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Fuddruckers Play Host as Chaldean Attorneys Gather for the 2007 CABA Quarterly Meeting
By Paul Isso :: Saturday, February 3, 2007 :: 40207 Views :: Community & Culture

Michigan, USA - A night of the usual family dinners and festivities took a slight turn Friday, when a number of Chaldean attorneys attended Fuddruckers of Birmingham while the Chaldean American Bar Association (CABA) held its quarterly networking event.

CABA is a qualified association of attorneys, that are committed to sustaining the law, promoting justice and awareness, assisting education in the legal field, in addition to engaging in community service, projects, and committee work.  The association has and continues to dedicate itself to the principle of quality legal representation for those of all races and cultures, social classes and economic statures.

CABA law graduates not only promote a proper jurisdiction and impartial representation as their mission statement on behalf of themselves, but they also address their goals on behalf of members that are currently enrolled in law programs, and those that plan to obtain law degrees in the future.

Attorneys affiliated with CABA, including the board members, have all graduated from ABA-approved law schools and have dominated the bar exam.  Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan and Thomas M. Cooley are only a few of the many mentioned law schools that CABA members and associates have and will continue to graduate from.

CABA members not only include graduated attorneys, but law school students are also eligible to join the association. Members are constantly coming up with innovative ways to make contributions to and through CABA, such as offer legal advisory assistance and services to those in need of law counseling, through mentorship clinics and mediator programs that it has been offering since it was founded in 1992.

CABA members also encourage prospective law students by providing intellectuals with the opportunity to win a scholarship award. Once in law school, students are free to apply for membership into CABA. Both experienced attorneys and recent graduate members of CABA benefit by being introduced to legal representative referral programs, in addition to information on employment and networking opportunities within the Chaldean community.

“It’s about coming to these networking events and actually being here that really makes the difference,” said Danny Garmo, a Thomas M. Cooley Law School graduate.  “When you’re here, you network—and everyone gets to know each other, which is just one of the many things that is contributed and obtained throughout the association.”

Alivia Kassab, president of CABA and head of the networking events, talked about the mentorship program being her most favored experience and contribution among many that she has made to law association.

“I’ve helped with mentoring other prospective attorneys,” said Kassab.  “It’s a great feeling, and I hope to keep doing it because I know it’s helpful. I am so happy to be of assistance when someone less knowledgeable or inexperienced is in need.”

“Besides being in attendance of these wonderful networking events that the association holds, it’s also about giving consultations and legal advice free of charge,” said attorney Joseph Shallal.  “We like to help out those in need, and we will in any way that we can because it is both our passion and duty as legal counselors.”

According to many of the prospective and present attorneys in attendance, there are many ways the association assists Chaldean students in law school.

Rewaq Najor, a second year law student at Wayne State University Law School, spoke of her experience with the mentoring program that the association offers to students.

“CABA offers mentoring to students, which is great at times when something is misunderstood or difficult to interpret,” said Najor.  “I think it’s wonderful because I know that when I need someone to talk to, there is someone that is willing to offer their support and guidance. I plan to do the same for prospective lawyers when I am graduated and established.”
CABA members also aspire to increase awareness nationwide, aside from Detroit.  Danny Garmo, in conjunction with his partner, recently expanded his law office to San Diego, California. “We want to continue to expand and have been considering other locations in the West, including Arizona and Colorado.”

“I have practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C.,” said attorney James Rayis.  “I have just recently returned back to my roots, here in Detroit.”

Whilst Detroit experiences some gain, recent graduates have accepted employment opportunities out of state, like Brian Callaghan of Wayne State University Law School, who plans to work for a law firm in the country’s capital, Washington D.C.

The Chaldean American Bar Association continues to influence, promote and contribute to the just and ethical practice and appliance of law and order to the legal world, beginning with the Chaldean community and expanding… 

Mr. Paul Isso is the lead community and political journalist for in Michigan .  Mr. Isso is preparing for law school at Wayne State University and serves the Chaldean community by covering complex political and legal issues along with Chaldean community events held in Michigan .  Mr. Isso can be reached at

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.