After Graduating High School at 14, Wyandotte Man Becomes Lawyer at 23

Justin Abdilla went from fourth grade to eighth grade and later served as his senior class president.

While most 14-year-old students were still getting used to high school, Justin Abdilla was already the Wyandotte Roosevelt 2004 senior class president.

Fast forward to 2012 and the 23-year-old has now graduated from the School of Law at University of Loyola in Chicago and passed the Illinois Bar Exam on his first attempt. On Nov. 1, he was sworn in as an attorney in the state of Illinois.

Abdilla’s mother, Lynette Houser, said she recognized her son’s high level of intelligence and capacity for learning when he was very young.

“It was obvious from the time he was 2 years old that he was a very gifted child,” she said.

Abdilla was born with the last name Houser, but legally changed it five years ago to that of his late father, following through on a promise he made to do so, his mother said.

When Abdilla was a 10-year-old fourth grader, the Wyandotte Public Schools Board of Education decided he was fit to skip ahead to eighth grade, his mother said.

He continued on to high school, where he first attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel for a short time before transferring to Roosevelt.

Despite the age differences between him and his high school peers, and later in college, Abdilla said he was able to quickly make friends and adapt socially.

Following high school, he went on to attend University of Michigan-Dearborn on a full scholarship. Four years later, at the age most students are beginning their college days, Abdilla graduated summa cum laude, ultimately earning him a spot in law school at Loyola. After four years at Loyola, he was awarded his Juris Doctor degree upon graduation.

Before deciding on the law as a career path, however, Abdilla was already married. He said it was his wife Nicole who convinced him that working in the legal profession would be the best use of his skills.

“Really, what drove me to law was my wife Nicole's insistence that I could do more, distinguish myself and help people,” he said. “She made me realize that I could pursue greatness in the legal field.”

While seeking employment, Abdilla is currently living in Watervliet, which is in the far corner of southwestern Michigan, and is about a two-hour drive from Chicago.

He said his goal is to one day own his own law practice, possibly specializing in tax law, as he enjoys working with numbers.

Abdilla said he credits his entire hometown for helping him to stay focused and achieve so much at such a young age.

“It took Wyandotte to bring out the best in me,” he said. “It took the community, the teachers, my childhood buddies (and) my parents. Everyone who ever cared about me helped.”

Lynette Houser November 16, 2012 at 03:14 PM
A heartfelt thank you to the local teachers who realized Justin's gift at an early age. A special thank you to the late Mr. Strait, who backed us 100%. Another thank you to the Honor's Program at University of Michigan-Dearborn, especially the Director, Professor Sidney Bolkowski, the Honors Program Professors and administrator, Michelle Rushman, who believed in Justin. I can't wait to see what his future brings. Proud mother.....Lynette Houser
Julie Abshire November 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM
How very lucky we are to have families that support and push their children and teachers that see the best in their students and push them for success. Congratulations Justin and cheers to a successful career in law!
Zack Fallstich November 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
As a Wyandotte attorney and RHS alumnus, this story made my Friday! Congrats Justin.
Art Zasadny November 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
What a slacker! Just kidding!!! He must be one sharp guy. Congratulations!
Steve~O Fappas November 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Awesome! That is impressive! What did you feed him when he was growing up?


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