Ms. Melaqui (Mel) Souraya is an Associate at Miller Johnson in the firm’s Education Law and Immigration practices. Ms. Souraya represents public and private school districts throughout the state of Michigan on matters involving employment and labor issues, school code compliance and reporting, special education issues, gender discrimination and civil rights, and education policy.
Ms. Souraya conducts legal research and writing of policy manuals, teacher tenure agreements, arbitration preparation, and assists in investigations and hearings.
Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors
Before law school, Ms. Souraya worked with her father, a Canadian immigration attorney in Calgary, Alberta, where she also taught middle school prior to pursuing a career in law. Throughout law school, Ms. Souraya served as an ambassador for the Dean of Admissions, working on events and matters for prospective law students. She was also a legal intern in the Office of General Counsel with Detroit Public Schools Community District and a judicial intern in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for the Honorable Judge Friedman. She was a legal extern with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board in Detroit, conducting research and case investigations regarding wrongfully discharged employees and labor union violations. Ms. Souraya was a member of the Women’s Law Caucus, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) WSU Law School Chapter, Wayne Intellectual Property Students’ Association, Entrepreneurship and Business Law Society, and was a participant in the Jaffe Transactional Law Competition.
Ms. Souraya was an article editor for The Journal of Law in Society, where her law review note on Congressional cultural bias and ignorance in the current state and future of education policy was selected for publication. In her final year of law school, she was elected as the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief. Ms. Souraya was honored to be featured in Detroit Legal News and the Legal News editions for the counties of Oakland, Macomb, Ingham and Washtenaw.
Ms. Souraya is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Detroit Bar Association, American Bar Association: Civil Rights & Social Justice section, Women Lawyers Association, Ms. J.D, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Michigan Council of School Attorneys .
Ms. Souraya is licensed to practice in Michigan and licensed to teach K-12 in Alberta, Canada.
Publications and Presentations
- “Free but [In]appropriate: Cultural Insensitivity Deters Parents from Consenting to & Accessing Educational Resources for their Children,” The Journal of Law in Society, 20 J.L. Soc’y 378 (2020).
- Guest Lecturer of Education Law at Wayne State University Law School
- Orientation Day Guest Speaker on challenging cultural norms and female empowerment at Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy, Calgary, Alberta (May 2013 & May 2014)
- Natural Progression: Former teacher eyes a career in law of education. Detroit Legal News, Jun 26, 2019 http://www.legalnews.com/Detroit/1475836
An advocate for female empowerment and education, Ms. Souraya taught middle school at a girls’ academy and coached girls’ basketball, soccer, volleyball, and track & field. She served as a program director and collaborator for her sister, who founded a female advocacy organization dedicated to fostering mentorship and guidance for youth seeking to reconcile cultural identities between their country of heritage and Canada. Many of Ms. Souraya’s English students participated and won national writing competitions, rendering them published authors in a Canadian anthology for young writers. Ms. Souraya continues to teach advanced writing and English enrichment to students and is a native Arabic speaker. Also an advocate for persons with disabilities, Ms. Souraya volunteered with an art studio in Calgary dedicated to community-based learning for adults with disabilities. Ms. Souraya completed a 200-hour global certification to teach yoga and ran classes for awareness campaigns and initiatives such as mental health, cancer, and special needs. To fundraise for orphans worldwide, Ms. Souraya initiated 10K runs with her family, students, and community members, and also completed a half marathon. Now an avid cyclist, Ms. Souraya has participated in two community bike races on the bridge from Windsor, Canada into Detroit, and the Bike the Blizzard event, fundraising for bike access to youth and vulnerable community members in Detroit.
Ms. Souraya was awarded her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 2020. She was the recipient of the Spoon Award for Excellent Academic Achievement in Real Property Law; the recipient of the Silver Key Award for academic merit; the recipient of the Cynthia B. Faulhaber Endowed Scholarship and was awarded top grades in Education Law. She was awarded with honors in the Honorable Judge Gleicher’s judicial course. Ms. Souraya earned both her Bachelors in Education and Bachelors in Fine Arts with distinction from the University of Calgary in 2014. Her B.F.A. concentrated on art history and developmental art in young children with disabilities and her B.Ed concentrated on visual studies and humanities in secondary education.