The write direction: Law student published in State Bar of Michigan's Real Property e-newsletter

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 2L student Nate Mark jokes that his mother felt her argumentative child was clearly destined to become a lawyer. But as Mark progressed from high school to undergrad at Central Michigan University, he developed a real interest in the law.

“Initially I gravitated to social studies and that developed into a strong passion for political science classes,” he explains. “And I always felt passionate about advocacy and activism—whether it was persuading friends to sign a petition or getting out the vote, I enjoyed speaking out when I felt strongly about something.”

With guidance from CMU faculty, Mark started the path towards law school, and landed a scholarship from Detroit Mercy Law, where he enjoys the downtown location that offers opportunities for internships, networking, and prospective careers.

“It’s no secret that law school can be a tremendous financial burden – the school took a chance on me,” he says. “The debt of gratitude I owe is one of the biggest motivations I have to strive for excellence.”

Mark praises the solid classroom education and also the assistance from faculty members beyond the school walls. Professor Jacqueline Hand, for whom he works as a research assistant, introduced him to a former student who is a real estate attorney in Troy and is heavily involved in the Real Property Law Section e-newsletter published monthly on the State Bar of Michigan website.

Offered the opportunity to write an article—“Builder & Developer Beware: Narrow MCPA License Exemption, & Conditional Right to Amend Declaration”—for the June 2016 edition, Mark jumped at the chance of this challenging and rewarding assignment and hopes to repeat the experience soon.

“The best part was not just having it published with my name on the header—the best part was the confidence boost,” he says. “To be able to successfully analyze a current legal issue for the widespread consumption of Michigan real estate attorneys was an unbelievable experience.”

While taking advantage of the multitude of subject areas the law school offers, Mark’s current interest is real estate or entertainment law.

“I want to experience a variety of legal practice areas before I make my mind up what I’d like to specialize in,” he says. “I’m going to soak up as many different classes as possible to be sure I’m making the right choice.”

In an early summer internship at the nonprofit Michigan Community Resources in downtown Detroit—an organization that assists 501(c)(3) nonprofits in getting pro bono assistance from attorneys—he learned about business startup, intellectual property, and tax law.

He spent the second half of the summer interning with Judge Thomas L. Ludington of the U.S. District Court in Bay City, where he put into practice what he had learned in legal writing and civil procedure classes, in a wide variety of topics. He enjoyed networking with the judge and with attorneys, as well as honing his legal writing skills.

“Judge Ludington was so generous with his time and brought me along with him, whether it was to a settlement conference with the parties, a post-sentencing discussion in chambers, or even just grabbing a burrito at a local eatery,” Mark says. “I’m also very grateful to all the hardworking staff—they truly are the ones who keep these offices running.”

A junior member of Moot Court, Mark is looking forward to the spring semester’s Patrick A. Keenan Appellate Advocacy Competition, and hopes to become a part of the national team as a senior member.

“I’m getting endless experience writing extensive briefs and being able to articulate my position via oral arguments,” he says. “I did it first year as part of the G. Mennen Williams Competition and also this past semester as part of an upper level writing course.”

While writing and preparing for these arguments is probably the most daunting, frustrating, and exhausting endeavor of his law school studies, Mark notes it is the most exciting.
“It’s during oral arguments that the hours and hours of time put in materializes into something that most resembles a day in the life of a litigation attorney,” he says.

Mark, who spent his middle and high school years in Williamston near East Lansing, now makes his home in Howell with his fiancée, and enjoys attending school in the Motor City.
“The diversity of this city and my school in particular, has me feeling as at home as I did back at CMU, where I was involved in a multicultural cohort for all four years,” he says.

Mark credits his parents with his success.

“I would not be where I am today if it were not for them,” he says. “Whether it was asking me what I learned at school that day, persuading me to take that extra AP class, or simply encouraging me to keep following my dreams, my parents have always given me life advice that has set me up for success.”

Away from his studies, Mark enjoys cheering for Detroit sports teams. Passionate about digital music, in his undergrad years he worked for a professional deejay company in Lansing. “I’ve been hooked ever since,” he says.

“Though I rarely do shows anymore, I still keep up-to-date with the newest remixes and freshest beats. A fellow deejay once told me, ‘You never quit being a deejay, you just take breaks.’ So when I’m not hitting the books, you might find me playing the music at a party.”

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