Leader: Law student spearheads an OutLaws organization


Law student Serena Gupta is interested in marijuana law.
(Photo courtesy of Serena Gupta)

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy Law student Serena Gupta serves as president of the school’s OutLaws organization that serves the needs of the LGBTQ+ community at Detroit Mercy Law. The group recently held a very successful bake sale to raise funds for the Ruth Ellis Center, a Detroit area social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless, and at-risk LGBTQ+ youth.

The OutLaws also held a joint event on Oct. 28, between OutLaws, the Criminal Law Society, the Family Law Society, and Lawyers Lending Hands, of a panel discussion on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Michigan.

“We also are looking into our annual Drag Queen Bingo event, the proceeds of which will be donated to an organization that will be determined soon,” Gupta says.

“I’m very happy at all the new members we have gained this year, as well as the continued efforts and hard work of the old members. I hope to leave Detroit Mercy Law knowing that OutLaws will continue to be in good hands.”

Gupta earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Mandarin from Michigan State University. Although she attended the MSU College of Education she  nixed her plan to enter teaching.

She switched her focus to legal studies, and is now in her 3L year at Detroit Mercy Law School, and a Dean’s Fellow.

Prior to law school, Gupta clerked for a law firm that dealt with product liability and corporate litigation.

“It was a pretty general legal experience that taught me things like document review, proofreading motions, and prepping for depositions,” she says. “My second position was at a legal aid clinic—I wanted to go the opposite direction from my first law clerk position so as to get as much of a rounded experience as I could. This was more contact with clients, drafting my own memos and motions, and appearing on the record in court.

“My third and current position is somewhat of a return to the first position in that it is a business firm, but it’s smaller and deals with a very new area of Michigan law—marijuana. So think of it as a corporate firm, but in a constantly changing and exciting field. I like the marijuana industry—it’s a very exciting time to be in the legal field due to the relatively recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan.”

She would also like to keep up with family law, as a good skill to have and is currently working in the law school’s Family Law Clinic.

And her eventual career goal?

“Superhero for sure, but I’d also like to stay in the marijuana legal field for a while,” she says. “Maybe one day open up a Micro Grow of my own and have a farm-to-table marijuana business that people can come and hang out at.”

Her advice to other students is to focus on whatever area they want to go in.

“If you aren’t interested in litigation, don’t stress about judicial clerkships,” she says. “Similarly, if you see yourself in a courtroom one day, try to get as much courtroom experience and trial preparation in ahead of time.

“I would also recommend applying to firms and internships on your own if you have the time—worst case scenario is you get ghosted, or you have a mediocre interview, but I’d just clock that as preparation for the next interview.”


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