Advocate: Family tragedy sparked interest in pursuing law career


Law student Sara Cipriano has set her sights on becoming a judge within the juvenile court system.

Photo courtesy of Sara Cipriano

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Sara Cipriano was drawn to the law from a young age, after a terrible family tragedy. 

“Unfortunately, a member of my family became a victim to a horrible murder, while other members of my family were hurt along the way,” she says. “Because of this, I was exposed to the justice system very early in my life and began to recognize the importance of law, justice, and morality. 

“During this time, many members of our community came forward to help my family, which has always stuck with me. Seeing justice first-hand and being supported by those around me, I became dedicated to my community, and I hope to one day be a leader and an advocate for justice.”

Cipriano headed into undergrad at the University of Michigan-Dearborn knowing she wanted to later attend law school, and dreaming of one day becoming a judge within the juvenile court system. 

“Because I was involved in the criminal justice system at such a young age, I firmly believe in the importance of giving children a voice within the legal field—and I’m interested in criminal law and family law,” she says.

She started by studying political science as a way to focus on community values as well as understanding the politics behind a campaign. She later took up her major of criminology and criminal justice and fell in love with law all over again. Finally, she picked up her minor in sociology and was mainly interested in learning more about societal influence and communities. 

During undergrad, she interned with Judge Annette Berry at the Wayne County Circuit Court. 

“I loved interning with Judge Berry,” Cipriano says. “She was extremely knowledgeable and inspirational throughout my internship. She was a strong role model and leader for me to look up to for guidance and encouragement. 

“I actually found out at the end of my internship that she was the same judge that came to my high school’s career day, five years prior, and inspired me to become a judge in the first place. I hope one day I can serve my community as much as she serves hers, with kindness and respect.” 

While at U-M, Cipriano—who is a proud “University of Michigan Difference Maker,” an award given to students at the forefront of their fields and communities—enjoyed tutoring students from many different backgrounds. 

“The students I worked with were incredibly nice, sociable, and would always be active in their learning,” she says. “Even if there were age differences, they would find something in common and would help one another inside and outside the classroom. Luckily, I built some very good friendships with those students, and have even hired them to work with me at the Union at Dearborn, as well as within the SI program at Dearborn.” 

Now in her 1L year at Detroit Mercy Law, Cipriano is a member of the Women’s Law Association and the Criminal Law Society. During undergrad, she was Director of Recruitment for the Political Science Association, Treasurer of Victors Move Dance Team, and a general body member of the Pre-Law Association; and also ran the social media accounts for the Political Science Association and Victors Move.

Away from her legal studies, Cipriano loves to paint and draw; and enjoys dancing. 

Originally from the village of Milford in Oakland County, Cipriano has lived and worked in Dearborn for the past four years, and enjoys spending time in Detroit.

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