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Wayne Law alumnus credits clinic experience for his new job in business law

March 06, 2014

Adam Blaylock, a 2013 Wayne State University Law School alumnus working at Tomkiw Mackewich PLC helping business owners, credits his hands-on clinical experience during law school with helping him get the job.

His experience as a student-attorney in Wayne Law’s Business and Community Law Clinic gave him the kind of hands-on training that employers look for when they’re hiring, he said.

“My work with Wayne Law’s business clinic helped tremendously,” Blaylock said. “The clinic offered me an opportunity to obtain real experience with real clients and real legal issues. Law school prepares someone to think like a lawyer and know the law, but the clinic provided practical context that is invaluable in the workplace. That practical context provided me a leg up in interviews. I am confident that without my experience in the clinic, I wouldn’t be working where I am now.”

The Business and Community Law Clinic, under the umbrella of Wayne Law’s Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law, prepares students for real-world practice. Working under the direction of experienced attorneys, the students serve as lawyers to for-profit and nonprofit clients, acting as counselors, advising on both business and legal matters. In addition to direct client representation, clinic students also engage in research and other activities that support entrepreneurism in Detroit.

Attorney Andrey Tomkiw, a 1992 Wayne Law alumnus and co-founder of the Royal Oak firm where Blaylock works as an associate attorney, said he finds that Wayne Law students often seem to best fit the needs of his firm.

“We conduct on-campus interviews at most Michigan law schools and seem to repeatedly hire primarily Wayne Law students,” Tomkiw said. “Many appear to be more prepared and eager to dig into finding practical solutions for clients’ legal needs, instead of engaging in esoteric discourse regarding legal theories. Hands-on, real-world experience, such as that offered to Wayne Law students, better prepares them for the realities of the practice of law. Adam possesses that mindset, and, since he started here as a second-year summer associate, I have seen that mindset develop over time. I suspect much of that can be attributed to his training at WSU.”

Blaylock, who lives in Ferndale and earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Michigan State University, was drawn to Wayne Law because of its strong job placement rate in and around Detroit, he said.

His advice for beginning law students interested in business law is to work hard and to get involved with the Business and Community Law Clinic to gain valuable exposure to transactional work beyond the classroom.

Now that he’s truly working as a licensed attorney, Blaylock is finding job satisfaction and pride in what he’s able to accomplish for his clients, he said.

“I like the variety of work, and I like working for business owners,” he said. “Owners tend to be very results-oriented, and many of our corporate clients are early-stage businesses in the seed-funding or venture-funding stage. This means they don’t have a ton of cash to spend on legal fees, so we have to be creative, focused and efficient in producing quality work. In one of the deals I’ve worked on since I started full time in August, our client was buying a nearly insolvent business. We were dealing with counsel from a prominent and very large firm. We were able to do the deal and go blow-to-blow with a firm much larger than ours because of how efficient we are in our work.”

He also enjoys the exposure he gets to labor and employment litigation through his job.

“The exposure to both sides of a small business’ concerns provides me with more context than the typical litigator or corporate attorney and makes my firm – and me – better suited to handle our clients’ legal work,” Blaylock said.

He also volunteers as a speech coach with Bloomfield Hills High School students and has served as a judge at speaking tournaments.

“Adam's success after law school isn't a surprise,” said Assistant (Clinical) Professor Eric Williams, director of the Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law. “When you combine passion for what you do with intellectual curiosity and hard work, the results are pretty predictable. That was Adam as a student. That's Adam now.”

Photo: Adam Blaylock

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