Home Muhammad They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 – Patterson Belknap’s Muhammad Faridi

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 – Patterson Belknap’s Muhammad Faridi

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They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 – Patterson Belknap’s Muhammad Faridi

Please describe two of your most substantial recent victories in practice.
I won two trials this year. While both were important, the first was a judge’s decision. The second was a jury verdict where our client was awarded $2.036 billion. There’s something special about standing anxiously next to your colleagues and your client as the verdict is read. And then the hugs that follow.

The other significant victory this year was in a pro bono case where we sued the government for refusing to grant US citizenship to a Muslim religious figure from Sudan. Victory was made sweeter when we received our attorney fees, which our firm will donate to worthy causes focused on immigrant and refugee rights.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a freshman lawyer and how does it influence your practice today?
During my first year as a lawyer, I clerked for the judge Jack B. Weinstein, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. During my externship, I had the honor of assisting Judge Weinstein, among other things, in the preparation of the Cardozo lecture at the New York City Bar Association. In this lecture, Judge Weinstein highlighted the role of empathy in the practice of law. As Judge Weinstein said in that lecture, “The empathy component – of humanity, of human minds – is vital to upholding the rule of law, yet it often goes unnoticed, ignored and even ridiculed. in the legal profession where the focus is primarily on law and facts, he implored members of the bar not to overlook its importance as “it gives life and meaning to our work as lawyers”.

This is perhaps the most valuable lesson I will ever learn as a lawyer. I have tried to heed Judge Weinstein’s warning over the years in my representation of businesses as well as pro bono clients. In my corporate and pro bono work as a trial lawyer, Judge Weinstein’s lecture served as a constant reminder not to overlook the role that emotion, experience and perspective play in decision-making. in corporate and personal environments. This has allowed me to better represent my clients, listen more carefully to their concerns, write better factums, conduct more effective deposition and trial interviews, and understand the dynamics in the courtroom.

How do you define success in your practice?
I define success as something very simple: being able to go to bed at night knowing that you have helped a client through a difficult situation. This is true both in my corporate and pro bono practice. On the occasions when I feel like I haven’t been able to help my client or my client made the wrong decision despite my advice, I feel like a failure – and those are the nights I struggle. to fall asleep.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
I take pride in the fact that my work has helped make the lives of my pro bono clients a little easier. These clients usually come to me during the most difficult times of their lives. I couldn’t help all of them, but there are a few I helped. This includes my very first pro bono client, an immigrant family from Honduras who lived in Spanish Harlem and whose children suffered from physical ailments, such as asthma, resulting from poor maintenance (e.g., lack of remove mold) from their apartment. Thanks to a written plea, I was able to get the landlord to make repairs to the apartment. The joy I felt when the customer called me after the repairs is what drives me to keep doing this kind of work.

Who is your greatest legal mentor and what have you learned from them?
I had many great mentors. On my first day at Patterson Belknap, I was assigned to work on a case with Erik Haas—a partner who is now head of global litigation at Johnson & Johnson. He led by example, and I tried to do what he did: work hard and be a zealous advocate for our customers. I have tried to emulate his commitment to his clients, whether corporate or voluntary.

Here’s an example of his involvement: I worked with him on a pro bono case where we represented a grandmother who was being kicked out of her home because her mentally challenged grandson had avenged against his attackers. After spending all night in the office working for a client company, he showed up at Housing Projects in Yonkers at 8:30am to meet the client and me. This is the type of lawyer I wanted to be. I would be remiss if I did not name my parents as my legal mentors, Munir Fatima Faridi and Mohammad A. Faridi. They are not lawyers, but they nonetheless framed me in the law through their courage and strength, and emphasizing through their life experiences that struggle is a necessary part of success.

Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
My musical tastes are stuck in the late 1990s. So Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” has been and will continue to be on the playlist forever.

My children also force me to listen to popular music today. We’re all big fans of Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves,” a song we sing along to when it’s on the radio.

Mohamed Faridi specializes in high-impact cases involving breach of contract and commercial crimes. As a teenager, he immigrated to the United States from Pakistan and worked as a taxi driver in New York City while attending City University of New York School of Law. He co-chairs his firm’s Employee Resource Group for Lawyers of Color and a New York Bar committee focused on retaining diverse attorneys.