Detroit Mercy Law student foresees 'exciting year'


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

During undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan Dearborn, Rebecca El Badaoui tested the waters of a possible law career with a hands-on internship at the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender.

She conducted conflict and criminal history checks, scored sentencing guidelines and was involved with client interviews. At the same time, she observed  observing probable cause conferences, preliminary exams and criminal trials at 14A-1 District Court in Ann Arbor.

“I appreciated being in an advocacy role where I helped represent under-represented youth and adult defendants — it was a very rewarding experience that laid the foundation for me to attend law school,” El Badaoui said.   

With the goal of immersing herself in the Detroit legal community, El Badaoui chose the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she is nearing the end of her 2L year.     

“This goal became a reality when I was offered a position as a 2019 summer associate at Bodman,” she said. “I’m very much looking forward to working at such a reputable Detroit firm and hope to continue to build relationships within the local legal community. I’ll have the opportunity to take on assignments from a wide variety of practice groups, one of the many wonderful opportunities the firm affords its summer associates.   

El Badaoui said she looks forward “to gaining a variety of experiences and learning as much as possible.

“I hope to take these experiences and lessons and develop into a successful attorney at Bodman, while continuing to help women and minority students who come after me,” she said. “In addition to developing my legal craft, I aim to play a role in the diversity and inclusion efforts at Bodman and within the legal profession as a whole.”

El Badaoui, who is interested in transactional work or in litigation — such as complex corporate litigation, intellectual property, or white-collar criminal defense —  said her experience at Detroit Mercy Law has been “nothing short of amazing.”   

“I’ve established a great community of support, in part because of the accessible and supportive faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping students succeed and develop into the best attorneys they can be,” she said.    

At the end of her 1L year, El Badaoui interned for U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Tarnow, improving her legal research and writing skills with a wide variety of assignments.

She transformed one such assignment, a criminal procedure memo, into a topic and thesis for her Law Review Note, about whether reasonable suspicion of criminal activity can be gleaned from driving in tandem alone.    

“My hope is that criminal law practitioners can use my Note as a valuable guide in assessing tandem driving cases and Fourth Amendment justifications,” El Badaoui said. “My Note would not have been possible without my judicial internship and I’m thankful to Judge Tarnow and his law clerks for giving me such a rewarding experience.”

The incoming editor-in-chief of the Law Review, El Badaoui said the job has instilled in her the skills to succeed as an attorney, helped her become familiar with the Bluebook, and enriched the fundamental skills of legal research and legal writing.

“I know the lessons I’ve learned will help me immensely at Bodman, both this summer and post-graduation,” she said.     

El Badaoui said that when she was selected as editor-in-chief, she knew her “hard  work had paid off and I could be proud of the legal writing skills and leadership skills I accumulated throughout law school.

“Our team has a lot of exciting things planned for Volume 97 and I can’t wait to see those ideas come to fruition. I’m excited and thankful to be working alongside a group of powerful, smart and kind women. Given that 2018 has been deemed the Year of the Woman, it seems fitting to have the first all-female Detroit Mercy Law Executive Board in almost two decades! It’s going to be an exciting year.”   

She will capitalize on skills learned as the Student Bar Association executive treasurer, an experience that enhanced El Badaoui’s understanding of the law school’s administrative process and how the practical aspects of running an organization contribute to a well-rounded curriculum.    

A junior member of Moot Court and secretary of the Middle Eastern Law Student Association as a 2L, she will serve in her 3L year as WLAM-Wayne Region Liaison on the Women’s Law Caucus Executive Board.

“My goal is to bring the relationships I develop with successful female attorneys and ideas generated for helping women lawyers to the school as part of a never-ending effort to encourage women in the profession to succeed and grow,” she said.    

El Badaoui was born in Beirut, Lebanon, amid the repercussions of civil war.

The family immigrated to the United States soon after her birth and lived in Tampa for four years, before moving to Canada.

When El Badaoui was 19, the family moved back to the U.S. to be closer to family in Michigan, making their home in the Detroit suburb of Northville.   

“I’m the proud daughter of Lebanese immigrants,” she said. “My parents’ robust work ethic and resilience have allowed me to take every opportunity the United States has to offer — especially higher education. Despite being the first member of my family to attend law school, my parents never cease to amaze me with their support and guidance.”   

El Badaoui’s brother Ralph has followed in his sister’s footsteps and is a 1L at Detroit Mercy Law.

“Together we hope to encourage first-generation immigrants and minority students to be the first in their families to start new paths and reach career milestones,” she said.     

In her free time, El Badaoui enjoys spending time with friends and family, volunteering at St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Livonia and discovering new restaurants.

“I think Detroit is a city for foodies and it’s always fun to go out to eat with friends or family and support local restaurants and businesses,” she said.


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