Law student aims to be a voice for the voiceless

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Growing up in Santo Domingo—the capital of the Dominican Republic and one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, Perla Espinal saw and valued the importance of the rule of law.

“I witnessed how the legal system was more manageable and more comfortable to succeed in for those that had wealth and connections,” she says. “It made such an impact in my life that I knew my contribution to society had to be related to the law. I wanted to be able to give a voice to the voiceless.”

Now in her final 3L months at Detroit Mercy Law School, Espinal has enjoyed her studies.

“Detroit Mercy Law prepares you for what happens after you graduate,” she says. “Their externships and law clinic opportunities equip you with the skills necessary to succeed as a lawyer.”

Espinal, who holds an honors degree in international studies from York University in Toronto, is in the Dual JD Program offered by Detroit Mercy Law and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.

“The fact I was able to go to class in two countries in one day is a unique experience in and of itself,” she says. “The Dual JD Program equips you with the skills necessary to place your mark as a lawyer in a globalized world.”

For the past two years she has worked as a legal assistant for Windsor attorney Christina Sweet; and last summer, spent three months with Brauti Thorning LLP, a full-service litigation and corporate law boutique in downtown Toronto.

In 2019, she was a summer student with Windsor attorney Nadia R. Bhatti, and also did a summer externship with the Wayne County Corporation Counsel in Detroit, where she drafted memoranda and performed complex legal research on labor and employment litigation, civil rights, disabilities and ethical violations.

“I enjoyed being able to connect with the lawyers in a collaborative environment,” she says. “I appreciated how approachable the lawyers were and their willingness to teach me and help me grow as a professional.

“The best part of my summer jobs was the legal exposure I experienced in and out of court,” she adds. “For instance, I was able to conduct a landlord-tenant hearing, and attended negotiations, mediations and trial proceedings. I was also able to write motions, legal memoranda and conduct client interviews. It made me realize how much I want to be a litigator. These opportunities have taught me to be proactive, take initiative and trust my knowledge to assist clients. My career goal is to continue learning and to be the best lawyer I can be. This will help me serve my clients better and the legal system as a whole.”

Espinal serves as the president and founder of the Hispanic and Latinx Law Student Association at the University of Windsor.

“I’m glad I was able to contribute by creating needed spaces in the law school,” she says.

Espinal is a resident of Windsor, where she met her husband Moe; the two were wed recently. In her leisure time, she enjoys photography, travelling, cooking, dancing, and being outdoors.

She also recently purchased gym equipment to stay active during the challenges of the pandemic.

“I find it much easier to focus and do online classes when I’m still able to do physical activity during the day,” she says. “I focus on the positive side, and studying at home has given me more flexibility with my time.”



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