In Good Voice: UDM Law sponsors 'Evening in Paris' fundraiser


By Gar Willoughby
Legal News

Imagine a Parisian street-scene with cafes, flower vendors, and street artists. Imagine friends lost in an evening of jovial conversation and enchanting music.

On Saturday, April 9, the UDM School of Law will host the 9th Annual Voice for Justice Auction, a fund-raising event sporting a Parisian theme.

Planned for the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle, the event will benefit the school’s Public Interest Law Fellowships.

This year’s theme is “An Evening in Paris.” Guests will be wined, dined, and have the opportunity to win scores of prizes that benefit a very deserving cause, according to organizers.

“The $50 ticket price is by far the biggest nonprofit bargain out there,” said UDM Law Professor Deborah Paruch, co-chair of the event.

Attendees will have the opportunity to silently bid on more than 200 items, including gift certificates for French restaurants, French wines and champagnes, gift baskets, sports memorabilia, electronics, event tickets, social events sponsored by the faculty, and much more!

Participants in the live auction have the opportunity to bid on several exciting and sun-filled vacation packages.

One lucky bidder will win a trip to Paris that includes round trip airfare for two, a $2,000 gift certificate for the Hotel Renaissance Vendome, a Seine River cruise, and a tour package with museum passes. Others, who crave a little southern hospitality, will have the opportunity to bid on a trip to the French Quarter in New Orleans which includes round trip air and lodging at the Hotel

Other French themed vacation packages for bid include: a weekend trio to the Paris Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, a two night stay at the Le Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, and trips as near as French Lick, Ind. or as far away as Quebec, Canada.

Since its inception in 2002, the Voice for Justice Auction has helped fund more than 60 fellowship opportunities for UDM Law students.

The proceeds raised from the auction help pay the stipends of students who desire to give their services full-time over the summer to a number of nonprofit organizations.

The vast majority of student fellowship placements remain in the Detroit Metro region.

Third year law students Mani Khavajian and Jennifer Marquardt both benefited from the fellowship opportunities in the summer of 2010.

Khavajian worked as a legal intern at the Freedom House in Detroit where he helped represent survivors of persecution from around the world seeking legal asylum in the United States.

Marquardt interned at the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office, drafting briefs for felony trial appeals.

Both students were thankful for their fellowship award and felt appreciated at their internship placements.

“I doubt that many volunteers would put in 40-plus hours of legal work a week without any financial gain,” stated Khavajian. “I personally would not have been able to volunteer at Freedom House without the fellowship stipend. Because the legal office was very busy, I was thanked often for the long hours I put in and told that their work could not have been completed without me.”

Agreeing with her classmate, Marquardt said that both the student and the nonprofit organization benefit from the fellowship.

“The student gets not only to gain exceptional legal experience, but also has the opportunity to make a difference working in the public sector that he or she would not get absent the fellowship funding.”

The Voice for Justice Auction is organized annually by UDM faculty and a separate committee of the Student Association.

The event is particularly special, according to Professor Paruch, because of the amount of student involvement.

“The students are the primary fund-raisers for this event,” Paruch said. “They procure the items that we sell. They also work on organizing the event and promoting the auction to the school and the community.”

Tickets for the UDM Law Voice for Justice Auction are $50 per person if purchased online at and $65 at the door.

Contact Denise Hickey, assistant dean of Alumni Relations, for more information: (313) 596-0202 or