Law student served as summer policy associate in the Detroit mayor's office

Photo courtesy of Amanda McNeil

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With an interest in learning about people, Amanda McNeil earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College, majoring in social relations and policy.

“I had an interest in studying how the laws and policies of our country affect people differently depending on such things as race and gender,” she says. “My interest in policy and how it affects various groups of people naturally drew me to want to study law and the effects it has on society.”

During undergrad, she spent five months as a legislative intern in the Michigan House of Representatives, attending hearings and learning first-hand how the legislative system works. McNeil is now in her final year at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she especially appreciates the sense of community.

“Before applying, I toured the school and every person I met made me feel like I belonged,” she says.

At the end of her 1L year, she clerked at the Miller Law Firm in Rochester; and later that same summer, externed for U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman. She was thrilled to have her completed assignments used by the judge on the bench during hearings. Last year, she completed the school’s Housing Law Clinic, working with tenants in Detroit who faced eviction or foreclosure.

McNeil spent three months this past summer as a policy associate for the Department of Appeals and Hearings in the City of Detroit mayor’s office.

“I enjoyed being able to play a key role in the development of a newly proposed policy regarding rental properties in Detroit and getting to see that project through from its beginning stages through implementation,” she says.

McNeil, whose goal is to become civil litigator/oral advocate, is a recipient of the Detroit Mercy Fellows Scholarship. The program, introduced during her 1L year, is designed to get scholarship recipients active in leadership positions around the school and in the community.

“However, the program appeared to be inactive—as a result, during my second year, I created the Fellows Student Board to revive the program and am now president of the board,” she says. “The board is very excited about the service opportunities and networking events we have planned for this school year.”

A senior Moot Court member, McNeil recently participated in an internal competition, in which her team advanced to the semi-finals and was awarded 3rd place for the best written brief; and she earned fourth place honors for best oral advocate.

Despite her intense law school studies and activities, McNeil made time to volunteer regularly at the warming center in the Pope Francis Church during her 1L year.

A native of the village of Milford and a graduate of Milford High School, McNeil currently makes her home in Livonia and recently rediscovered her love for running.

“It’s a great way to de-stress from school,” she says.

She recently got engaged to Jared Groth, a recent graduate from Wayne Law School. The couple recently adopted a puppy named Rudy and plans to marry next fall, after McNeil takes the bar.


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