Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. is proud to work with Michigan State University College of Law to provide students with the opportunity to work directly with seniors through the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors, under the guidance of our Hotline Managing Attorney. This summer, ELM is grateful to host five interns. This is the second of two posts to provide you with an introduction to our summer interns!
Law wasn’t always my passion. I once saw myself as a psychologist, a linguist, or even a doctor—but taking a chemistry class during my freshman year at Vanderbilt University quickly changed that. I began to get interested in law after that, but a quarter-life crisis briefly took me in another direction. I packed my things and moved to France to teach English for 7 months.
While in France, I began to understand why I wanted to practice law. Simply put, I wanted to help people. How? That is still the question, but, generally, I want to help empower people by teaching them about their legal rights and responsibilities.
This enlightenment brought me to Michigan State University College of Law, which has an extensive clinic program. During my second year at the College of Law, I was a student clinician at the Housing Clinic. While there, I realized all the things that I didn’t know and how fortunate I was to be in a position where I can learn all those thing. With each new client that called I learned more about my legal, tenant rights as I taught them about theirs. Volunteering at Elder Law of Michigan as a legal intern seemed a natural extension to my experience at the Housing Clinic. I hope to learn more about my rights in other areas of the law as well as continue to build on my practice experience while interning at ELM, before I graduate in May of 2017. My hope is to do this all while helping some of the most vulnerable people in Michigan learn their rights.
My name is David Dietz, and I was born and raised in Troy, Michigan where I have lived nearly my entire life. As a kid, I had very different career aspirations from my peers. My friends aspired to professional athletes or fighter pilots; I, on the other hand, wanted to be a senator or an ambassador. Growing up as the grandson of two successful engineers and the child of two successful business professionals, it would seem that aspiring to be a senator or an ambassador was a strange choice. My parents and grandparents had never been involved in politics to any noteworthy extent, and frankly, as a child I had a pretty limited idea of what these two professions consisted of, but I knew that I wanted to help people and be influential. Like any young person I had many changes of heart and changes of career aspirations. When I was in middle school and high school I was dead set on being an engineer. My paternal grandfather had been an electrical engineer for NASA and Ford Motor Company and my maternal grandfather had been a mechanical engineer who owned his own precision cutting tools company that supplied all of the major auto manufacturers. They were my childhood heroes and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
After completing an engineering internship with Ford Motor Company, I realized that engineering was not romantic as I had thought. At this time in my life, I was entering my freshman year at Kenyon College. At Kenyon, freshman are required to take either The Quest for Justice or an interdisciplinary literary class. I opted for The Quest for Justice because the literary class seemed a little too stuffy for me. As it turns out I made the right choice. The class walked us through all of the greats of political philosophy from Plato to Karl Marx. We discussed fundamental political society and the interactions of people as political animals. This class led me to pursue a major in political science with hopes of going to law school. After taking two years after undergrad to work, I decided it was time to go back to school. I took the LSAT, applied to a lot of schools, and I was lucky enough to get accepted to Michigan State University College of Law. When I graduate, I hope to be able to work for the government as an attorney and possibly run for office once I have gained some experience.
I came to Elder Law of Michigan because I know there is an urgent need for legal aid for low income and at-risk elders and disabled people. I can remember the difficulties my parents had sorting out my grandparents’ affairs before and after they had passed away, and they had the benefit of being able to afford to hire an attorney. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute to this organization in a meaningful way and lend a hand to those who need legal help when they cannot afford it.