Law clerk enjoys a wide variety of legal challenges


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A fan of strategy board games since high school, Josh LaBar wanted a career that would allow him to think in a similarly strategic way.

"I look at the law like a board game, only the rulebook is a lot bigger," he says.

A 3L at Michigan State University College of Law, LaBar clerks for several attorneys at O'Reilly Rancilio in Sterling Heights.

"Because we're a full-service firm, I'm exposed to just about every area of the law, from probate and family law to personal injury and bankruptcy," he says. "I've learned an immense amount of law in a wide variety of areas, and I love that about the work I do there.

"I also enjoy the people. I play with a few of the attorneys on their adult hockey team, 'Reasonable Doubt.' I couldn't ask for a better experience."

After his first year at MSU Law, LaBar set himself a goal of obtaining experience in many aspects of the legal field and accomplished that by splitting his internship time between working in a federal appellate court, and with Legal Services of South Central Michigan in Lansing.

"On the Sixth Circuit, I loved being able to lay out an entire case, read through the arguments, and determine the merits of the case it really gave me a global perspective of the legal process," he says.

"Working for Legal Services, I was able to obtain great hands-on experience conducting client intakes and negotiating landlord-tenant matters at the court. I worked with the Eviction Diversion Program, which put me in a courtroom every week. It was great experience. Overall, I was very happy with the dichotomy between these two jobs."

LaBar enjoys the many lasting friendships he has made at MSU Law, where he is a student representative for the BARBRI Group that helps lawyers prepare for the Bar, and serves as Articles Editor of the Michigan State Law Review.

"In law school, you only have so much time to learn about the law. As an articles editor, I read five to six articles a week by prominent authors in the field," he says. "I've taken in a wealth of information on interesting areas of law. I can attribute all of this to my work as an articles editor."

LaBar also spent three months as a teaching assistant at MSU Law.

"My favorite part of working as a TA for a 1L class like civil procedure was giving the nitty gritty tips for surviving law school I answered just as many questions about surviving as I did about civil procedure."

A native of Davison near Flint, and a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, LaBar and his fiancé Cristian, an occupational therapist working in pediatrics, moved to Lansing before LaBar started at MSU Law. The couple moved to Howell the following year in order to split their commutes.

"It's a quaint little town complete with a very cool historic theater, a local winery, and a relaxing beach," LaBar says. "Cristian and I are big horror movie buffs, and you can either find us in a theater watching the latest B-rated thriller or at home on the couch watching an independent horror film no one has ever heard of. We also love playing with our pets and taking walks downtown, which admittedly ends usually in frozen yogurt or ice cream. Of course, we play board games and many of our friends play as well."

LaBar's family members, including two older brothers, a sister, and seven nephews, still live in the Flint area.

"We're a close family and spend just about every holiday and birthday together," he says.

Published: Mon, Oct 26, 2015