Student eyes career in family law, Islamic law


By  Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

While earning a double major in undergrad at the University of Detroit Mercy, Tuktom Albdair’s interest in political science was in how people in power made decisions. The psychology behind politics pushed her to take criminal justice, psychology, and women gender studies courses, and she then went on to study victimology.

“The ball started rolling and before I knew it, all I wanted to do was something that tied together criminal justice, families, children and women’s rights,” says Albdair, now in her 2L year at Detroit Mercy Law. “I knew the best way to do that was by being a lawyer. 

“My passion grew and continues to grow when I realize how much power attorneys have to influence societal change. The older I got, I became more understanding of the Holy Quran and how Islam is a faith that advocates for women and children. It became almost a spiritual and personal passion to be an attorney that is knowledgeable in both Islamic Law and United States Law. I hope that as a Muslim attorney that observes the hijab and advocates for women and children, I’m able to influence and break barriers for others.”

Her particular interest is in children’s law, family law, and Islamic law. 

“Although Islamic Law is not a field in the United States, it’s a subject I’m fascinated in and hope to further my education in, in the future,” she says. “I can give a whole thesis on Islam and U.S. law—how they correlate and build onto one another.”

With a career goal of working in the public or private sector with a focus on family and children’s law, she spent this past summer as a law clerk at the Michigan Department of Attorney General Children and Youth Division, gaining a well-rounded understanding of child protective proceedings. 

“From the behind the scenes research, to speaking on the record, to drafting an appellate brief, I was able to see a processing from start to finish,” she says. “I especially enjoyed interacting with the judges, referees, and attorneys. They had great advice to give and provided mentorship in various ways. It showed just how well connected the legal profession is, and how even though someone is your opponent on the record, they can be a great ally off the record.”

This semester she will continue working there, and taking the school’s Juvenile Appellate Clinic. She also recently completed the 40-hour General Civil Mediation Training and hopes to continue honing those skills to more advanced ADR settings.

Vice president of the school’s Parents In Law group, she explains this is a supportive and welcoming organization that advocates for not just parents and step-parents, but anyone caring for a child, an elderly, or disabled person. 

“The organization is a community and one of our goals this coming year is to extend resources to Detroit Mercy Law students and emphasize that being a parent or caregiver is not a barrier to becoming a successful attorney, but an honor that will enhance your learning and experience,” she says. 

She also is president of the newly restarted Muslim Law Students Association. 

“I’m very excited to support and bring together the Muslim community at Detroit Mercy Law,” she says. 

Born in Baghdad, Albdair grew up in Dearborn after her parents fled Iraq to seek refuge in the United States, when she was a baby. Her current residence is in Livonia, but she spends most of her time in Dearborn.

“I grew up in the Middle Eastern and Muslim community and will continue to hold that dear to me,” she says. 

Albdair loves to travel, read, and is a film junkie. “Disney holds a special place in my heart,” she says. “I believe travel is an opportunity to gaze at God’s creation. And, literature is another way to expand your mind to another world.”.

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