Mirror image – Law student follows in familiar footsteps

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Sabrina Soka had her eyes set on Lady Justice as early as elementary school.

“I had a limited understanding of the role of lawyers, thinking it primarily involved courtroom appearances and dressing up for work,” she says with a smile. “However, as I got older and learned more about the legal profession, I became fascinated by the substantive aspects of an attorney’s role. My curiosity led me to reach out to attorneys for shadowing opportunities and to volunteer at the juvenile court.”

Her interest in the legal field grew significantly, to the point where she recommended that her mother—who had been interested in advancing her education in health care—pursue a legal education instead. Five years later, her mother graduated, magna cum laude, as a Dean’s Fellow from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and is now a managing partner at SokaLawGroup.com, specializing in representing health care professionals in license defense, auditing processes, and complex divorces.

Like mother, like daughter. Soka is now a 1L student and Dean’s Fellow at Detroit Mercy Law.

“I value the tight-knit and supportive community, the meaningful connections I’ve established, and the mentorship opportunities provided through the alumni board,” she says.

Her academic journey started with a degree in business administration, logistics, materials, and supply chain management from Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business.

“My sister, who majored in global supply chain at Wayne State University, provided detailed insights into her day-to-day responsibilities, further fueling my interest,” Soka says. “Beyond mere curiosity, I saw an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Given my inclination for problem-solving, I realized that gaining education in the field of supply chain would significantly enhance my abilities as a future attorney driven by business objectives.”

But after her first semester, the COVID-19 pandemic struck; and although Soka was already on a pre-law path, her choice of undergraduate major was uncertain, when the pandemic highlighted disruptions in the supply chain affecting various industries.

“As someone with aspirations of attending law school and becoming a lawyer, I recognized the integral role of negotiation in this context—a skill employed daily in supply chain operations,” says Soka.

Her entrepreneurial mindset as owner of a small bakery business, coupled with her artistic skills, guided her passion towards the legal field.

“I recognize that within the legal field, I can construct compelling arguments for each side, effectively applying my skills to a professional setting,” she says. “Serving clients in the legal field mirrors the customer service aspect of my bakery business. It involves ensuring effective communication, attentively listening to clients’ requests, comprehending and envisioning their desired outcomes, and translating those ideas into tangible work products.

“Similarly, in the practice of law, I am driven to listen to my clients’ concerns, utilize my skills and expertise as an attorney, and deliver my best work product.”

While working at various law firms—including Secrest Wardle, Dalia Kejbou, and Ayar Law—Soka gained insight into the practical aspects of an attorney’s work and obtained hands-on experience, providing a firsthand glimpse into the daily life of a lawyer.

“These experiences provided me with invaluable skills, including organizing cases, managing client profiles, effectively communicating with and serving clients across different areas of law, and drafting legal documents such as non-dispositive motions and responsive pleadings,” she says.

Her career goal is to secure a position after graduation as a “Big Law” associate, specializing in practice areas such as civil disputes and complex commercial litigation.

“I’m drawn to the practice areas of civil disputes and commercial litigation because I believe they align where I can contribute the most value to my future workplace and clients,” Soka says.

“Leveraging my experience as a business owner, my academic background, and my creative skill set, I’m confident that applying my legal expertise to these areas of law will yield successful outcomes for my prospective clients.”

In her free time, Soka enjoys baking and decorating cakes, traveling to tropical destinations, and searching for unique culinary experiences with the aim of trying new local restaurants.

At the age of 16, she launched Sweets by Sab, a bakery business that allowed her to merge her passion for baking with her entrepreneurial drive. Specializing in crafting pastries for special occasions and client appreciation, she offers a variety of desserts for events, special occasions, gifts, party favors, and more. During the pandemic, she offered gift boxes and implemented contact-free pickup and delivery services to ensure her business would continue to operate despite so many businesses shutting down.

“Through hard work and dedication, I continue to successfully manage and operate my business, applying my skills to serve clients throughout the community,” she says.

A native of Commerce Township, Soka has enjoyed living near downtown Detroit her entire life.

“I’ve developed a deep appreciation and enjoyment for the unique blend of culture, history, and opportunities that Detroit offers,” she says. “The city’s dynamic atmosphere, shaped by its unique blend of history and innovation, is something I find both inspiring and engaging.

“Here in Detroit, the sky’s the limit.”

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