The primary mission of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation is to support the education of women who show leadership in advancing the position of women in society. Founded in 1983, the WLAMF mission is realized annually through scholarship awards to outstanding women law students attending Michigan law schools. Since 1997, the WLAM Foundation has awarded over $500,000 to 215 women law students.
Profiles of the 2016 Outstanding Women Law Student Awardees of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation
Alexis Bailey, Kimberly M. Cahill Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School
After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, Alexis spent 10 years as an active duty Air Force officer, serving in a variety of assignments including as a test and evaluation analyst and as an Air Force ROTC instructor. She now serves as in the Air Force Reserve as the Liaison Officer Director for the State of Michigan. Since coming to the University of Michigan, Alexis has been actively involved in the leadership of the on-campus student veterans organization, as well as the school’s Student-Funded Fellowships fundraising program. She is a student attorney in the newly-launched Veterans Legal Clinic, and serves as the Book Review Editor for the Michigan Law Review. Alexis intends to pursue a clinical teaching appointment after graduation.
Megan Baxter, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Wayne State University Law School
After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, Megan spent six years working for the Canada Border Services Agency as a Customs and Immigration Officer. Since her acceptance to Wayne State University Law School, she has been the French language interpreter for Wayne’s Immigration and Asylum clinic. She is also a member of the Women’s Law Caucus and has served on the board of the Black Law Student’s Association. This year has been especially busy as Megan has become a member of Mock Trial and a national competitor on Wayne’s Moot Court team. Her goal after graduation is to practice in the areas of banking and bankruptcy.
Katherine Beres, Dickinson Wright Women’s Network Scholar at Detroit Mercy Law
Katherine is a third year law student at Detroit Mercy Law who, since starting law school, has spent her summers interning for a judge in the Wayne County Circuit and working at a pro-plaintiff law firm. She is an active member of the school’s St. Thomas More Society and is a volunteer at St. Peter and Paul Church. Katherine is a Senior Member and Associate Director of the Moot Court Board of Advocates. During her second year of law school she participated in the Children and the Law-Law Firm Program and currently serves as a student attorney in the State Appellate Defender Office’s Appellate Clinic. Upon graduation, Katherine plans to continue her service to others by pursuing a legal career working with families and children.
Roeiah Epps, WLAMF General Motors Scholar at Detroit Mercy Law
Roeiah is a second year evening student at Detroit Mercy Law who has worked for the State of Michigan in Children’s Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Foster Care Licensing for more than 14 years. During her time in CPS, she conducted collaborative research for Wayne State University and the Department of Human Services on teens that frequently are truant from their foster care placements. Roeiah has volunteered for the Michigan Campaign for Justice, Grace Community Church, Eagle Children’s Charities, and the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office, where she assessed meritorious appellate issues of prisoners who were convicted by ballistics evidence from the Detroit Police Crime Lab. Roeiah is passionate about equal representation and will dedicate her legal career to the practice of civil and constitutional law after graduation.
Janiesha Freelove-Sewell, WLAMF General Motors Scholar at Michigan State University College of Law
After graduating from Georgetown University, Janieasha spent three years working as an elementary school teacher in the Teach for America program in Jacksonville, Florida, and was named “Teacher of the Year” by Walmart in 2010. Janieasha moved to Michigan, and spent three years training and mentoring first and second year teachers in Detroit in her role as Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for the Teach for America Detroit program. Since starting law school, Janieasha has served as a TA for LLM Research, Writing, and Advocacy students, an RA to fifty-eight undergraduates in Owen Hall on campus, and a mentor to first year law students. She also serves as a student liaison to the Academic Standards Committee and a member of the Black Law Students and Student Bar Associations. After graduation, Janieasha plans to become a leader in the community by advocating for the underrepresented and underserved.
Jennifer Gallardo, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Western Michigan Cooley Law School
Jennifer is a third year law student at Cooley, where she is an active member of the Student Bar Association, Journal of Clinical and Practical Law, Honor Council, Order of the Graduation Marshals, and the Grade Appeals Board. She is currently interns with the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project and is a law student volunteer at St. Vincent Catholic Charities Immigration Law Clinic. Last year, Jennifer was an intern at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office in the child abuse and neglect division. Prior to law school, Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish language with a minor in Social Work from Western Michigan University. Following law school, Jennifer plans to unite her two passions—Spanish language and the practice of law—into a career in immigration law and policy.
Katila Howard, WLAM Foundation Scholar at Michigan State University College of Law
Katila is a third-year student who previously worked for two years as an elementary teacher with Teach for America – Detroit. While a law student, she has interned for the Honorable Stephen J. Murphy, III at the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan, and former State Representative Rashida Tlaib. In addition to being the Executive Editor of the Journal of Business and Securities Law, Katila is a member of the American Inn of Court and Black Law Students Association. Last semester, Katila externed for the Honorable Judge David McKeague of the United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit. Currently, Katila is externing for the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Katila plans to practice business/corporate law after graduation.
Katie Joh, WLAMF General Motors Scholar at University of Michigan Law School
Katie’s primary interest is in child welfare law, which led her to the Children and Family Law unit of the Boston public defender’s office as an intern. She has also been active in related fields of child advocacy: she serves on the board of a pro bono project that supports students in local K-12 schools facing expulsion and long-term suspension, and has also worked in the Michigan Law Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, a medical-legal partnership that provides legal support for structural causes of children’s health problems. This semester, she is interning at the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, working in its education litigation office. After she graduates, she hopes to use her law degree to continue to advocate for court-involved children and families.
Michelle Lenning, WLAMF Dawn Van Hoek Scholar at Wayne State University Law School
Michelle has spent the last sixteen years working as a board member and volunteer for the Godmother’s Organization, a group that provides social, emotional and financial support to foster children throughout the state of Michigan. Since coming to Wayne Law, she has continued her commitment to public interest law, volunteering for the Michigan Supreme Court, Foster Care Review Board, and establishing the first interdepartmental Child and Youth Advocacy Group at Wayne State University. She also serves on the executive board of the Women’s Law Caucus as the VP of Community Outreach. Most recently, Michelle founded and is the executive director of the Fostering Change Foundation, a nonprofit that assists aged-out foster youth with housing, tutoring and scholarship. Michelle plans to do child advocacy work in Washington D.C. after graduation.
April McKie, General Motors Scholar at Western Michigan Cooley Law School
A third-year student of WMU Cooley Law School, April has demonstrated leadership in serving as President of the Auburn Hills campus Black Law Students Association, including spear-heading several community service and educational outreach programs. In addition, April has supported Cooley’s Family Law Assistance Project and Estate Planning clinics in child advocacy, family law, domestic violence, and estate planning representation of under-served, legal-aid eligible clients. After graduation, April plans to work with women and minority small businesses and startups in the Metro Detroit area.