Wesam Shahed

2020 | Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago | Pre-Law: Business Management

That’s what I envision the law should do for people – not just simply lock bad people away, but help change them for the better.

Wesam Shahed, ’20, believes in second chances, and he wants to be the kind of judge who can help people get theirs.

With a knack for connecting with others and a passion to stand up for communities in need, Shahed has always known he would pursue a career in the legal field. He studied pre-law at Loyola University in his hometown of Chicago and made the choice to get out of his comfort zone when selecting a law school, bringing him to MSU Law.

“I’d been in the Chicagoland area my entire life,” he said. “I knew I wanted to leave and experience something different and meet new people.”

He joined the Middle Eastern Law Students Association at MSU Law and became president of the student organization during his 3L year. Through this role, Shahed aimed to create an inclusive space where students could learn and connect. He explained that the organization has experienced a significant shift during his time at the Law College, and as he prepares to graduate, he’s optimistic about its future.

As a student, Shahed also maximized the Law College’s location just minutes from Lansing and the heart of the state’s government to expand his knowledge of the judiciary. He’s currently working with MSU Law alum and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement, ’02, writing bench memos and recommendations on incoming cases.

In addition to his work with the Michigan Supreme Court, Shahed’s resume also includes experience in trial and appellate courts, a summer in the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office, and in private practice.

“I’ve been dipping my finger into a bunch of different flavored cakes very intentionally because the law field is so big and I was trying to figure out, with my classes as well, where my personality can make the biggest difference,” he explained. “Is it going to be in criminal? Is it going to be in civil? Is it going to be with the judiciary? And during that time, I fell in love with the judiciary.”

Shahed’s ultimate career goal: a seat on the bench.

“That’s where I see myself making the biggest difference,” Shahed said. “In the criminal sector, prosecutors, traditionally, have the biggest authority in the courtroom, but at the end of the day if the judge disagrees or the judge finds differently, he or she is the head honcho in the room.”

He’s inspired by the power that a judge can have on a case, particularly how they choose to use it. While working with the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County for Judge James S. Jamo, Shahed saw the impact of compassionate advocacy firsthand in Judge Jamo’s specialized Mental Health Court, which helps people with mental health issues to navigate the system through a rehabilitation program.

“That’s what I envision the law should do for people – not just simply lock bad people away, but help change them for the better,” he said.

Graduating in 2020, Shahed plans to take his career goals with him back to Chicago. While leaving MSU Law behind, he knows that he won’t be the lone Spartan in the city. “I can go back to Chicago and feel very comfortable knowing there’s an MSU market there,” he said. “More importantly, I know that all the friends and connections I made during my time at MSU Law will not just disappear. I am the type of person who holds on to relationships dearly.”