“You can do it. No matter how many obstacles come your way, if you really love what you do, anything is possible.” It’s a sentiment that D.C. attorney Mohaimina “Mina” Haque not only espouses but embraces, evidenced in everything she does.
Most women who marry young either give up on their dreams in lieu of husband and family, or at least postpone those ambitions. But for Haque this was never an option. Education, and her goals were not things she was willing to relinquish.
“I may have been married at a tender age, but I had a relentless drive to pursue my education as well as be a wife and mother,” she says. “Education has always been very important to me.”
With small children in her tow, Haque was resolute to put herself on the path to earning her Juris Doctor. Her story is a story of staunch determination to become an attorney. Being a wife and a mother from a young age on top of carving her path for education made her very skilled and expedient to run her thriving, “one-stop shop” Washington Haque’s bustling practice is a great example of how finely honed legal skills combined with a savvy use of legal technology can bring great benefits to clients. Coming off a string of victories and settlements against much larger firms, Haque points to her work ethic and dedication to clients as the cornerstone of her success. Haque runs a one-stop shop, where she can help businesses and individuals navigate many complex legal challenges.
Running a multi-practice organization means that Haque is able to use her multidimensional knowledge to help her clients, including in instances where they had not even been aware of their potential exposures. Her clients encompass federal employees from an alphabet soup of Washington’s federal agencies, including the intelligence community. She has won victories for DC’s entrepreneurs and startups and is currently the lead counsel in a sizeable multi-jurisdictional business acquisition of a major restaurant chain that has a presence in four continents. She has also represented current and former senior officials of international development organization. Her clientele can now be found all over the world, and from all walks of life. Additionally, Haque has successfully taken on insurance companies for personal injury matters.
Haque’s typical day is likely to include championing the rights of her clients in consumer protection matters, counseling businesses on potential acquisitions, helping intending immigrants submit paperwork for their applications and business entities, and engaging with opposing counsels to get the best deals for her clients. However, Haque is equally adept in a litigation setting, and is a zealous advocate for her clients in DC courts as well as administrative offices. She has existing relationships with seasoned law firms in DC and around the country, which she harnesses when working on the more complex of her matters, to scale up as needed.
A LIFE WORTHWHILE
“I’ve always been guided by Einstein’s quote, ‘A life lived for others, is a life worthwhile.’ So, I was very lucky because while I was still at Mount Holyoke, I got an internship opportunity in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office in Boston,” she explains. “Mount Holyoke is located in the western part of the state, so I used to commute 90 miles each way, during the winter to do that internship.”
Happily, Haque’s internship continued even after the move to Georgetown, the only difference was now she was working in the senator’s D.C. office. The full-time student, intern and wife discovered she was pregnant with the couple’s first daughter Imaani Arete (now 10) near the end of her third year as an undergraduate. Indicative of her determination and drive, she not only graduated on time, but continued straight on into the master’s program.
While working on her advanced degree in public policy, she was also interning at the White House during the Obama administration. This was part of the prestigious White House Internship Program. In that capacity, Haque served at the Domestic Policy Council in the Executive Office of the President and regularly interacted and worked with senior officials, cabinet members, members of President Obama’s staff, and other national and foreign dignitaries, academics, and policymakers. trust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (all whilst pursuing her graduate degree from Georgetown University). Haque credits her work in the Antitrust Division, and especially in Main Justice, with both validating her internal passion for a legal career as well as serving as invaluable training that few fully credentialed attorneys, let alone law students, could even dream of obtaining.
“My work with the DOJ was very substantive,” continues Haque. “I worked on some very high-profile cases. We helped with gathering evidence and reviewing emails of companies that were merging or those who were under investigation. So that was truly a defining time-period for me.”
This hectic schedule was so impressive that even the Washington Post took note at the time: “How’s this for a busy day: Mohaimina Haque drops her 3-year-old daughter off at the Hoya Kids child care center at Georgetown University before 8 a.m., heads to her full-time job at the Department of Justice, picks her daughter up again after 5:30 p.m. (if her husband can’t), and rushes back to Georgetown for an evening class. If she gets home in time, she reads her daughter a bedtime story.”
