All business: Student is drawn to litigation, transactional law


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Danielle Chidiac’s father immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon in the 1980s and started a construction business.

His daughter grew up seeing first-hand the many legal aspects involved in owning and maintaining a business, piquing her interest in business law.    

After earning her undergraduate degree in political science and government from Oakland University, Chidiac headed to Wayne State University Law School, where she recently completed her 2L year.    

“I love the support system —whether it’s a professor, administrator, or peer, everyone is so kind and encouraging,” she said. “I’m constantly learning about the law and discovering new areas that interest me. While I don’t know specifically the area I want to go into, I’ve gained amazing experience in both litigation and transactional law and I’d be happy to practice either.”   

Chidiac got a taste of litigation work last summer, as a research clerk at Plunkett Cooney in Detroit, and returns this year as a summer associate.

And this past semester, she gained transactional law experience in the school’s Business and Community Law Clinic that provides free legal services to current and prospective small business owners in Detroit and Flint.

The resources include free legal information sessions, on such topics as forming and maintaining a corporate entity type.

“By providing free legal information, our aspiring small business owners felt more confident to continue their work,” she says. “Being a part of that confidence reaffirmed my career path.”     

President of the Entrepreneurship and Business Law Society —where attorneys from the state bar’s Business Law Section discussed their career experiences with students
— Chidiac enjoyed mentoring 1L members.

“I was always available as a resource for any question or concern about navigating the first year of law school, including being a liaison for the student members and outside attorneys,” she said.    

An assistant editor on the Wayne Law Review — and in the coming year, executive articles editor — Chidiac’s Note about anti-assignment clauses in no-fault insurance contracts will be published in the upcoming edition.

“It was one of my favorite activities this year,” she said.    

Last fall’s judicial internship for Judge Bernard Friedman at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan showed Chidiac more about the federal court system and how a judge makes decisions.

Her duties included drafting orders and opinions deciding motions to dismiss and observing court proceedings, including oral arguments, trials and settlement conferences.

She also has interned at the Southfield tech firm of Stefanini, and clerked at Potestivo & Associates in Rochester.   

Away from her studies, Chidiac enjoys running, playing with her 6-month-old Pomeranian puppy, and cooking — and is working on a cookbook she hopes to publish after law school.

“I enjoy cooking Italian food, or I’ll just make up my own recipes and create a meal from various things in my fridge or from vegetables and spices from the local farmers’ market,” she said.   

This life-long resident of Macomb relishes what she terms the “busyness” of Detroit.

“Whether it’s group workouts, pop-up shops, or walking around Campus Martius, there’s always something to do in the city,” she said. “The revitalization of Detroit is awe-inspiring, and I can’t wait to continue to watch how the city grows.”