Celebrating ArentFox Schiff’s Veterans: Mir Ali on Going From Military Service to Client Service

Mir Ali, Captain, US Army Special Forces (Green Berets)

Mir Ali, Captain, US Army Special Forces (Green Berets)After four years in ROTC at the University of Illinois, Mir began serving on active duty in 2000. He first served as an Army infantry officer and later was accepted into the Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and served as a Detachment Commander from 2004 to 2007 before starting law school at Michigan.

Why did you choose a legal career?

Law was something that I had always thought about. So many things in the world, and in our country, are governed by laws. I thought about how I could make a difference in many people’s lives being able to serve others in a legal capacity. So many needs cannot be fulfilled until they have proper legal representation.

What does military service bring to your legal practice?

So much success in the military has to do with leadership skills and teamwork, and that all transfers over to legal practice as well. Serving in the military, you bring maturity, having that life experience, discipline, and organizational skills. It also helped dealing with the stress of law school. It was very different going from combat to sitting in a law library 10 hours a day. It took a lot of mental and physical discipline.

What was your experience with diversity in the military? And how did others view you as a Muslim?

The military is a reflection of the American society, so the military is very diverse with people coming from so many different backgrounds. It is amazing to see so many people of different races, religions, and beliefs coming together to accomplish a single mission and serve under the same flag. After 9/11, my commanders viewed me as a resource. A lot of folks talked to me and wanted me to educate them about Islam.

Why did you decide to serve in the military?

Both of my parents were immigrants from India and Pakistan. I was born here, so I did not have to go through all the struggles my parents did in order to enjoy the rights and freedoms of American citizens. My dad always told me how he wished he’d had the opportunity to serve. I felt a huge debt of gratitude to my country. Both of my parents were very proud and supportive of my decision to join the military.

What do you remember most from your deployments to Afghanistan?

When I was there, I tried to base success not on Afghanistan as a whole, because there were so many factors that were outside my control. I focused on the impact me and my team made on individual people. I remember the children of Afghanistan most, because they are the future of that nation. If we made a positive difference in just one of their lives, I would consider myself successful.

Special Awards:

  • 3 Bronze Star Medals
  • Purple Heart Medal
  • Ranger Tab
  • Special Forces Tab