Advocate: Law grad aims for criminal justice career

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

After enjoying an elective Criminological Theory class during undergrad at Oakland University, Tiffany Storm changed her major to criminal justice with concentrated studies in corrections and rehabilitation, and research on causes of recidivism, crime policy, and the re-entry process. 

“The class captivated me and lit this spark that just had me so thirsty for more knowledge about the field,” says Storm, the youngest of three children, and the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, followed by a J.D.

“The professor—Dr. Amanda Burgess-Proctor—honestly gets so much of the credit for my career trajectory because she brought so much to life in me that I didn’t know existed. I was a social work major taking that class as an elective, and I changed my major not even half way through the term. I think I’m so passionate about it because so many of us have been impacted by the justice system—in either a positive or negative way.”

During undergrad, Storm interned at a youth facility, and was hired in to work in the boot camp with young men who had been ordered to the facility. She was promoted through that position into working in the family court reentry process, where her primary role was to identify and address factors such as environmental, educational, financial, that would prevent an adjudicated youth from being successful in the community. 

“Sometimes this meant going to their home and helping their parents with things like finding a class that would help them learn to read, sometimes it meant going to the school and meeting with the academic team—any barrier to success I’d work to address,” she says.

Storm, who graduated in May from Detroit Mercy Law, started there as a part-time student in 2017—working weekdays as a legal assistant for defense attorney Jonathan Paul and then driving downtown for the evening class.

“I loved criminal law so much in every capacity I’d ever worked in, so it felt like a natural next step,” she says. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have gone to law school while still working to support myself and my son, and UDM gave me that opportunity.”

During law school, Storm served as president of the Criminal Law Society where she particularly relished the mock hearings

“The Criminal Law Society is so interesting because it brings people from all mindsets and professional paths to one place,” Storm says. “There are times we have prosecutors, former prosecutors, and law enforcement officers discussing one aspect of criminal law, and then a defense attorney, conviction integrity team, or even former prisoners talk about the same thing from a completely different angle.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID, there hasn’t been much activity with CLS, but I’ve passed the club on to some great people who will certainly do great things.”

Storm also was participated in the school’s Criminal Trial clinic.

“It was really great being able to help offenders in the city of Detroit,” she says

Currently studying for the bar exam, Storm’s next goal is to work in private practice in criminal law, and she also is looking forward to doing pro bono work in Michigan and other states over the course of the next decade.

During the pandemic, Storm has filled the role of middle school supervisor for her 12-year-old son Regan, a virtual learner since February 2020; and also handled her own remote studies.

“Remote classes have given me a sense of having more time as I was commuting from Novi to Detroit every day, but with that ‘extra’ time has come all of the extra roles associated with having a middle school child at home,” she says.
Storm greatly appreciates the opportunity she has enjoyed at Detroit Mercy Law as a non-traditional student.

“As a working single parent to a virtual learning, travel hockey playing pre-teen, law school has been exceptionally challenging, but I did it,” she says. “It’s never too late to start something new.”

Storm makes her home in Novi with her son and a 1-year-old puppy named Deke. In her leisure time, she enjoys travel, watching sports, concerts, and watching Regan play hockey.

She and her son also loved pre-pandemic participation in 5-kilometer races for different causes or organizations, including The Penalty Box Foundation, and Head for the Cure, and look forward to returning to them.

“We have quite the medal collection,” she says.

Prior to the pandemic, she also had been involved for several years with the nonprofit Life Remodeled, revitalizing Detroit neighborhoods by renovating and repurposing former school buildings into opportunity hubs, repairing owner-occupied homes, and annually mobilizing 10,000 volunteers in six days for beautification projects.



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