Dual degree: Corporate law student seeks to impact community

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Involved in his family’s commercial real estate business from a young age, Basem Younis learned early on that he had an affinity for numbers. He went on to earn an undergrad degree in accounting and finance from Wayne State University, remaining a Wayne Warrior for JD and MBA studies.

His parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon and Syria in pursuit of an American education and the American Dream, always emphasized that education is a powerful and essential tool for nurturing positive change in society.

“They taught me higher education is an avenue to access the type of opportunities that would allow me to help nurture the communities that helped nurture me,” Younis says.

“My undergraduate career helped me realize small businesses are catalysts for thriving communities, as it had proven to be for my parents and my community. Given that many business decisions are influenced in some manner by the law, I decided a formal understanding of the law is essential to meaningfully influence the course of businesses.”

Choosing Wayne Law was an easy decision for pursuing a JD/MBA dual degree, he adds.

He especially enjoyed his experience in the Business and Community Law Clinic (BCLC) that offers free transactional legal services to organizations in Detroit and underserved areas throughout the state with a mission of increasing equity and creating positive social impact.

“Directly working with clients was rewarding and I completed the semester feeling proud of the impact I had in my capacity as a law student, creating a few key documents that helped further their organization’s mission,” he says.

Over this past summer, Younis found clerking for Judge David J. Allen at the Wayne County Circuit Court to be extremely rewarding.

“I was able to observe court proceedings and strengthen my research and legal writing skills by writing judicial opinions,” he says. “An assignment I was most proud of involved a breach of contract lawsuit in which I was asked to draft a legal opinion that was soon published by court.”

Younis, who primarily focused on corporate and real estate law when selecting courses, initially thought he would end up pursuing transactional work; however, his experience as a law clerk at Hammoud, Dakhlallah, and Associates in Dearborn has piqued his interest towards business and other complex litigation.

The time-management skills he learned in undergrad have helped him balance law school and business school responsibilities as well as extracurricular activities. Prior to law school, he participated in the WSU Mike Ilitch School of Business’s AGRADE program, and the 16 graduate credits completed in undergrad counted towards his MBA.

Those 16 credits helped make room in his schedule for judicial externships, clerkships, and extracurriculars; and he will earn both his JD and MBA in two and half years.

Younis has served as associate editor of the Journal of Business Law; president of the Muslim Law Students Association; law school representative on the WSU Student Senate; and treasurer of the Entrepreneurship and Business Law Society; and was recognized in “2019 Mike Ilitch School of Business 25 under 25,” as a student who “has demonstrated success in academics, leadership, professional development and campus/community service.”

Elected by the student body to serve on the WSU Student Senate, Younis communicated any learning barriers and other challenges students faced throughout the entirety of the online  experience.

The Dearborn native notes that after his 2022 graduation, he hopes to contribute to the entrepreneurial momentum in Detroit by working closely with entrepreneurs in navigating the complexities of the legal system and corporate world.

“By serving on the executive board for various student organizations, I became more involved in my community which allowed me to recognize wealth disparities and other inequalities that plague my community,” he says.




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