Blade runner: Law student has enjoyed long figure skating career

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A figure skater since the age of 8, a participant in synchronized skating from age 15, and a member of the Varsity Synchronized Skating team and Club Figure Skating team at Miami

University in Ohio, law student Mackenzie Clark credits her time on ice for her strong work ethic, resilience, and time management skills.

“The skills I developed during my skating career have certainly translated to my legal studies and helped me achieve my goals,” she says.

A graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School, Clark earned her undergrad degree, cum laude, in political science and government from Miami University where her interest in law was piqued by a political science class, and she became a member of the Amicus Curiae Pre Law Society. 

“I always felt as if the law was hard to understand and complicated—and I wanted to be able to understand the law and advocate for others,” she says.

She dipped a toe in legal waters by seeking out legal jobs to see if she could imagine herself pursuing a career in the field. Working undergrad summers as an administrative assistant at Miller Canfield was “extremely informative and rewarding,” she says.

“As I returned summer after summer, I was given more responsibilities and learned more about different areas of the law,” she says. “The attorneys I worked under were incredibly smart and insightful. They gave me great advice and inspired me to pursue a legal career. I had wonderful experiences that deepened my interest and I never looked back.”

Her next step was University of Detroit Mercy School of Law where she is now a rising 2L and executive secretary of the Student Bar Association. She also is a junior member of both the Moot Court Board of Advocates and Law Review, where she is looking forward to further developing her writing skills and working with her peers.

“I’m also looking forward to contributing to important discussions on legal topics of interest and importance,” she says.

While keeping an open mind as to what kind of law she would like to practice, Clark has enrolled in business law courses for the fall semester to see if this is an area of interest. Her eventual career goal is to serve as in-house counsel for a large business based in Detroit.

Currently interning in Detroit for Judge Terrence Berg in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Clark is thoroughly enjoying the work, despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic.

“I’ve learned so much already and have further developed my research and writing skills,” she says. “I’ve also been exposed to a variety of different court proceedings and different areas of law. I do legal research and write memorandums on issues and cases before the court.

“Although I’m working remotely, I’ve had a challenging and rewarding experience. I’ve been able to interact with Judge Berg and his clerks via Zoom and have received a variety of assignments.”

Clark has enjoyed her law school experience, even though things changed drastically this spring due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The faculty at Detroit Mercy Law are truly inspiring—my professors challenged me, and gave me great advice,” she says.

“It can be hard to stay focused when classes are online,” she adds. “I’m a person who enjoys structure and interacting with my peers. I’ve had to create my own structure and find other ways, like Zoom, to interact with my peers and friends. I try my best to set a schedule for myself and to be consistent. I also make sure to save time for activities I enjoy, like working out, reading, and figure skating. And I enjoy volunteering to help with figure skating events and coaching children so I can give back to the sport that gave me so much.”

A native of St. Clair Shores, Clark currently lives in Grosse Pointe Woods. She is the eldest of four, with a 19-year-old brother, and sisters aged 12 and 4.

“It definitely keeps things interesting being so spread out in regard to age but I enjoy it,” she says.

She also enjoys spending time in the Motor City.

“Detroit is incredibly rich in its history and culture,” she says. “There is so much to learn about the city and it’s incredible to watch it begin to prosper again.”

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