Finding Her Voice


Musical performer aims for legal career as a litigator

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

In the midst of this country’s tumultuous election cycle, Clare Sawicki dreams of joining a future political fray.

“I have my sights set on the political sphere,” she says. “I believe our state – and our nation – deserves politicians who are concerned with issues of social justice and are willing to fight for the rights of individual citizens.”
With that in mind, this rising 3L at Detroit Mercy Law is focused on a career as a litigator as the first step toward her political career.

She is no stranger to standing in front of a crowd, having earned a bachelor of music in vocal performance from Wayne State University, specializing in Italian repertoire and sacred music, and also reveling in jazz and Broadway music.

“Performing has always been a passion of mine,” she says. “I began taking voice lessons at age 13, but have been performing on stage since I was a very young child, participating in community and school theatre, international choirs, bands, and vocal competitions.”

Sawicki’s first career after graduation was as a high school theatre producer and public speaking coach.

“However, I began to notice a pattern – the people whose job it was to make decisions, both good and bad, that affect our daily lives were also people who held law degrees,” she says. “It became apparent that one of the best ways to help people have their own voices heard was to join those lawmakers and litigators, and go back to school for my JD. 

“Rather than a switch of career focus, it’s a re-focusing of my goals – I’ve found my own voice, and now I’d like to help others find theirs. Coming from a strong performance background, I jump at the chance to speak in front of any audience, and look forward to the challenges a courtroom will bring.”

Sawicki is enjoying her law school experience.

“Detroit Mercy Law is more than just a law school – it’s a community,” she says. “The professors and administration are all actively engaged in their students and are always accessible. This sense of community extends to the school’s interactions with the neighborhood, where it has a very positive presence. 

“And the location can’t be beat – Detroit is vibrant and diverse, with boundless opportunities for professional and personal growth, and Detroit Mercy Law places you in the midst of it all.”

Sawicki is following in the footsteps of her father, Michael Sawicki, an alumnus of the same law school and now lead counsel for Allstate Insurance Company, where Sawicki spent the last two summers as a litigation intern.

“It’s given me unparalleled, hands-on experience, for which I’m most grateful,” she says.

When it comes to her passion for music, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – Sawicki’s parents are both singers, and her father is a musician performing around metro Detroit for the past 32 years with the acoustic folk/blue grass group, The Balduck Mountain Ramblers, named after an east side Detroit Park. 

“My father’s been one of my major influences both musically and legally,” she says.   

In addition to joining her parents in the choir at St. Jude Catholic Church, Sawicki has been a guest artist at several Metro-Detroit churches and city functions; and in 2009 had the honor of participating in a joint jazz/choral recording project for the world premier recording of Russ Miller’s Suite Justice, a jazz interpretation of the beatitudes.

The Harper Woods native recalls many childhood weekends spent in Detroit with her parents, brother and sister.

“My parents both grew up within the city limits, and made a point to take us to the museums, festivals, parks, and concert halls regularly, and this fostered a deep love and respect for the city and its people,” she says. “Detroit is a hard working city – the determination and perseverance of its citizens is patently obvious, and you can feel a sense of pride when talking to them. I find motivation in that perseverance and pride.”

Sawicki currently makes her home in Madison Heights in Oakland County, where she is an avid cook, an enthusiastic traveler and kayaker, and still enjoys singing.

“Although the demands of law school have somewhat limited my performing, I’m still performing regularly for private functions, and look forward to getting back into the local theatre community in the coming months,” she says.