Leader: Moot Court Chancellor is committed to public service

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By  Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A rising 3L at Wayne State University Law School, Dominica Convertino's interest in the legal field stems from her passion for politics and public policy; and she hopes to combine these interests by pursuing a career in administrative law.

Convertino started her career trajectory graduating with high academic distinction from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy and women's and gender studies. Her college studies led her to become involved in political organizing and legislative advocacy work. In 2012, she worked on President Obama's re-election campaign as an Organizing Fellow. Shortly after joining the campaign, she was promoted to a leadership position to oversee the campaign's efforts in Livonia.

Convertino spent more than five years  working as a senior banker.

In 2018, she left banking to pursue political and public policy work full time, and went on to manage the first campaign of now-Wayne County Commissioner Melissa Daub (D-Canton). Following her successful District 10 election, Daub selected Convertino to serve as full time Legislative Director. When Convertino started law school in 2020, she transitioned to part-time Legislative Aide, and continues working in that role. She also has volunteered on more than 22 political campaigns over the past decade.

Heading to Wayne Law in 2020, Convertino was elected as a 1L Representative on the Student Bar Association Student Board of Governors (SBG), later serving as the law school's American Bar Association Representative on the SBG Executive Board. As a rising 2L, she was elected treasurer of the Voting Rights and Election Law Society, and as a 3L will serve as vice president. Following her 1L year, Convertino received the law school's Pro Bono Warrior Award for volunteering more than 300 hours of legal work.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed participating in different student organizations," she says, "but the most formative co-curricular for me has undoubtedly been Moot Court."

Ranking first place in the Fall 2021 Moot Court In-House competition preliminary rounds, she finished in the semifinals overall. She was then selected to compete on a national team with fellow Wayne Law student, Amanda Navarre. The two competed in the Michigan State University College of Law Gender and Sexuality Moot Court Competition, highlighting constitutional and statutory civil rights issues concerning LGBTQ+ students. After the preliminary rounds, the two received the highest rank of any team in the competition, and advanced to the semi-finals before narrowly losing to Columbia Law School. Additionally, they each won the competition's Top Oralist Awards.

While Convertino competed as a 2L, she looks forward to running the Moot Court program at Wayne Law as a 3L.

"As I enter my third and final year of law school, I feel incredibly privileged to serve as the next Chancellor of Moot Court," she says. "Moot Court has provided me the space to hone my written and oral advocacy skills during law school, and I hope to offer that same support to our incoming junior members."

Last year, Convertino spent seven months interning at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office Conviction Integrity Unit; and since June has been clerking at the Wayne County Department of Corporation Counsel. This fall, she will work for Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) in Detroit as part of Wayne Law's Holistic Defense Externship.

Earlier this year, she received the Dawn Van Hoek Scholarship from the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) Foundation, and was named an American Bar Association (ABA) Fellow as part of the ABA's Legal Education Police Practices Consortium (LEPPC). As an ABA Fellow, she conducts legal research and policy recommendations for meaningful police reform. She and fellow student Kawkab El-Moussaoui were two of 38 Fellows nationwide—and the only two in Michigan—selected to participate in the program.

"As a policy-minded student, the ABA Fellowship has provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to delve into crucial policy work surrounding police misconduct," she says. "Participating in this program has been a major highlight of my law school experience."

One thing that has remained unchanged is her commitment to a career in public service.

"I firmly believe lawyers have a unique role in improving our legal institutions to prevent and rectify instances of injustice," she says. "After more than 10 years of community and legislative efforts, I understand improvements to law and public policy do not materialize automatically. Instead, they require impassioned, tireless work. As a public interest law student, I'm proud to dedicate my career to doing that work."

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