November 23rd, 2010

Mirriam Seddiq

Criminal Defense and Immigration Lawyer

Founder, MSZ Law

Author of Not Guilty law blog

Pro Bono Associate at Afghans for Civil Society

Mother of maniacal twin boys

Today we’re tweeting w/ criminal defense attorney, mom of maniacal twin boys, former Ass’t Attorney General and Ass’t DA @Mirriam71

  1. @Mirriam71, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @Mirriam71?
    I’m a mom, lawyer, wife. I have a blog called notguiltynoway. Just coming back after a hiatus at home with the twins
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I’m a solo practitioner w/ an office in Takoma Park, MD. Opened in May of this year. So far, so good.
  3. Congratulations! What type of clients do you represent?
    immigration and criminal defense, and frequently both at the same time. I toyed with gp, but I know what I’m good at and this is it.
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting your clients?
    Freedom. They want to stay in U.S., not go to jail or have liberty impeded. Is it a legal issue? I don’t know.
  5. Critical issue either way…. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Google or their bff’s cousin isn’t their lawyer, I am. Their case is unique. They have to trust me and not the internet.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Drug client. Went into drug court, came out the other side. Got invite to 40th bday, invite said “he’s 40 because of you”
  7. Wow. That’s powerful. Why do your clients hire you?
    not bc of my website! Maybe bc I’m honest? I’m trying to figure that out so I can add it to my website. : )
  8. Tell us about Afghans for Civil Society. What do they do? What do you do for them? Why?
    they do charitable work in Afghanistan. Dad is in Kabul so I help w/getting medical supplies to the hosp where he works.
  9. You spent several years as an Assistant DA before joining a criminal defense firm? What led you to make that change?
    when I realized justice isn’t really blind. I was incredibly naive. 9/11 changed that for me. And, I’m much better at this.
  10. What are the biggest challenges facing criminal defense lawyers? How do you respond to them, day in and day out?
    people don’t get what we do. We can give them the right answers, but its hard to explain how we can do it.
    also, the CDL bar is divided and bc of that, the govt is able to get away with a lot of shit.
  11. Wish I had 23 Tweets; would love to hear more…. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I tell them I’m a CDL and imm lawyer. They say “wow, that’s cool” I say “yeah, it really is” I tell them I fight the Man.
  12. You blog at Not Guilty (http://bit.ly/9V5Mjb). Who do you write it for? Why should they read it?
    I write for myself & for @ScottGreenfield. & for folks who think this stuff isn’t their problem. Read it bc it’s awesome.
  13. I agree 100%. Your blog posts are often very personal. Where do you draw the line between your public and private life?
    in 2004 when I started I was anon & had 4 readers. It was never intended as mktg. Now I have to think more about that line.
    the infertility posts are very personal. But they are searched a lot. I leave them up bc it gives people hope. Stay tuned!
  14. Why did you decide to become active on Twitter? Has it been a worthwhile endeavor?
    @MarkWBennett told me I’d find like minded people. I thought it was stupid & a waste of time. Twitter! Ha! I was wrong.
  15. Have your Web 2.0 activities led to any referrals or client engagements?
    I don’t really understand web 2.0 but I’ve gotten referrals from folks I’ve initially ‘met’ online. Not twitter though.
  16. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    We still get a bad rap. Too many lawyers still doing bad work. It needs to stop. We need to regulate ourselves better.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    If you’d told me 3 yrs ago it would be like this now I would’ve called you a liar, so I have no idea what 10 yrs will bring
    I hope we go back to having real offices though. I’m old fashioned like that.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    go to culinary school. Or a professional break dancer. A breakdancing chef? There’s nothing else I’d rather do, honestly.
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    as someone who doesn’t suck, who did good work and who gave a shit. That’s not a lot to ask, right?
  20. Not at all. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I run, chase my kids around, listen to records (the vinyl kind) plan vacations I never go on and hang out w/friends
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    volunteer, get experience. Catholic charities always needs help. Don’t fall into the contract atty trap. It’s a dead end.
  22. And the final question of our interview: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    If you don’t want to practice law, don’t go. It’s hard work. Don’t do it half assed.

Thanks so much for this great interview. I really enjoyed tweeting with you and learning about you and your practice

thank you! It was pretty fun actually.

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