Life lessons: Wayne Law alumna gives back to Jewish community

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Alana Karbal’s grandfather and great-aunt were Holocaust survivors whose tragic history significantly impacted Karbal’s upbringing.

“Hearing their stories and the atrocities they — and so many others — faced led me to want to be an advocate for justice and help those who have been treated unfairly,” she says.

An alumna of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, Karbal calls her law school years “an incredible experience — greatly attributed to the highly esteemed and distinguished faculty, from whom I had the absolute pleasure of learning, and my class. I established friendships I know will last a lifetime, and feel so fortunate for the time I spent at Wayne.”

Participation in the Transactional Law competition, where in her 2L year she and her teammate won in Drafting (buyer’s counsel), gave her a glimpse into the transactional realm and tools needed to practice in the field. 

“It provided me with real life contract drafting and negotiation practice, showing me what it is like to represent a client and their needs, as well as make concessions to reach an agreement with the other side,” she says. “One of the most helpful aspects was being judged by, and receiving feedback from, practicing transactional attorneys.”

Karbal interned for Michigan Court of Appeals judges Elizabeth Gleicher and Kirsten Frank Kelly, as well as Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts; and clerked at the Darren Findling Law Firm, PLLC in Royal Oak, and at the Bloomfield Hills employment and civil rights firm of Deborah Gordon Law, where she is now an associate attorney.

“I viewed my internships and clerkships as opportunities to experience various practice areas and explore my interests and disinterests,” Karbal says. “The opportunities gave me real world litigation experience and invaluable insight into the inner workings of the courts.”

A member of the Women’s Law Caucus and the Jewish Law Students Association during her law school years, Karbal also served as an assistant editor and the voting note and comment editor of the Wayne Law Review where she broadened her knowledge of specific areas of law and offered guidance to assistant editors with their notes during their writing and editing process.

Deeply connected to the Jewish community, Karbal gives back whenever possible. In undergrad at U-M, she was a member and president of the organization “Conference on the Holocaust” that organized several events with the goal of bringing Holocaust awareness to students and community members.

“One of the largest events was the annual Survivor’s Luncheon—whose attendance neared 200 people—survivors from the metro Detroit area were bussed to Hillel of Ann Arbor to engage in round table discussions with the attendees, sharing their stories and educating others about the horrors they experienced,” she says.

She also has volunteered at the Jewish Senior Life, assisting memory care unit residents bake challah to stimulate memories and senses, and recently participated in Jewish Family Service’s Fall Fix Up to assist older adult neighbors prepare their homes for winter.

In her leisure hours, Karbal enjoys spending time with her friends, family and fiancé as well as traveling, cooking and baking, exercising, and watching movies.

The Bloomfield Hills native and alumna of Andover High School, who now lives in Birmingham, is a big supporter of the Motor City. 

“I love being able to watch Detroit’s incredible revitalization and growth,” she says.
 

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