Haque’s work during this time earned her the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Work. Not surprising when considering some of the cases she worked on, including the high-profile price-fixing case against Apple, Inc., the merger of U.S. Airways and Amer-ican Airlines, as well as several other notable energy company mergers.
CAP, GOWN AND 2 A.M. FEEDINGS
Law school was a natural progression for Haque, but the road ahead would have discouraged even the toughest among us. In addition to handling the rigors of law school, Haque was still a full-time mom and wife and a second pregnancy would bring its own challenges.
“My younger daughter was born when I was an 3L in law school,” she says. “I was diagnosed with preeclampsia; it was a very high-risk pregnancy which was both scary and difficult. But I just had this relentless drive. I didn’t want to give up and wanted to graduate on time. So, I didn’t let that stop me.”
Thankfully, little Nimaat Amal, now a spirited three-year-old, arrived safely and ‘mommy’ not only accepted her Juris Doctor on time, but graduated Cum Laude.
Despite everything else going on in her personal life, during law school, Haque was a staff member of the Health Law and Policy Brief journal and participated in the national Health Law Regulatory and Compliance Competition. Additionally, she interned in the D.C. Superior Court at the chamber of Judge Erik Christian. In that role, she drafted orders and bench memoranda.
But Haque is quick to point out that she couldn’t have done any of this without the support of her husband, mother and other family members.
“My mom used to travel back and forth to help me with my children,” says Haque. “She has been so supportive and really in many ways the backbone.”
LEGACY OF LAW
Not only does Haque acknowledge her mother’s help while in school, she says in many ways her mother is the reason she wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.
“My mother’s father, my grandfather, was a lawyer and a well-reputed politician in Bangladesh,” she says. “My mom is one of 13 children, all of whom are very well-educated, although none of them chose to become a lawyer. My mother was very young when her father passed away, and growing up, I always heard her talk about how she wished she could have become a lawyer, but she never had that opportunity. Instead she directed all that energy and passion into raising her family. I think that really influenced me. Then, when I married my husband and I watched him go through law school, going with him to the law library and studying along side him, I guess you could say I got a glimpse up close.”
Husband Ehteshamul Haque has his own practice that focuses on technology transactions and commercial contracts.
Throughout her journey, Haque has never lost focus on the fact that the law could be a powerful force in the life of the disadvantaged. Working with immigrants, recognizing their difficulties and seeing the incredible backlog of applicants, Haque says she felt she’d found her calling.
“I come from a family of immigrants,” she says. “I was just a year old when we moved to the U.S. I love this country so much and I’ve always known I wanted to find a way to give back. I guess you could say that all these experiences culminated in helping me see my dream crystalize.”
Even in the midst of her busy professional and personal life, Haque makes sure to give back to others in the guise of mentoring and participating in professional competitions for current law students. She has been a judge in both the ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition and the Jessup Competition, and makes sure to make herself available to law students seeking her guidance.
Although she modestly describes herself and her practice, Mohaimina Haque PLLC as “new”, she has already earned a reputation as a determined and passionate attorney who regularly represents clients in the D.C. Superior Court as well as the United States District Court of the District of Columbia. Focusing on a broad range of practice areas including immigration, employment, business law, personal injury and consumer protection, she offers a one-stop service from counseling to litigation.
“It was a bit challenging in the beginning,” Haque says, “getting my name out there, making sure the opposing counsel took me seriously and not be dismissive just because I’m a young attorney. But I have had success regularly going up against big law firms and come away with great results for my clients. To be underestimated never stopped me; if anything, it drove me and motivated me, because it’s the story of my life.
“Ultimately, I’m a huge believer that if I am dedicated to the cause of my client, then I will prevail.”
FAMILY VS. FIRM
As part of a two-attorney household with two young daughters the question must be asked: How does Haque manage both home and career?
“As an entrepreneur I have several contractors who help me run my business so I can primarily focus on the practice of law,” she responds. “I have law clerks, account manager, and various alliances with other law firms. As far as balancing, there are things constantly running in my head whether it’s a legal issue, the operational aspects of my law firm or something about my children. For me the way it works is, when I’m working, I’m getting a little break from being mommy and when I’m with my family it’s a little break from my office life. But I like to work and stay busy, so regardless of which role I’m in — and sometimes those are simultaneous — I’m loving what I’m doing.”