Irish eyes: Student looks forward to challenges of law career


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy Law student Jessica Finegan is serving as treasurer on the school’s newly reinstated Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers (ISIAL).

“I was approached to be on the executive board, and am excited to start working with the Michigan Bar Chapter to help enhance their law student membership,” she said. “The networking events I’ve been able to go to have been great and I’m excited for the events to come!”     The 2L student also is involved in Law Review, and enjoys the freedom it entails.

“It’s cool to be in control of your research and to be able to do extensive study on a topic you’re genuinely interested in,” she said. “It’s an awesome way to get out of your comfort zone and enhance your research and writing skills in a way I didn’t even know I could.

“It’s also a great opportunity to get work published while you’re still in school, and I’m really striving for the piece I’m working on the be published in next year’s edition.”

The first in her family to get a bachelor’s degree and first in her family to attend law school, Finegan earned her undergraduate degree in history from Central Michigan University, and in 2013, spent a semester at Edge Hill University near Liverpool in England.   

“My family came to visit, and we were able to travel to Dublin — a great way for my family and I to connect with our Irish ancestry,” she said. “Although it’s unclear as to which Irish city our ancestors immigrated from, it was still amazing to have been on Irish soil with my family. I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anybody else.”   

She found an American history class at Edge Hill to be a unique experience.

“It was weird — in the best way possible — to be in a room of people who hadn’t grown up on the subject, and to hear a totally different perspective from a group of non-Americans,” she saids.

Finegan wanted a career where she could constantly learn and be challenged.

“I think a career in the law will give me exactly what I’m looking for,” she says.

She is enjoying her studies at Detroit Mercy Law.

“The community feeling is amazing — your professors as well as your peers really want you to succeed,” she said. “And it doesn’t hurt that it’s at the heart of downtown. I love this city, and I’m proud to be here to witness all of the strides Detroit is making towards a new era.”

At this point in her studies, Finegan does not yet have a specific legal focus.

“I’d like to work in the public sector in some capacity, but I really haven’t found my niche yet,” she said. “I want a career in an area of law that challenges me. I want to be constantly learning and developing my skills to better myself every day.”   

She is excited to be a part of Moot Court.

“We’re at the early stages of Moot Court, so we’re still getting our feet under us, but I’m really excited to use this as an opportunity to become a better and more confident speaker,” she said. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.”   

A native of Macomb Township, Finegan now makes her home in St. Clair Shores. In her leisure time, she loves to golf, and to spend time on the ski slopes.

“My parents really instilled in me a love of skiing, and I try to make it out to Colorado as much as I can to get to the mountains,” she said. “It’s very relaxing and a great way to challenge yourself physically.”