WSU grad finds legal footing after weighing other options

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Wayne Law student Alyssa Segura is secretary of the Student Board of Governors, Tribune of Delta Theta Phi, event coordinator of the Women’s Law Caucus, and a junior member of Mock Trial. Segura also is the new mom of Memphis Idle, a son born November 13.

Photos courtesy of Alyssa Segura

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Always interested in interior design and event coordinating, Alyssa Segura contemplated dropping out of Wayne Law after her first semester and becoming an event coordinator, even going so far as to attend a job interview.

But after taking the advice of upper-classmen, faculty, and practicing attorneys, she decided to stay hand-in-hand with Lady Justice.

“I’ll forever be grateful for everyone who encouraged me to stay in law school because I now love being a law student, even if most days are consumed with reading and studying,” she says.

Segura had a few other career goals in mind during high school and undergrad at Wayne State, including becoming a forensic pathologist. She changed her major multiple times, trying to find the best fit—until a criminal justice course during her third year of undergrad uncovered her passion.

“The professor significantly opened my eyes to the injustice within our justice system,” she says. “That’s when I knew I wanted to go into criminal defense. I wanted to fight for the people whom no one else wanted to fight for. That class opened my eyes to a new way to view life – to view people.”

Now in her 2L year, Segura particularly appreciates the community, and opportunities for work, networking, and leadership.

“Wayne Law has a lot to offer—a wide range of classes, student organizations and extracurriculars, externships, networking events, and more—you name it, Wayne Law has it!”

Early last year, Segura worked for a short time as a law clerk at Garmo & Kiste, PLC, a small criminal defense and family law firm in Troy, where she was exposed to a number of things before the pandemic put paid to the position.

“Because the firm was small, the attorneys took on more work than just criminal defense or family law matters,” she says. “I was able to review a rent agreement and sit in on a conversation where the attorney advised the client on proposed changes to the agreement. We’re taught in law school how to counsel clients, but it was an eye-opening experience to see it happen in real life.”

Last summer, she externed at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office, working in the misdemeanor division.

“I was exposed to a variety of cases, such as driving while under the influence, public intoxication, assault and battery, domestic violence, and the like,” she says. “What I enjoyed most was the practical experience I can utilize in my future career. I had the opportunity to conduct client interviews, counsel clients, appear on the record, represent clients as a student attorney, and draft legal documents. But above the practical experience, I got to really see inside the position of a defendant and the hard choices they are faced with.”

Her career goal is to become a criminal defense attorney at a law firm—and after practicing for a few years, teach about the criminal justice system at the collegiate level.

“My legal focus is definitely criminal defense—that’s what drew me to law school,” she says.

However, she is also taking classes beyond that topic, including constitutional law II and corporations last semester, and family law and trusts and estates this semester.

Serving as event coordinator of the Women’s Law Caucus, Segura enjoys the support system offered by the WLC.

“What’s so amazing is that every member is so supportive of one another. As a woman, it’s hard to receive support from other women,” she says. “But WLC truly embraces the motto ‘empowered women empower women.’ In a profession dominated by men, there’s nothing more important than having women stand together and support one another. And the Women’s Law Caucus truly lives up to and provides that.”

As secretary for the Student Board of Governors, Segura relishes serving as a voice for the student body and being involved in faculty meetings and in decision making.

“I’m very humbled to be a part of such a powerful organization,” she says. “Decisions made by faculty members dramatically affect my peers, so being engaged in these meetings and aware of my peers’ wants and needs, is extremely important.

“When the national shutdown was announced and all classes, including externships and internships, were forced to go fully remote, I was involved in determining how we were going to make it possible for students to complete the required hours for their externships. During that meeting, I was able to voice the concerns of students and the possible hurdles they may be facing due to the new circumstances.”

A general member of Delta Theta Phi in her 1L year, she is now serving as Tribune.

“I’ve really enjoyed being on the board this year because it’s forced me to be more involved,” she says. “As Tribune, I’m like the liaison of the fraternity. What I like most about being a part of Delta Theta Phi is the large network DTP has to offer. Our alumni base is huge, and they are always putting on events that allow us to develop relationships with well-established attorneys in the legal field.”

Segura also is a junior member of mock trial, gaining practical litigation skills – “something that can’t be taught in a traditional classroom setting,” she says. “I truly enjoy every aspect of mock trial. I love the thrill of getting a new problem and trying to identify every little detail that will help establish my case. One of my favorite parts about mock trial is preparing witnesses for possible cross questions. Additionally, I love working with my partner to come up with our own theory of the case and how we are going to demonstrate that theory consistently throughout every aspect of our case.
Among other things, I think my passion about mock trial is what led me and my partner, Allison Tuohy, to win the in-house competition this past fall.”

Nearing the end of her pregnancy at the time, Segura asked her OB-GYN if she could be induced a week before the final competition to ensure she had enough time to prepare.

“Because my due date was in the middle of semi-finals and finals, it was a concern that I wouldn’t be able to compete,” she says. “My partner even had an alternate ready to go in case I went into labor. But having worked so hard all semester to get to finals, there was no way I was going to let someone compete for me. So, after contemplating on what to do for a few days, I was induced on November 12. Thankfully, my labor went smoothly, and I was able to compete in finals just a week post-partum. I’m glad I did so because my partner and I walked away champions.”

Studying during the pandemic has been a lot harder than Segura initially imagined.

“With being forced to stay indoors, one would think it would be easy to study, considering there’s nothing else to do—I quickly found that wasn’t the case,” she says. “My first semester of law school was spent in the library. I was the student who stayed until 11 p.m., because I found it impossible to focus at home. So, not having the ability to lock myself in a study room caused me to lose focus on my studies.”

Realizing she needed to refocus and get back on track, Segura created a designated study space in her Brownstown home that allowed her to separate “home” from “school.”

“I think it’s essential to remember that even though you’re at home, you’re not really ‘at home,’ and that even though in undergrad online classes were usually easier than in-person classes, that is not the case with law school. Law school is still just as hard on-line as it is in-person, if not harder.”

The Taylor native has an additional challenge as the new mom of Memphis Idle, a son born Friday, Nov. 13.

“Getting pregnant during law school was definitely not something I’d planned, but sometimes you can’t plan life and I wouldn’t trade becoming a mom for anything in this world,” she says.
“Although I was definitely scared of having my first child during law school, the scariest part was finding out I was pregnant just two days after the national shutdown. It was a terrifying time—one, not knowing what to expect with COVID-19, but also not knowing what to expect with being pregnant. Being a law student is hard enough, so imagine being a pregnant law student during a worldwide pandemic.

“Surprisingly, it wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. Although it’s not something I’d recommend, I wouldn’t say it’s the end of the world, nor the end of my law school career. I say that because I thought it was, especially once I had to balance studying for finals and raising a one-month-old.

“After those first couple of weeks, I didn’t see how it was possible to study and raise a newborn—there were just not enough hours in the day. But I was wrong. I was able to study and complete my final exams just like any other law student. I didn’t do it all on my own though, I did it with the help of my amazing support system.

“During winter break, I was able to solely focus on being a mom and have used that time to establish a routine for myself and my son. Now I am confident that I will be able to maintain a stable, successful life as both a mom and a student.” 



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