparked an interest in a legal career


By  Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

In her youth, Allura Williams lost her aunt—who was like an older sister—to suicide. 

“She was being bullied and from that moment on, I made a vow to advocate for those that felt they didn’t have a voice and to make sure everyone felt seen and could be heard,” says Williams, a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy and now a 1L student at Detroit Mercy Law. 

“I feel not many people in the community feel as if a role like this is accomplishable for them, and so in addition to being an advocate for others, I hope I’m able to show someone anything is possible and nothing is out of anyone’s reach.” 

The recipient of a Philip J. McElroy Scholarship, Williams is interested in human rights, tech, trademark, and renewable energy. 

Williams earned her UDM undergrad degree in political science & philosophy, and pre-law studies, where she learned the proper way of curating legal memos, case briefs terminology and theories and participated in multiple moot courts, as a lead attorney, judge and a member of the Supreme Court.  

Her interest in political science was a need to further policies and laws so they were equal and fair. In middle and high school, her parents placed her in the Michigan Youth in Government program, where students wrote a bill, and amended and voted on each bill as the House of Representatives and the Senate in the manner that it actually occurs. 

“Through this program, I was able to foster an understanding of what it’s like to advocate for policy reform and this love followed me to college,” she says. “As president and founder of IGNITE National’s Detroit Mercy Chapter, I was able to spark this same interest in women that were interested in politics and policy but was too timid to fan that flame. We would encourage women of all political backgrounds to use their voice. 

Williams worked for three years at Lakeshore Legal Aid, an experience that gave her the opportunity to combine wanting to be a support to a community with her love of the law. 

“The team at Lakeshore Legal Aid truly strives to help as many people as it can, and I enjoyed giving my all to the cases each week so that every time someone met with me, they gained something in their favor,” she says. “My team was new and was dedicated solely to eviction in Out-Wayne County, sometimes Oakland if extra hands were needed. We could appear in courts in Wayne County except for Detroit that has its own dedicated team due to its size. 

“We would attend the landlord tenant docket in these courts and help clients that were on the verge of eviction through on docket advice, furthering the spread of Housing Assistance Resources and when the case called for it, we would offer full representation. Some of the eviction matters we were able to tend to were repair issues, subsidized housing, illegal lockouts, payment plans, excessive late fees as well as helping clients to get more time to have a favorable resolution. We attended dockets each week and as a team, could pick up anywhere from 10-20+ cases a week. We have assisted clients in 22nd, 29th, 32A, 33rd, 42nd, 46th and 50th district court.” 

Williams, who enjoys art and movies in her leisure time, finds time to serve as a latchkey aid at Gesu Catholic School and also is heavily involved in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church where she has taken part in leadership conferences and a Christian Educational Conference.

“I believe that having a village to support you and show you the way is the key to a great foundation and that’s what the AME church has done to me,” she says. “Introduced to me by my late grandmother Ada Williams, the AME church is welcoming, warm and a backbone to all who seek. The Young People’s Division of the Women’s Missionary Society provided me a space to breathe when I felt overwhelmed. Through service every year, we’re able to touch the lives of so many people in need as well as connecting youths with others also in relationship with God. We participate in events like Miracle League, soup kitchens, Arts and Scraps, UNICEF, World Reading Day, and host others of our own creation like African Storytelling, Statewide Spelling Bee, and Donating books to Children’s Hospitals in Michigan. 

“Currently, in the YPD I hold the title of Conference President, meaning I reside over all local church YPDs in Michigan. My director, executive board and I work together to create events that will be impactful to bettering the community as well as giving youths a chance to fellowship amongst each other.” .

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