Racing to Success: Detroit Mercy Law student founded 'Tortious and the Hare' running club

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With a strong interest in athletics and desire to help others, Christian Ieraci was originally drawn towards a career in the health care industry. Excelling in biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, he earned his undergrad degree in biology from Canada’s University of Windsor, with the aim of going to medical school.

Ieraci’s passion for biology led to his research thesis studying neuro-behavioral cognition in Great Lakes fish. The experience provided the opportunity to try academic writing—and to the realization he enjoyed this far more than science classes. He decided to search for a career where he could use those research and writing skills to help others, and is now a rising 2L at Detroit Mercy Law School.

“Law seemed like the perfect fit,” he says. “After visiting Detroit Mercy Law and sitting in on a class, I knew studying law was the right path.”

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ieraci enjoys the connections and relationships he has formed with faculty, staff, and students on this side of the Detroit River.

“I was warned law school was going to be a cut-throat experience, where every class would feel like a competition, but this was not my experience in my 1L year,” he says. “As a Canadian student in the Single J.D. program, I was nervous about being the odd one out, but my classmates were nothing short of amazing from day one.

“Beyond the friendships, my professors and school staff are some of the most intelligent, friendly, and understanding people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Their wisdom and passion for teaching have made a lasting impact on me as a prospective lawyer and as a person.”

His background in biology and health sciences prepared Ieraci for the complex issues involved in health law; but after being introduced to several areas of law in his 1L year, he thoroughly enjoyed contract and property law as well.

His career goal is to become established at a large firm where he would be able to develop a niche practice and become an expert in that area. But since interning at Michigan’s Court of Appeals, he has become more interested in a judicial career.

In his upcoming year, Ieraci will be a junior member of Law Review, and is looking forward to researching novel legal issues.

“I’m excited to explore these current issues and contribute to the Law Review’s body of work,” he says. “I’m also looking forward to collaborating with other members of the Law Review—we have a very talented Executive Board and Junior membership.”

Appreciative of the opportunity to gain clinical experience in his 1L year, Ieraci attended the Pope Francis Legal Clinic twice, and participated in the United Community Housing Coalition Clinic – opportunities that have inspired him to make pro bono work an important aspect of his future career.

As a 2L class representative, Ieraci enjoys being a voice for his fellow classmates.

“My role allows me to share my classmates’ concerns and desires for the school with the faculty and staff,” he says. “I enjoy advocating for my classmates and working with the administration to help solve any issues that may arise throughout the year.”

Ieraci enjoys the camaraderie with fellow members of Delta Theta Phi.

“Our members are a tight-knit group, and our upper-classmen have acted as mentors to the newer members,” he says. “This mentorship helped tremendously during my first semester final exam period—their words of encouragement and study tips definitely helped ease the stress of my first set of law school exams.”

Ieraci has also relished the big-city atmosphere of the Motor City, with many of his pre-pandemic breaks from studies spent exploring Detroit with friends, grabbing lunch or walking around downtown, taking in the beautiful architecture and booming shops and restaurants.

The coronavirus put paid to all that, with the border between the U.S. and Canada closed.

“The pandemic has greatly impacted my legal studies,” Ieraci says. “I miss the in-class discussions and impromptu office hours with my professors. While I dislike online learning, I have to commend my professors on their ability to adapt to online platforms to make the process as painless as possible.

“Aside from my studies, I mostly miss my law school friends. It’s strange not seeing this group of friends for such a long period of time. The border closure makes this even more difficult, as I’m unable to visit at all. We’ve been meeting on Skype every week or so in order to stay in touch.”

An avid runner, Ieraci founded the law school’s “Tortious and the Hare Club”—not only a bad pun, but as a way to meet new classmates and relax after a hard week of schoolwork.

“I use running as a way to eliminate stress in my life, so when my classmates and I began to feel the pressures of law school, my natural response was to suggest a group run,” he explains. “After a few successful group runs, I suggested we should create an official club. We used to run three miles every Friday and end at a restaurant to have a quick celebratory meal. The run club became a weekly highlight for our members, to de-stress and get some exercise with our peers.”

During this pandemic, Ieraci has shifted his study schedule to include golfing, and a lot more running, and ran a virtual 1,000-km race from May 1 to August 1.

He also enjoys hockey and rock climbing; reading; hiking and climbing; and spending time at home with his parents and his dog, Joey. A soccer fan, he coached high school and regional soccer for 8 years and played semi-professional soccer for the Windsor Stars.

He looks forward to returning to Detroit when border restrictions are lifted.

“My favorite aspect of Detroit is its connection to its roots,” he says. “While some cities neglect their past, Detroit embraces the hard times and praises its revival.

“Detroit’s story of hardworking, blue-collar roots is very inspirational, and I’m excited about the opportunity to add to the city’s reputation for strong work ethic.”




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