DeMarkus Muhammad – Continuing a Legacy of Service

Valparaiso University Law School third-year student DeMarkus Muhammad remembers the 10 years his father Mark ran a group home very well. Today, his father still works in adult care, and his mother works with adults with disabilities on weekends. Their dedication to others had a tremendous impact on Muhammad.

My family is in public service. When my dad ran a group home I got to experience that and it inspired me to help others that are less fortunate.

Public service definitely runs in Muhammad’s veins, as evidenced by his participation in a host of public service-related activities at Valparaiso University Law School. His dedication to service garnered him the Law School’s Gromley Scholarship in 2016, awarded annually to a student who shows great moral character and high values.

To say Muhammad has “a lot going on,” as he puts it, is an understatement.

DeMarkus Muhammad

Third-year law student, DeMarkus Muhammad

The 29-year-old law student, originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, stays connected and involved through a variety of programs: he works at Crossroads Youth and Family Services, serves on Valpo’s Dance Marathon Morale Team raising funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, works at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and even volunteers to be the Easter Bunny for the Easter egg hunt hosted by the Valpo Parents Attending Law School family support group.

During his Law School career, Muhammad has also served as community liaison of the School’s Property Law E-Board, is currently a member of the Valparaiso University Law School Student Bar Association, secretary of the Muslim Students Association, acts as head Student Ambassador for the Law School, works in the Admissions Office, and is one of the event coordinators for the Black Entertainment and Sports Law Association (BESLA).

“BESLA hosts a spring sports summit and invites an athlete and sports agent to speak about different topics in sports,” Muhammad said. With an ultimate career goal as a criminal law and sports law attorney, Muhammad became interested in sports law when his brother Deaundre played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders. After he left the Raiders, his brother moved on to Canada to train athletes from schools like Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Northwestern.

As secretary of the Muslim Students Association, Muhammad keeps track of the organization’s events and actively works to get students involved in different groups, such as the Muslim Law Society. “I help people become more aware of Muslim society, especially in light of Islamophobia,” Muhammad said. “I try to get them to see what really goes on in Islam and not just what they see and hear in the media.”

Muhammad has already served multiple summer judicial internships with Valparaiso University Law School alumni including; the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana Hammond Division Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich (’73 J.D. ), Allen County Superior Court Criminal Division Judge Wendy Davis (’91 J.D.), and Allen County Administrative Judge Frances Gull (’83 J.D.).

Muhammad came to Valparaiso University Law School after earning his undergraduate degree from Purdue University. “I’m able to focus more here because it’s smaller,” Muhammad said. “The open-door policy the professors have here drew me in. They are able to help each student and get to know them on a first-name basis, instead of being just a number at a larger university. When I first came to visit, the school had a southern hospitality feel to it. People were open and friendly and let me know what I needed to know. That helped me make my decision to come here.”

Muhammad credits his professors with his success at Valparaiso Law. “My professors come from different walks of life. They help me be more open-minded and it has enhanced my ability to work with different individuals,” he said. “I think that will serve me well in the long run because I’ll have to work with different individuals from many backgrounds in my legal career. My ultimate goal is to help the less fortunate understand their rights. Some of them are unaware what their legal rights are,” Muhammad said.

I also want to give back through charity work. I’d like to use the sports law training to help me achieve that. I want to help kids who don’t think they have a fighting chance understand that their dreams are very possible. It’s something I look forward to achieving.