UDM Law student enjoys SBA leadership role


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy law student Michael Valenti is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Toronto lawyer Paul Valenti — who at 89 continues to practice law full time.

“He’s always been a great influence and role model to me,” said Valenti, who spent the summer working at his grandfather’s firm. “His passion and dedication towards his work is unmatched. Growing up with exposure to his legal practice and his principled way of life allowed me to dream of following in his footsteps.”

As a lawyer, engineer, politician and community activist, Valenti said his grandnfather’s “commitment to education and helping those around him is really what drew me to the study of law.”    

Valenti’s interest in law further flourished in his high school years, studying criminal cases and how they impacted the legal world and society in general. The exposure sparked his interest in the study of crime, leading him to earn an undergrad degree in criminology from York University in Toronto.   

He then chose Detroit Mercy Law for its Canadian & American Dual J.D. program, and commutes to classes across the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel from his home in Windsor.   

“One of the best aspects of Detroit Mercy Law School is the collegial environment it creates,” he said. “The school truly represents a tight-knit community where the faculty and administration actually knows who you are and makes you feel at home.”    

Serving as president of the Student Bar Association, Valenti said his goal in the coming year is to create an environment of inclusivity and foster student involvement in all areas of the law school.    

“Sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I remind myself I’m the executive president of the SBA,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge that the role represents and what it means to be in this position. The SBA is the governing body for all student organizations. We play an active role in the funding, management and creation of student groups, social and networking events and community outreach.   

“It’s important to engage in activities within the law school community that don’t represent doing readings or assignments,” Valenti added. “The SBA always encourages participation in our events, meetings and student organizations.”    

A 3L student heading for graduation next spring, Valenti enjoys mentoring first year students.

“Knowing first-hand how challenging law school can be at times, it’s very humbling to be able to pass down tips and advice,” he said. “Helping first year students navigate through the early stages of law school is very rewarding.”    

When serving as a student ambassador for the law school, he enjoys the excitement of prospective students that come for tours.

“I can feel their of sense pride and accomplishment and it always makes for a fun time,” he said.   

Valenti has worked as a student attorney at Danson Recht LLP in Toronto, a firm specializing in commercial, civil and criminal litigation. He has also served as an administrative assistant/social media coordinator for the Steve Moore Foundation in Toronto, created by the former NHL player whose career was cut short in 2004 when he suffered three broken vertebrae and a concussion, among other injuries.

“The best part about working with the foundation is being able to see how much it positively impacts the lives of others, specifically in the area of concussions and head injuries,” Valenti said.     

A sports nut himself, Valenti is a member of the law school’s tennis club, and played football, athletics, and varsity baseball at York University,    

“I can be properly considered a sports fanatic and an amateur athlete,” Valenti said. “Watching and playing sports consumes most of my time outside of law school. As a loyal Toronto sports fan, I’m still waiting to see the Leafs win the Stanley Cup. It might be a while.”

Valenti gives back to his community by coaching and managing minor hockey teams.

“After coaching my first team just after graduating high school, I’ve not looked back and I sincerely enjoy the mentoring role that being a youth hockey coach creates,” he said.