Magic touch: Law student was an entertainer at Disney World

Law student Bradley Gray worked at The Magic Kingdom Theme Park during undergrad in Florida. He and his wife Irina are pictured joking around with Mickey Mouse.
(Photo courtesy of  Bradley Gray)

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

During undergrad at the University of Central Florida, Bradley Gray was an entertainer at Disney World—and plans to bring a magic touch to his legal studies at Detroit Mercy Law School and to his future law career.

“I grew up going to Walt Disney World every year, so it just seemed like a good fit to go down there for an internship when I had the opportunity,” he says. “Even after 6 years there, it felt as magical and exciting as the first day. I loved getting to interact with guests from all over the world and see how much people were able to be transported into a fantasy world for a vacation.

“I was an entertainer and there was no feeling like getting to pass by the castle in a parade at night under the lights.”

He also worked as a character performer coordinator for Royal Caribbean Cruises.

“I love to travel so getting paid to see the world was an incredible experience,” he says. “I spent almost a year based on a ship that sailed the Caribbean and then another half a year in the Mediterranean. From watching sunsets eating beef patties in Jamaica to exploring Europe on a daily basis it was all very surreal.

“It was also a very good way to get the best customer service training you can ask for.”

Always interested in the workings of government and politics in general, Gray earned his undergraduate degree in political science.

“I collect and read biographies and memoirs of past presidents for fun, so I figured learning about politics was a good fit for me,” he says.

After graduation, Gray moved back to his native Michigan and spent a little over a year as a committee clerk at the Michigan Senate, preparing documents for senators to review during hearings, helping committee chairs keep track of testimony, and recording committee votes.

“I most enjoyed getting to hear people give testimony on issues and bills they were incredibly passionate about,” he says.
He spent close to four years working for Apple, most recently in Novi.

“Apple really is a company that cares a lot for both their employees and customers,” he says. “It was great helping customers find technology solutions to their problems and seeing the delight when you would show them something their device could do they never knew before. The best part, though, was the energy of a new product launch and getting to be a part of that.”

While working in the transportation industry for Ryder System Inc. in Novi, Gray went back to school to earn an MBA, from Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. 

“Wayne State’s MBA program has a great supply chain concentration I believed would help make me more competitive in my industry,” he says. “I’ve always seen myself as a problem solver and working in the transportation industry there’s always a problem to solve for a customer. One of the most fulfilling parts was getting to assist in scheduling shipments of Personal Protective Equipment all over the country during the beginning days of the coronavirus pandemic, for Proctor and Gamble.”

Gray had always intended to go to law school after undergrad—“But I’d taken a few detours and put it off,” he says. “After the birth of my daughter, I decided I didn’t want to teach her to follow her dreams growing up if I wasn’t going to do the same.”

He was excited to start at Detroit Mercy Law last year for its ocation in downtown Detroit and the school’s commitment to giving back to the community.

A part-time 1L student, he plans to switch to full time in his 2L year and take summer classes  so he can graduate with the classmates he started with last year.

He has enjoyed learning various areas of law for different reasons, and is now getting hands-on experience as a paralegal at AT Law Group in Dearborn, writing responses to motions.

“I’m enjoying getting to work in an actual firm and understand how the court system works more than I’d ever get to in a classroom,” he says.

Gray also serves as 1L rep for the Student Bar Association.

“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to represent my classmates to the school,” he says. “I also appreciate the unique position being a rep has put me in to have face time with faculty and be more involved in the school.”

He hopes to extern this summer with a judge or a federal agency; and his career goal is to work for a full-service firm after graduation, or work for the government at either a state or federal agency.

With a good at-home office setup, Gray has been able to meet the challenges of remote learning, and enjoys spending more time with his 16-month-old daughter Clara.

“Watching her grow up is the best thing ever,” he says. “However, I do think something gets missed in not being face to face with professors and missing out of the camaraderie with classmates that comes with being in person.”

Gray has found it an advantage to be a mature student with life experience.

“I know my time management skills at my age, with a family, and after many years in the workforce are much better than they were at 22,” he says. “I think I take law school more seriously, having a family and a lot on the line with my future career. I also think there are areas of law that have been easier to understand from having life experience.”

Gray, who spent his adult life in Orlando, New York, Lansing and Livonia, is originally from Westland in Wayne County. He and his wife Irina, an attorney for a federal agency, recently built a house about five minutes from his childhood home, and close to his parents, sister, and in-laws. While his work, law studies, and parenting a toddler doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, Gray enjoys video games, all things Disney, and travel, and looks forward to returning to traveling again after the pandemic.

“I’ve also seen every Academy Award Best Picture Nominee since 2010 before their respective award ceremonies,” he says.


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