Career path: Student previously worked as a paralegal in insurance law


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy Law student Brigitte Najor previously worked as a paralegal/legal assistant in insurance defense law, working with such companies as Hanover, Allstate, and State Farm, and found the work rewarding on a personal and professional level. 

 “I was able to participate in mock trials and attended hearings and depositions with attorneys,” she says. 

“Up until trial I was responsible for reviewing and analyzing plaintiffs medical records looking for inconsistencies. It felt like being a detective, in a way.”

The experience also was a way to test the waters for possible law school attendance and a career as an attorney.

“Being a lawyer was—and has always been—my dream, but life happened along the way. I had my children at a rather young age and had to earn a sustainable income,” Najor says. “My brother, who is an attorney, suggested I attend Oakland University and get a paralegal certificate once I completed undergrad. That way I could earn an income and still explore the area of law before investing time and resources in law school.

“My internal requirement for order, justice, and honesty drew me to the law,” she adds. 

“Working in insurance defense you see the both worlds. On one side, you have people who are legitimately injured being denied their rights—and on the other, there are plaintiffs that are clearly not injured, fraudulently making claims which results in the inflated cost of auto and home insurance in Michigan we see today.”

Passionate about literature, Najor started her academic career path with an undergrad degree in English Language and Literature/Letters from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

“Being from a bilingual family—Arabic is my first language—my second-grade teacher was very patient when teaching me to read,” she says. “I have no particular favorite author but I’m more interested in nonfiction biographies and self help and guidance books. Right now I’m reading ‘50 lessons for Women Lawyers from Women Lawyers.’

After earning a degree in paralegal studies from Oakland University, Najor worked in that field for five years, first as a legal assistant at Elia & Ponto PLLC in Southfield; then as a litigation paralegal at Zausmer, P.C. in Farmington Hills; and finally as a litigation paralegal at Vandeveer Garzia, PC, in Troy.

She now is a rising 2L at Detroit Mercy Law, and appreciates the diversity and inclusion the school makes available to students. 

“There are students from different religions, cultures, and various ages,” she says. 

“As a nontraditional student myself, I was very nervous about being back in an academic setting but Detroit Mercy made the transition seamless.”

Najor is externing this summer at the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, with opportunities to go on the record, participate in negotiations and in some matters—with attorney supervision— to lead plea negotiations.

She also is shadowing Assistant Attorney Generals in the Michigan Attorney General’s Financial Crimes division, attending matters relating to financial and economic crimes such as wire fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement; and hopes to land a career there after graduation.

Najor provides an excellent role model for her 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

“I had my children at a young age, and promised myself to show my children that anything is achievable as long as you put in the work and believe in yourself,” she says.

Originally from Dearborn, Najor now makes her home in St. Clair Shores in Macomb County, and enjoys the diversity of Detroit, the food, and the Detroit International Riverwalk; as well as spending time with her husband and children, exercising, yoga, reading, traveling, and Broadway plays. 

“I particularly like Les Miserables and have seen it many times,” she says

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