Michigan Law's class of 2022 begins life in the Quad

By Kristy Demas
Michigan Law

What do a Truman Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, and four Fulbright Scholars have in common? They are part of Michigan Law’s Class of 2022. Women make up 54 percent of the 318 students, while 28 percent are people of color — with 11 percent multiracial — and 12 percent are first-generation college graduates. Senior Assistant Dean Sarah Zearfoss is proud of the various backgrounds these students possess — as well as their median LSAT scores of 169 and undergraduate grade-point averages of 3.8. From the former U.S. Supreme Court Marshal’s aide to the student with an MA in Icelandic studies to the certified wildlife firefighter, this class brings a number of diverse perspectives and experience to the Quad.

Elizabeth McElvein arrived in Ann Arbor from Washington, D.C., where she handled executive branch oversight issues for the House Judiciary Committee.

“I actually deferred my enrollment for one year so I could finish work related to the Mueller investigation,” shared McElvein — who was on hand when Professor Barbara McQuade testified before the committee last July.

Prior to her position on Capitol Hill, McElvein worked for the Brookings Institution — a public policy research organization — where she also wrote for Lawfare. The blog focuses on national security law and policy, and McElvein was impressed with how many contributors are Michigan Law faculty and alumni. But it was her time with the Judiciary Committee that crystallized her desire to attend law school.

“I saw firsthand that lawyers call the shots on some of the most important policy changes facing the country,” said McElvein.

Ravinder Arneja’s resume includes a stint as an advance associate for former First Lady Michelle Obama; he assisted the First Lady’s scheduler in drafting and rewriting daily schedules.

“Working for Mrs. Obama was the honor of a lifetime,” said Arneja. “I felt privileged every morning when I walked into the East Wing of the White House, and lucky to have worked for such an inspirational person and alongside so many great people. It was a good lesson in public service and how there are so many different ways we can give back.”

Working as a lawyer is another way Arneja hopes to give back. He was inspired to pursue a law degree during one of his undergraduate political science courses that was taught by an adjunct law professor.

“He really opened my eyes to the impact that lawyers can have,” Arneja said.

In choosing Michigan Law, both McElvein and Arneja say Preview Weekend clinched their decision.

Arneja recalled, “I was really blown away by how helpful and welcoming the older students were and how approachable the professors. Part of my welcome packet was a book listing all of the law professors and their areas of expertise. I was fascinated by their breadth of knowledge and thought it would be great to learn from professors who have different areas of expertise.”

McElvein agrees that Michigan Law rose above the competition in terms of friendliness and a willingness to help.

“Dean Z came up to me during a Preview Weekend event and knew my name and what I had done before applying to law school. That’s how I knew Michigan focused on students as three-dimensional people, and decided it was the kind of academic environment that I wanted to be part of for three years.”

Also new to the Quad this year are 30 LLM students—one of whom received his JD from Michigan Law in 1973—from 14 countries. In addition, Michigan Law welcomed three new SJDs this year from Belgium, Canada, and Kazakhstan.