Student trains his focus on health, corporate law

Law student Daniel El-Sibai previously worked in corporate contract sales for Bell Canada.


Photo courtesy of Daniel El-Sibai

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy Law School rising 2L student Daniel El-Sibai launched his career trajectory by earning his undergrad degree in public health from Wayne State University. 

“What drew me to this was the differences in the health system between Canada and the United States and wanting to be a necessary change in public health policies and health care, bridging the two countries together,” he says. 

El-Sibai worked in corporate contract sales for Bell Canada. 

“Working for ‘the bell’ has taught me invaluable lessons, from connecting with diverse people, negotiating contracts, performing terms of sales agreements, building a repertoire with the team, and networking with large corporations throughout Canada,” he says. 

“What I enjoyed most was the opportunity to deal with various groups of people with different needs, whether it was a large corporation, small business entities, or regular consumers. I was exposed to a different environment every day, which has made me more personable towards—and understanding of—others. My work also ignited my desire to further my contracts and negotiations career.” 

El-Sibai worked throughout his undergraduate studies to help support his family, and continues to work during law school.

“This comes with many challenges, but it's a mind-over-matter situation,” he says. “If you discipline yourself, you can do anything, as we are remarkable human beings.”

An internship at Advantage Health Center, a nonprofit health care group providing medical aid to lower-income and impoverished communities, inspired El-Sibai to study law. He interned with chief executive officer and lawyer Nina Abubakari, an experience that subjected him to a new realm of health law and contract law, sitting in on negotiations between the organization, other companies, and agencies. 

A resident of Windsor, El-Sibai is currently enrolled this side of the border, in the single JD program at Detroit Mercy Law School. 

“What drew me to enroll in the single JD was my connection to Michigan and wanting to become a more significant part of its community,” he says. “I was born and raised in Windsor, and I still reside there as I commute daily to Detroit. I hope to one day permanently move to Michigan. 

“What I love most about Detroit Mercy Law is its dedication to educating the complete lawyer—it starts with the faculty and transcends to the curriculum and the student body,” he says. “The school provides a unique learning experience with its diversity and being in the heart of metro Detroit. The support I've received from my professors and classmates, as a Canadian student pursuing a single JD, has been heartwarming and genuinely makes the school phenomenal.”

El-Sibai’s interests and focus are corporate law and health law—in particular, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and medical malpractice. 

“This is an ongoing learning process as the opportunities are endless, but my experiences in life have driven me to this particular path,” he says. “I have multiple career goals, as there are many different pathways to take with a JD. My first goal is to one day make partner at a large firm, later move into a business advisory role, and eventually teach at Detroit Mercy Law. Teaching will give me the most satisfaction once I've achieved my other career goals, as I can give back and guide students like I've been taught through my process.”

El-Sibai serves as the 1L vice president of the Student Bar Association; and as a class representative for the Arab American Law Student Association. 

“Both these roles are rewarding in their ways—being an advocate and leader for my class is something I hold with great honor, and being able to represent my culture in the form of the law brings me joy,” he says. 

While the pandemic was a challenging time, it inspired El-Sibai to return to school and pursue his dream of a law degree. 

“During this time, I self-reflected on what I wanted to do with my life, my goals and aspirations, and my initiatives,” he says. “I was out of school, working my current job. The pandemic took me out of work for a whole year, which made me realize I wanted to continue my education.”

El-Sibai is very close to his parents, Jamil and Fatima, who immigrated to Canada during the Lebanon Civil War; and to his siblings: Moe, Hussein, and Deanna.

 “Family is everything to me—my parents and siblings are my best friends,” he says. “I’m lucky to have grown up with such a tight-knit family who have always been supportive of all my endeavors. My biggest motivation in pursuing a law degree is to give back to my parents and take care of them like they’ve taken care of us throughout my life.”

In his leisure time, El-Sibai loves going on adventures.

“When I’m not spending my money on tuition, I use it to travel, particularly backpacking multiple countries. My goal is to visit a majority of countries throughout my life,” he says. “My latest backpack tour was Europe, where I visited six countries in two months. 

“I’m also a huge sports guy—I played and watched sports all my life, and it's still something I am still very into, in particular, basketball and football.” 

He is also a big fan of the Motor City, including its sports events, cuisine, and shows.

“I love being involved in the community—this is what drew me closer to Detroit,” he says. 

“I’ve done many community engagement activities for DRMM, Rebuilding Detroit, Red Cross, and Focus Hope throughout my time here. Giving back to the community helps others in need and reminds us to be humble and grateful for how far we’ve come.”

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