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December 2020

An Interview with Council Member Miriam Saffo

Saffo Headshot

Last week, we featured Jacquelyn as one of our newest members on Council. This week, we have the pleasure of presenting Miriam (who is also new and represents District III) with her informational interview below. Welcome Miriam!

Where are you currently employed? Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach, Buiteweg, & Solomon, P.C. in Ann Arbor.

Where did you attend law school? Michigan State University College of Law.

What objectives/goals do you have related to your new position as Council Member? My objective for my new position is to give back to the legal community and strengthen the network of young/new lawyers by creating events to bring us together and help us to develop life and career skills. 

Tell us your favorite thing about your geographic region in Michigan: My favorite thing about my particular geographic region in Michigan is Ann Arbor! I love the city, it has a lot to offer in terms of great food, amazing small/local businesses, and a vibrant energy.    

Why did you choose to pursue a legal career? I don't remember ever making a decision to be a lawyer, it was just something I always knew I wanted to do from a very young age. As I got older, I grew more attached to the idea of pursuing a legal career as a way to help people and give back to my community. 

What is one (or two) pieces of advice you wish you knew when you were starting your legal career that you know now? I wish I knew that even the most seasoned attorneys don't know it all- with thorough preparation new attorneys can be a fair match to a senior attorney without the need to feel overwhelming intimidation. A little confidence matched with hard work can go a long way.     

What is the best part of your job? Getting to help families and hopefully helping make a positive impact in their lives by directing them through less adversarial paths of family law. 

What is surprising about your job that others may not know? Something surprising about my job is that as a family law attorney, the moniker "counselor" often takes on a very literal meaning as we help clients navigate some of the most difficult times of their lives. 

What do you like to do in your spare time (i.e. hobbies and interests)? In my spare time I love spending time with my family and friends. Whether it's an impromptu get together or planned out event. I cherish every moment making memories with my loved ones regardless of the activity. Although this has come to a pause apart from virtual get togethers, I look forward to the day when we can all gather again safely. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? It would be teleportation- not needing more than a couple seconds to commute anywhere would be a dream!

If you could have lunch with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why? My maternal grandfather. I never got to meet him because he passed away long before I was born but I grew up hearing stories of the incredible man he was. I also want to thank him. His dream was for his family and grandkids to grow up in the land of opportunity, away from the oppression they faced in Iraq. He shared this dream with my grandmother and had it not been for their foresight and sacrifice I would not be where I am today.

 


Meet New Council Member Jacquelyn Babinski!

Jacquelyn

SBM YLS is excited to introduce Jacquelyn Babinski as one of our newest Council Members, representing District III! In order to get to know a bit more about Jacquelyn, we held a  virtual interview, which can be found here:

Where are you currently employed? Babinski Law, PLLC (private practice in Davison, MI practicing education and criminal law) and Legal Services of Eastern Michigan (as a contract attorney practicing education law)

Where did you attend law school? Michigan State University College of Law

What objectives/goals do you have related to your new position as Council Member? I am looking forward to connecting with other young attorneys and developing a project dedicated to bringing awareness to education law and assisting students with disabilities. I'm also looking to be more actively involved with the council and the State Bar of Michigan, representing west Michigan. 

Tell us your favorite thing about your geographic region in Michigan: Currently I am in Genesee County and I appreciate how committed to growth the city of Flint and Genesee County as a whole are. However, I will be moving to Ludington, MI in the new year and I am greatly looking forward to being so close to Lake Michigan and to joining a connected and tight-knit community. 

Why did you choose to pursue a legal career? After getting my Bachelor's degree, I worked as a juvenile probation officer. I loved the position and working with the children on my case load, but felt the office polices, while understandable, prevented me from developing a working relationship with my clients outside of their delinquency case to really advocate for their needs long-term and be available to help them. I pursued a legal career to have that flexibility to maintain a working relationship with my clients beyond their individual case and ensure they continued to receive the support and connection to community they needed to thrive. 

What is one (or two) pieces of advice you wish you knew when you were starting your legal career that you know now? Take the time for self-care and trust your gut to follow your dreams.

What is the best part of your job? Helping students get the educational services and aids they need to learn, and then watching them make actual progress toward their education curriculum. 

What is surprising about your job that others may not know? That it exists! Education law is such a niche area and the need is so much greater than the number of attorneys and advocates providing assistance. 

What do you like to do in your spare time (i.e. hobbies and interests)? I love reading history books (usually presidential biographies or books on the revolutionary war/constitutional era), listening to true crime podcasts, and watching cooking shows or HGTV. I also love taking day trips to explore different parts of Michigan. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Photographic Memory

And I have to ask this question (though I feel so many interviews do!) -  If you could have lunch with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why? Audrey Hepburn, because I think she seems so sweet and classy; Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my favorite movies.