Law student, marathon runner lands internship through PAAM

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Collette Anderson wanted a career she would be passionate about—and is on her way to achieving that passion in the legal field.

“Simply doing ‘9 to 5’ was never an option,” she says. “Becoming a lawyer was the best way for me to do meaningful work that really challenged me on an intellectual level, which is important for me to be happy in a profession.

“The law touches everyone in many ways, and being able to navigate the complexities of the field and help others with their troubles was always appealing.”

An alumna of the University of Michigan, Anderson is now a rising 3L at Wayne State University Law School, and is particularly interested in civil litigation and criminal law.

“I feel very passionately about criminal justice and protecting society while providing the most equitable and rehabilitative solutions possible,” she says.

The summer after her 1L year, Anderson clerked at Kuhn Rogers PLC, a private firm in Traverse City, assisting with prepping materials ahead of oral depositions, preparing and attending mediation sessions, and drafting legal memoranda for clients and for supervising attorneys.

“I really enjoyed investigating trust and estates issues and helping local businesses with contractual situations,” she says.

In the fall of 2018, she externed at the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center at the Green Garage in Detroit, drafting a variety of legal memos and other documents.

“I enjoyed learning more about environmental law in Michigan, and in particular I enjoyed helping with litigation matters,” she says. “I also enjoyed working in Detroit and helping with local community problems, and using my legal knowledge to help such a reputable nonprofit organization.”

Since May, she has been working at the Benzie County Prosecutor’s Office in Beulah, on Michigan’s west coast, an internship she received through the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan (PAAM). Working under the supervision of the Chief Prosecutor and Chief Assistant Prosecutor, she often handles matters sent to the District Court, such as misdemeanor criminal charges. She has done arraignments, status hearings, pleas, and sentencings, and is currently preparing for a couple of misdemeanor jury trials and a show cause hearing.

“I really love how much hands-on experience I’m receiving, and being able to practice law and use what I’ve learned in real situations,” she says. “Having the supervision of such talented and wonderful prosecuting attorneys has really given me valuable insight into this particular field of law and how great—and challenging—it can be.”

Her goal is to continue to grow professionally and make a lasting impact on her community.

“Whether it’s a business, an individual, or a community at large, I want to make others’ lives easier and safer; and whether in criminal prosecution or civil litigation, I want to be a strong, zealous advocate that upholds the dignity of the legal profession and sets a good example for other young women interested in the legal field,” she says.

Anderson is enjoying her law school experience and says she finds Wayne Law to be a cooperative place.

“People work together to do their best,” she says. “I’d heard law school could be a ‘cutthroat’ place, but I’ve never experienced that. In addition to learning so much and having wonderful professors, I’ve made lifelong friends and always had help when I needed it most.” 

A member of the Women’s Law Caucus, Anderson also serves on the board of the school’s Journal of Law in Society.

“It’s a great publication that discusses a variety of problems in the legal field, from HIPPA all the way to water property rights in Michigan. I enjoy that it brings all these issues into one publication and highlights novel situations others may not have thought of before,” she says. “I feel fortunate to be an executive article editor and assist the talented writers and editors.”

Born in Lusk, Wyo., and a resident of Oconto Falls, Wisc. for a period of time, Anderson has spent most of her life in Buckley, south of Traverse City. She and her husband, Cameron Mills, now make their home in the Motor City.

“I love that Detroit is so diverse and there’s always something new to do and see,” she says. In particular I love trying any and all foods, and I feel so fortunate I can try Nepalese dumplings one day and have beef heart bolognese the next. My husband and I have really fallen in love with the city and all it has to offer.”

Anderson has recently become more involved in running, training for runs with Louie, her purebred Border Collie. She ran her first half marathon, the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, on May 25; ran the Cherry Festival 10-km on July 6; and has signed up for the Detroit International half-marathon in October.

“I also love reading and writing, and in particular I love crime and mystery novels, as I’ve been reading Agatha Christie since I was young,” she says.

Anderson has previously volunteered for the animal organization PAWS; and when she runs, she advertises Marathon4Kids, a charity run by her father Tony Anderson, raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan.

 

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