Salam Elia

2012 | Detroit, MI

"Every time I help someone start a new business or venture, it's like I helped plant a new seed in the garden that is Detroit, and I nurture that business relationship in hopes that they bloom, and continue to thrive."

Where passion meets profession, you’ll find Salam Elia, ’12. As the eldest child in her family, she realized from a young age that she had a leader’s mentality and natural passion to use her voice. Everyone in her family knew she would become an attorney.

Despite having always known she wanted to practice law, Elia sought advice from her connections about her law school decision. At the time, she was working for Barton Morris, an attorney who spoke highly of his experience at Detroit College of Law, now Michigan State University College of Law.

“He just said great things about it. It created such a unity and a network of relationships that I saw him have decades after he graduated,” said Elia.

Elia made her own contribution to MSU Law through establishing the Middle Eastern Students Association (MESA), now known as the Middle Eastern Law Student Association (MELSA). She started this organization to create a place where local and international students could build a strong network and strengthen connections then and for the future.

In April 2018, Elia opened her boutique law firm in Metro Detroit. “Seeing how I took MESA and made it a reality helps me advise my clients from A to Z about what it takes to get a business off the ground and how to keep it going into the future,” said Elia.

When Elia started her firm, she knew she wanted to use her knowledge and networks in corporate law to help entrepreneurs bring businesses to Detroit and the surrounding metropolitan area.

“I love Detroit – as a person, as an individual – I am a supporter of the city. We have a history here that basically established the United States as a leading global economy throughout the world because of the Big Three,” said Elia. “When the economy crashed in 2008, Michiganders were hit harder here than the rest of the country was during the Great Depression. Opening my firm here wasn’t just about me; it was about the being a part of the entire Metro Detroit community, rebuilding and getting back on our feet.”

Elia described her work as if she were a gardener, “Every time I help someone start a new business or venture, it’s like I helped plant a new seed in the garden that is Detroit and I nurture that business relationship in hopes that they bloom, continue to thrive.”

Like Detroit, Elia’s firm is growing and she’s adding new members to the team. Her hope for the future is to continue investing in the Detroit and Metro Detroit areas.