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Fuddruckers Play Host as Chaldean Attorneys Gather for the 2007 CABA Quarterly Meeting
By Paul Isso :: Saturday, February 3, 2007 :: 47385 Views :: Article Rating :: 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 www.CHALDEAN.org 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 info@chaldean.org.

St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  

Rev. Frank Kalabat

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.


Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.