Law grad honored with President's Award


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

From childhood, Iraqi native Ameer Alkhalidi dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

“I realized the law affects every part of our lives,”’ he says. “I always enjoyed reaching out and assisting people with their problems. As a son of two immigrants from Iraq, it was always a goal to make my parents proud and set an example for my siblings by pursuing a professional career in the study of law.”

A recent graduate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Alkhalidi earned his undergrad degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

“Sometime down the road I anticipate running for a judicial position—and realized the best way to learn about how the politics behind such an election would be is to learn more about political science,” he says. 

In order to gain experience about the legal system, Alkhalidi spent 14 months interning at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, in two divisions, Forfeiture and General Trials Unit.

“I learned about the systematic process the county takes when prosecuting individuals for committing certain crimes,” he says. 

Heading to WMU-Cooley in 2015, he appreciated the school’s diverse atmosphere that created an opportunity for him to learn about other people and their backgrounds.

“Cooley’s faculty also made a positive impact on my success,” he says. “The professors all had experience in the practice of law and gave students practical experience as opposed to simply reading from a book.”

At the law school’s recent commencement program, Alkhalidi was honored with the President’s Achievement Award.

“I was humbled and grateful to have been chosen to receive the award among many qualified students in my graduating class,” he says.

“I owe a lot of my success in law school to my classmate Abdullah Farhat,” he adds. “We both enrolled in every class together and motivated each other to stay focused and to never fall off track—fortunately, it paid off for both of us.”

For the past three years, Alkhalidi has clerked at Elia & Ponto, PLLC, in Southfield, a personal injury law firm that specializes in car, truck, bus, motorcycle, railroad and boating accidents; animal/dog attacks; apartment complex injuries; hit and run/uninsured motorist claims; no fault claims; and general negligence. His work includes interviewing clients, following up with correspondence, and drafting legal documents.

“Clerking at Elia & Ponto gave me an opportunity to shift away from the criminal aspect of the law to the civil side,” he says. “I quickly realized my passion for assisting people who have been seriously injured, and as a law clerk, I was able to familiarize myself with a case from beginning to end.”

Alkhalidi makes his home in Dearborn Heights, with his wife and two sons.

“I owe a great deal of my success to my wife and kids who I always kept in the back of my mind as I took on the rigorous hours of studying,” he says. “My kids allow me to stay dedicated where my goal is to provide them with a bright future.

“My wife has always been by my side throughout my experience in law school—even when days were stressful and tough she would reassure me that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s only a matter of time.”