Meet RCBA Member Abdifatah Mohamed

Meet Abdifatah Mohamed, a civil rights attorney with Mohamed Zain, LLP and a member of the RCBA Board of Directors. In this Q&A he reflects on his involvement with the RCBA and his journey to a career in law. 

How did you get involved with the RCBA?

I was the president of the Somali American Bar Association at the time I joined the RCBA. The board was interested in having representation from a broad spectrum of legal practitioners and I was invited to join the board to bring my unique perspective. 

What led you to a career in law? 

Initially, I wanted to teach at the college level and I considered a graduate program. After a bit of research, I realized I didn't want to spend several years pursuing a PhD, so I began to explore a law degree as a way of getting a terminal degree that would allow me to teach as well. Pretty early on in my law school career, I realized I wanted to practice more than I wanted to teach. 

How did you choose your practice area?

Growing up in Seattle, I had a lot of friends who were involved in lawsuits with their employers after they were denied prayer breaks. That got me interested in employment litigation as a way of fighting for employees, and led to me practicing law today. 

Reflections on your career path. Highlights? Anything you wish you had done differently? 

I would consider my first trial as my absolute highlight. It was a case involving a Section-8 tenant in a fight with a landlord who refused to make repairs. I was able to represent her in a bench trial where we won on all our claims. 

Best advice you’ve ever received? 

It's okay to say No! 

What’s one lesson from law school that stuck with you? And/or advice you would give a law student? 

Hang in there, time flies by. 

Do you have or have you had a mentor/mentee? What’s a key lesson this experience taught you? 

My good friend, Frank Reed (Hennepin County District Judge), has been instrumental in my legal career. He's singularly responsible for my private practice in that he let me know that it was possible to take on clients, go to court, and deliver results for my community.  
My relationship with Frank taught me that it's important to have seasoned practitioners on your side as you navigate your career early on. 

Practice/technology tips: favorite piece of tech you’ve been using? 

Invest in technology, whether it's a great CRM software or something that helps you with billing. It's important to have software that helps you stay on top of your practice. 

How do you unwind and add balance into your week?

I always make time for my kids, whether it's taking my 2nd grader to school in the morning, or going to his soccer practice, it's important to me that I make that a priority. 

What books, shows, podcasts have you been recommending lately? 

Amy Chua's "World On Fire" 

Any favorite vacation spots/getaways? 

Anywhere with a beach.