Touchdown: Former U-M football player now pursuing a law degree


Detroit Mercy Law School student Josh Wilk was a Varsity football captain at De La Salle High School in Detroit, and in the spring of his University of Michigan freshman year went through an open walk-on tryout and made the Wolverine team.
(Photo courtesy of Josh Wilk)

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

A 1L Dean’s Scholar at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Joshua Wilk grew up working as a golf caddie at Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods, spending most weekends carrying golf bags of prominent doctors, lawyers, and businessmen and women in the Detroit area. Because of their extreme generosity, Wilk was able to attend the University of Michigan as an Evans Scholar sponsored by the Western Golf Association, and lived in a house with 60 other golf caddies on the same scholarship program.

So it was perhaps no surprise Wilk chose Sport Management as his major, although this also was due to smaller class sizes that provided a close-knit community in the midst of the enormity that is the U-M campus.

“It was an intriguing area of study to me being at the nexus of sport and business,” Wilk says. “This ultimately led to me pursuing a minor in business from the Ross School of Business as well.”

A varsity football captain at De La Salle High School in Detroit, where he played quarterback and safety, Wilk pursued his dream of joining the Wolverine gridiron squad.

In the spring of his U-M freshman year, he went through an open walk-on tryout and made the team.

“I ended up playing for the entire spring practice cycle under Coach (Jim) Harbaugh before retiring to have shoulder surgery and return to the intramural fields with my roommates,” he says.

Throughout undergrad, Wilk worked in operations, marketing, and sales with the Michigan PGA, Home Team Sports, Fox Sports Detroit, MassageLuxe, and Michigan Dining.

“I realized many of the skills I’d been taught from a multitude of influential people could be put to greater societal use through the law,” he says. “My brother Paul is a lawyer at Kitch, Drutchas Wagner, Valitutti & Sherbrook PC in downtown Detroit and a graduate from Detroit Mercy Law as well. Being able to look up to him and the Lochmoor members I caddied for led me to believe I could make a more lasting and prominent impact on the city of Detroit through the law also.

“I chose Detroit Mercy Law due to my brother’s positive experience, the ability to remain close to my family, and my love for the city of Detroit,” he adds. “The faculty has been tremendous in helping us to feel welcome into the Detroit Mercy Law community by always being available. It’s bizarre to think we’ve not been to an in-person law school class and are a full year in. I’m extremely eager to meet all my colleagues in person when we are able to.”

This summer, Wilk will intern with Justice David Viviano at the Michigan Supreme Court.

“I’m excited to gain experience this summer in multiple different areas, but am thinking that real estate, corporate, or tax law may be potential routes with the goal of becoming a judge down the line,” he says.

Wilk also continues his work as a licensed real estate agent with the brokerage firm of O & Smythe LLC that focuses on multi and single family housing throughout Metro Detroit.

“Real estate has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in the Detroit community. I enjoy the ability to play a part in restoring the beautiful homes and neighborhoods, especially Jefferson Chalmers,” he says. “Being able to see a project from start to finish and to recognize the transformation after putting in hard work has been very rewarding.

“My dad, a retired firefighter, has instilled in me the ability to be handy and real estate has been my avenue to put this to good use.

Brian Owen, the broker, has given me tremendous freedom to grow and manage other projects and businesses of my own.” 

Wilk enjoys watching the ongoing revival of the Motor City, and especially enjoys spending time on the riverfront and on Woodward; and plans to move downtown once classes and work move towards being in-person.

In his leisure time, he enjoys playing any sport—mostly golf—hiking, running, and visiting local breweries.


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