SBA treasurer set her sights on a legal career at early age


An avid bowler, Tina Ripley is a 2L student at Detroit Mercy Law School and interned this summer at the 36th District Court.

Photo courtesy of Tina Ripley

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Tina Ripley set her sights on a legal career as early as 6th grade when her class read “To Kill A Mockingbird” then put on a mock trial for two characters and Ripley acted as the judge.

“It was the best experience because I got to see both sides of the argument and make the best decision based on the facts presented,” she says.   

Serving on the bench is the ultimate goal of this Detroit Mercy Law School 2L student, who was drawn to the law by the need to make a difference in people's lives.

“I want to pursue justice for the people,” she says.

She also is following in the footsteps of her cousin, a Detroit Mercy Law alum who now serves as an assistant attorney general at the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

An alumna of Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Ripley earned her undergrad degree in philosophy and political science from Alma College, before heading to Detroit Mercy Law.

“I enjoy the close-knit feeling,” she says. “Everyone is very welcoming and it’s like a family. All of the professors and staff truly want to see you do well and are actually interested in your future.”

That future might focus on criminal prosecution, but at this point in her legal studies, Ripley is open to new experiences. She spent this past summer interning in the local prosecution section at the 36th District Court in Detroit, where she helped write plea deals, went on the record numerous times, cross examined and questioned witnesses, and wrote memos regarding various topics of law.

“I loved that I got to be in court every day and got to interact with lawyers and judges all the time,” she says.

As executive treasurer for the school’s Student Bar Association, she makes sure fellow students enjoy their time in law school.

“I help plan events for students, and represent the student body and make things happen for them,” she says. “I like that it connects me with the faculty and staff and they can trust me to do what’s best for the students.”

Away from her studies, Ripley enjoys camping, traveling around Michigan, and bowling—a varsity bowler for Alma College for all four of her undergrad years, she continues to bowl in leagues and various tournaments. She also volunteers for the Livonia Jaycees, where her sister is a member.

A native of Westland, Ripley currently makes her home in Detroit.

“I love being in the city—it’s so exciting and has so much going on, there’s always something new to do,” she says. “The city is definitely on the rise and is the place to be.”


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