Student eyes career in family law, Islamic law


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

While earning a double major in undergraduate school at the University of Detroit Mercy, Tuktom Albdair said her 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

“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,” said 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,” she said. “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 said “I can give a whole thesis on Islam and U.S. law — how they correlate and build onto one another.”

Albdair particularly appreciates faculty at both UDM and the Detroit Mercy Law.

“I have a lot of ambitious goals I hope to accomplish — one of them is teaching, and that is inspired by my professors,” she said. “To say the Detroit Mercy Law faculty care for their students is an understatement. There is a purpose to build personal and professional connections. In class and during occasional conversations, I always felt like I truly belong in this field and at this university.”

With a career goal of working in the public or private sector with a focus on family and children’s law, Albdair spent this past summer as a law clerk at the Michigan Department of Attorney General Children and Youth Division, gaining an 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 said. “I especially enjoyed interacting with the judges, referees, and attorneys. They had great advice to give and provided mentorship in various ways.”

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, Albdair 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 said.

Albdair 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 said.

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 said.

She enjoys Detroit and the culture and food available in the Motor City.

“I love trying new restaurants and attending events,” she says. “Detroit businesses are also very accommodating to halal preferences — there’s an abundance of halal options in different cultural foods, a blessing only a few other major cities share.”

While many of her family members live in Iraq or other countries, she is close to her parents, two brothers, and her sister — and is the proud mother of a pre-schooler.

“My daughter Sophia is 2 years old and the friendliest, happiest, smartest child I’ve ever met — she is my purpose and the reason I do everything that I do,” she said.

“Without my mother’s constant love and support I would not be able to be a ‘parent in law.’ Out of pure love and support, my mother has put aside her own life to tend to Sophia’s needs so I can focus on law school. She has never complained. If anything, she has gotten upset when I decide not to study and just play with Sophia. She always says that now is my time to put in hard work, so that Sophia’s future is because of my success.”


Subscribe to the Legal News!

Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more

Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year

Three-County & Full Pass also available