Dual purpose: Fellowship ties passion for academics with love for Detroit


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

A “Mock Trial” in high school was Stephanie Stavrou’s first exposure to the legal field—and she was hooked. “Having an opportunity to collaborate with my teammates and advocate for our client was a thrilling experience,” she says.   

The law, however, was not her first work experience. While earning her undergraduate degree in finance, she worked as a customer service representative for First State Bank.

“Finance was an area of passion. It was rewarding in its challenges, and gave me a foundation of knowledge that will be applicable no matter the path my legal career takes,” she says.

Now a rising 2L student at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, Stavrou has always enjoyed learning new things and facing new challenges, looking for a gratifying career that never leaves her feeling unfulfilled.

“Law school has been the answer to those desires,” says Stavrou, who finished her first semester as first in her class. “It’s given me the opportunity to push myself harder and farther than I originally thought myself capable of – it’s been challenging in the most exhilarating way.   

“Being accepted and offered a full ride as a Fellow was a dream. The Fellowship program ties together my passion for academics and my love for the community in Detroit.”

In addition to her studies, Stavrou also relishes the environment.

“The school’s dedication to the community resonates with my passion to help those around me, all while staying connected to the city of Detroit,” she says. “I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life pursuing an education in Detroit, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. This year has exceeded my expectations in every way.”

Participation in student council during high school was sparked by a desire to be involved with her peers and give a voice to their concern—and that experience motivated Stavrou to run for 1L Vice President in law school.
“Being chosen by my peers and having an opportunity to represent my class has been a great honor,” she says.     

Stavrou has not yet decided what area of law she would eventually want to practice.

“I’m embracing the endless possibilities before me,” she says.

Currently she is interested in transactional law, but notes that could change after this summer, externing for Judge Helene White at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The externship will give her the opportunity to see the inner workings of the appeals system, and further develop her legal research, writing, and analytical skills.

“Not only is it exciting to be working in a federal court, but I couldn’t be happier to learn from such a strong, accomplished female,” she says.

Stavrou enjoys reading, baking, physical fitness, and spending time with her large family and close friends.

She also is a brand ambassador for Activate Inc., a marketing and advertising firm.

She has also found time to volunteer with Angels of Hope in Shelby Township, a Michigan foundation that helps thousands of families impacted by cancer. 

“This year has reiterated how truly blessed I am, and motivated me to get involved and give back to my community,” she says.