Former sales specialist now pursuing Dual JD degree

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With an interest in history and business, Jameel Amer earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in political science from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario— studies he says allowed him to focus on both these areas while also looking closely at human nature and what motivates people, and countries at large, to operate in the way that they do.

Wanting an intellectually stimulating career, he then set his sights on earning a law degree.

“I was the family's advocate from the beginning and would never stay quiet about what I stood for,” he says with a smile.

While pursuing his master’s degree, with a focus on comparative politics, many classes had to do with the relationship between Canada and the United States—further sparking his interest in the relationship between the two countries.

After working in a client-facing sales role in Canada for three years, when presented with the opportunity to be a part of the Dual JD program offered by Detroit Mercy Law School and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, he jumped at the opportunity.

“One thing I’ve grown to love about the program, and law school more broadly, is that every professor wants to see you succeed—whether that’s doing well in class or getting opportunities outside the school,” he says. “It’s such a welcoming community. As stereotypical as it might sound, the administrative staff and faculty all want to see you succeed and are always willing to help you navigate all the hurdles a legal career may hold. Katie Fisher deserves a special mention, the Director of the Dual JD program, whose open-door policy and understanding nature have helped me navigate through law school.”

Last summer, Amer interned at the 16th District Court in Livonia, an experience he terms “amazing and informative.”

Originally, he and a fellow student were only supposed to shadow Judge Sean P. Kavanagh, then soon found out they were also able to shadow Judge Kathleen J. McCann.

“Learning from two district court judges was such an eye-opening experience. Both judges would always graciously take the time after their docket, to take any questions or comments we had,” he says.

The supervisor of the two interns, Patricia Burklow, official court recorder for Judge Kavanagh, allowed them to experience the entire courthouse—“To not just sit in on hearings but also sit with city and state prosecutors and pick their brains,” Amer says. “A major highlight was having the opportunity to work under State Prosecutor Maria Mourad. Understanding how eager we were as law students to get
involved, Ms. Mourad gave us access to her cases and allowed us to read them over, brief them, search the relevant statutes, and then make recommendations to her.

“My time at the 16th District Court made for a great learning experience for which I’m truly grateful.”

Currently undecided as to whether he prefers litigation or transactions, Amer is now interested in corporate law—having developed a growing interest in business during his three post-grad years working at Rogers Communications, a Canadian communications and media company in Mississauga, Ontario.

“While working at Rogers, my manager, Leonardo Avila, would always ask me, ‘Do you want to be an asset or a liability?’ Those words, often said before roping me into handling a tedious task nobody else wanted, have ironically become my guiding philosophy,” Amer says.

“It’s partly why I’m in the Dual JD program, to stand out and one day, be able to offer the firm I work for the flexibility of having a lawyer licensed in both Canada and the United States. A career goal is to be a leader and asset to any firm I join.”

Amer is working in the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, assisting supervising attorneys with ongoing cases, conducting legal research, and preparing for case management conferences.”

A member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, he also serves as vice president of external relations for Law Students Without Borders, and says he was instantly drawn to the organization.

“I resonated with the global mission the organization is trying to further—advance the global rule of law, build capacity and integrity in the world’s justice sectors, and support transitions and development,” he says. “Working under President Malak Tehaili and Vice President Naime Sayde has made the experience all the better. They make it so easy for the whole team to contribute and shape the development of the organization.”

Originally from the Canadian city of Mississauga, Ontario—neighboring Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario—he is living in Windsor during law school.

His hobbies include watching and playing sports, especially soccer, basketball, and football. Additionally, being a foodie, he enjoys exploring all the restaurants in Detroit—highlighting San Morello, an Italian restaurant, as his top pick. “Watching a live football game in the U.S. is unlike any other sporting event I’ve ever been to. A regular season game against a team like the Seattle Seahawks had the intensity and excitement of a playoff atmosphere,” he says.

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