Just the spark: High school teacher inspired student to enter legal profession


Photo courtesy of Angela Kehrig

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

An eighth grade English teacher who was a lawyer-turned educator sparked Angela Kehrig’s interest in the law.   

“I was awestruck by a colorful, brilliant woman who was so stunningly intelligent—but made that intellect attainable,” says Kehrig, a 2L student at Wayne State University Law School.

“This ability to translate immense knowledge, passion, and confidence to impact the world of others is what drew me to this field. It took me years to pinpoint why I wanted to study law—but the power and impact lawyers can harness is compelling to me,” she adds.

“I’ve been surrounded by extremely hard working and intelligent people my entire life. Everyone in my family encouraged me to work hard and become well informed. Lawyers have an amazing way of encompassing all of these qualities, and I want to emulate these characteristics in my own way. Quite a few lawyers I’ve met have this knowledge, assertiveness, and confidence.”

After graduating from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Marine City, where she was in the National Honor Society and on Student Council, Kehrig earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Oakland University. During her undergrad years she interned at the Juvenile Drug Court at Oakland County Circuit Court, and worked as an Oakland University Admissions Ambassador.

After graduation, she took a “gap year” and worked at a chiropractic office, to fund further studies.

“In an amazing example of the ‘butterfly effect,’ this job became a second home, and led to my acceptance to Wayne State, my apartment, and countless connections with industry professionals who I befriended as a member of support staff,” she says.

“I believe my phenomenal experience is indicative of the reality that nearly everything you do prepares you for where you need to be.”

Kehrig appreciates the “practicality” of Wayne Law, noting her professors stress practical application, not just exam preparation.   

“I’m not a career student, I want what I learn in the classroom to have some real world application, or cultivate a new viewpoint,” she says. “My career goal is to improve the world around me. I have the knowledge and drive to make a positive impact, and any career that assists me in accomplishing this will be my goal.”

Kehrig has not yet settled on a specific legal focus.

“I’m trying to find the nexus where my talents, intellect and passions meet,” she says. “I’m very comfortable with construction and business—because I grew up going to work with my Dad, and seeing these fields in reality. However, there are countless fields I know nothing about, and I’m excited to explore my interests throughout the coming year.” 

She recently started working at Johnston, Sztykiel, & Hunt, P.C. in Troy, a law firm specializing in complex civil trial and appellate litigation.

“I’m working with a team of truly exceptional lawyers, with years of experience and viewpoints I’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere,” she says. “Before I secured this opportunity, I applied to and went on more interviews than I ever imagined possible. These good and bad interviews, answered and unanswered applications have helped me to become a better applicant and more aware law student.”

Kehrig was recently elected vice president of Community Outreach in the Women’s Law Caucus at Wayne Law.

“In my undergraduate, I grew through my immersion in Alpha Delta Pi sorority and I can’t wait to bring what I learned to another student organization,” she says.   

A native of Fair Haven, a strip of land on Lake St. Clair, Kehrig now enjoys living in Midtown.

“Detroit has a rich history of turmoil and rebirth that is absolutely fascinating. I love the resiliency of the city,” she says. “On a simpler note, there are countless great restaurants that I’ve been enjoying for study breaks.”   

She has spent several years volunteering to prepare meals at The Ronald McDonald House of Detroit.

“Volunteering is an activity I love, and desperately wish I had more time to devote to,” she says. “The Ronald McDonald House of Detroit is a phenomenal local organization that provides support to individuals in their roughest moments. Friends of Foster Kids is another organization that helps children know they are valued, supported, and that they matter. Monetary donations are helpful and necessary to bolster these organizations, but time is also a valuable currency. These organizations need people to cook meals, stock shelves, and wrap Christmas gifts— and we all have the ability to help in some way.”

Kehrig also is a keen bowler, and over the course of almost 15 years has bowled on lanes all across the state; she also has been a bowling coach at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and at Saint Mary Catholic School.   

“I learned to bowl by spending a handful of Sundays in a moderately dilapidated Algonac bowling alley—In winter, it was a perfect activity to get out of the house,” she says. “It’s a hobby I enjoy immensely. From a competitive perspective, it’s a team and individual sport—you’re scored as a team, but also as an individual. This encourages collaboration and cheerleading your teammates, both for your own sake and theirs. Bowling is a sport you can have fun with even if you’re not the best, and there’s something so pure about an experience being fun, regardless of skill.”