Keeping the legacy alive
Wayne Law is a family tradition for Emma Trivax
Emma Trivax is well on her way to becoming the third generation in her family of attorneys who graduated from Wayne State University Law School.
“Not only did my father and aunt graduate from Wayne Law, but so did my grandfather,” Trivax said. “It feels really rewarding keeping the legacy alive.”
The law as a profession has called to her since she was very young.
“Initially, it was because I was a particularly argumentative child,” she said. “However, the older I’ve gotten, I realized that practicing law was right for me because in some way, shape or form, I’ll be helping people.”
Trivax, who is in her third and last year of law school, has thrived in her studies. She revived the school’s Jewish Law Student Association in her first year, and serves as chancellor of Moot Court.
“I joined Moot Court because I knew I wanted to be a litigator, but I had no practical experience in oral arguments,” she said. “I remember the first time I practiced an oral argument. I got about halfway through and began crying! I was so shaken up and uncomfortable that I just burst out in tears. I look back at the moment and I can see just how much I’ve grown. I won the fall in-house competition, I won best oralist at my national competition and now I’m chancellor.”
As chancellor, she helps junior Moot Court members. Trivax loves teaching and helping young people. She’s a trained and talented singer, performer and percussionist, and she passes that knowledge along, as well.
“I teach choir at my temple (Temple Israel in West Bloomfield), but I also used to co-teach band at Hillel Day School (in Farmington Hills),” she said. “I decided to start teaching the children’s choir at my temple because of how much I loved the experience myself. I used to be in the very choir I’m teaching now, and I wanted to pass that experience down to the next generation.
“I discovered my love of Jewish music at a very young age, and I pray I’m helping my students discover the exact same thing. Jewish music just speaks to me in a way that other music can’t. When I close my eyes and hear a gorgeous melody accompanied by Hebrew text, my spirit deeply connects to the message.”
Over the summer, she worked as an associate at Dickinson Wright PLLC in Detroit, and she learned a lot.
“I’ve been able to take assignments from various practices of law — trademark, intellectual property litigation, antitrust, real estate, trust and estate planning and health law, to name a few,” Trivax said. “The ability to test the waters by doing assignments from all of these different areas of law has been a wonderful learning experience. In addition to learning about the law, I’m learning a lot about what it means to practice law — how to communicate with other attorneys, the inner workings of a law firm, and business aspects of maintaining a practice.
She also works part-time throughout the year as a cantorial soloist at her temple.
“In that capacity, I’m able to sing for services, bar and bat mitzvahs and at weddings,” Trivax said. “If I hadn’t gone to law school, I would have expanded on this role and gone to cantorial school to become a full-time cantor.”
She earned her undergraduate degree in behavioral science at the University of Michigan, and relies on her planner and daily to-do lists to keep her busy life organized. Despite all that’s going on in her life, Trivax is very focused on finishing law school so she can use her knowledge and energy to help others.
“The practice of law is very noble in my eyes,” she said. “We serve our clients, and our whole job is to make our clients’ lives better. When you look at it, attorneys often see clients when something has gone wrong in their lives, so if I can help alleviate that distress in some way, I know I’m doing my job.”