Passion for social justice spurs student's interest in legal field


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

TV shows such as “Flip-or-Flop” and “Million Dollar Listing” initially sparked DeLon Slaughter’s interest in real estate—leading to more than 8 years of YouTube binging on real estate-related videos.

“Videos ranging from ‘Life as a Realtor’ to ‘Different Careers in Real Estate’ kept me intrigued and eager to learn as much as possible,” says Slaughter, a licensed real estate salesperson for the past 6 years with MBC Real Estate Company in the Greater Detroit area. “What I enjoy most about real estate is that you never stop learning—this has held true for me as both a Realtor and an investor. As a Realtor, no transaction is the same; and as an investor, no home is the same—once you tear down a wall, there’s no telling what is behind it.”

So, it’s no surprise that real estate development is a particular interest for this 3L student at Detroit Mercy Law.

“There are more than 20,000 vacant lots in the city of Detroit,” he says. “As a developer, I will help revive my city by building homes, grocery stores, community centers, and other developments that will revitalize neighborhoods across the city, while simultaneously, not displacing any indigent residents.”

Slaughter began his academic career by earning his undergrad degree in sociology from the University of Michigan, with a minor in law, justice, and social change.

“I’ve always been interested in the study of humankind and different social groups,” he says. “My passion for social justice and change made declaring a major and minor that studied the intersection of all three an easy decision.”

As part of his studies, in 2018 Slaughter interned at the Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender in Ann Arbor, where he prepared case/client summaries for supervising counsel, and assisted in managing a caseload of over 50 families by scheduling court dates, drafting court notices, and following up with clients by e-mail and phone.

“What I enjoyed most was the daily face-to-face interactions with our clients,” he says. “I also enjoyed getting a ringside perspective into the day-to-day operations and workloads of public defenders.”

In 2020, Slaughter headed to Detroit Mercy Law, drawn to the study of law by the versatility of a juris doctor degree.

“The skill set and knowledge we learn in law school can be applied in any professional and/or personal arena,” he says. “I’m excited to employ these in real estate practice post-graduation.

“What I enjoy most about Detroit Mercy Law is the sense of community—specifically, the wide range of student organizations on campus. There are several culturally and career-based student organizations that help instill a sense of both belonging and social connection amongst the students. My involvement in both the Black Law Student Association and the Student Bar Association have created this sense of community for my law school journey.”

During the pandemic, Slaughter coped with the challenge of remote studies by getting outside as much as possible.

“Being in front of a monitor for 4 to 6 hours a day in class can be depressing,” he says. “Taking advantage of every opportunity to get outside of the house during the pandemic helped me maintain my sanity.”

Slaughter notes his family is very important to him.

“They have been a key element in my journey thus far,” he says. “I’m forever grateful for my family—blood related and friends who later became family.”

Slaughter gives back to the community by volunteering at a warming center and a bi-weekly feeding ministry through his church, Oasis of Hope Detroit.

“I’m semi-ashamed to say I’ve not discovered a hobby yet—however, if I had to choose one, it would be sleeping and recharging,” he says with a smile.

The lifelong Detroit native appreciates the resilience and loyalty of Motor City residents.

“There has always been a spotlight on the city. However, up until the past 2 to 3 years, the spotlight has only highlighted the negative,” he says. “Despite the recent favorable highlights of the city, Detroiters have maintained the same caliber of loyalty to both our city and sport teams.”

From July 2019 to June 2020, Slaughter was a member of City Year Corps

“I loved every moment of being able to serve with City Year Detroit,” he says. “Through this program, I was able to create an after-school program, Boyz-to-Men, that focused on the personal development of 6th to 8th grade boys, organize a coat and glove drive for the students, and ultimately be a support system for all of my students.”

In the winter semester of his U-M freshman year, Slaughter went to the Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson weekly and discussed different financial literacy topics.

“I enjoyed this experience because it was not only me discussing the topics. Many times, they would educate me on various financial literacy topics as well.”

He also volunteered as a financial educator with Project Outreach.

“My primary function was to first survey the inmates at Cooper Street Correctional Facility that were in my class, see where interests in financial literacy lay, create a lesson plan that covered these areas effectively, and then finally reflect on how well they received the content each session for 15 consecutive weeks.”

Slaughter also has spent 6 years as Community Service Chair for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at the University of Michigan.

“One of the best decisions I made as an undergraduate was pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.,” he says. “Being around a community of like-minded Black men with different outlooks of life, coming from various backgrounds, but collectively have a goal bettering themselves and their respective communities, has been a rewarding experience.”


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