GETTING TO KNOW: Soni Hope Mithani

Attorney Soni Hope Mithani was born in Missouri, and grew up in Saginaw.

A graduate of the University of Michigan Business School and Harvard Law School, she practiced law in Washington, D.C. for four years before moving back to Michigan. She has been an attorney with Miller Canfield since 1999.

Mithani lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Jeffrey Morenoff, a professor of sociology and public policy at the University of Michigan, and their daughter.

She serves on the Board of Directors for Ozone House, which provides crisis-intervention services to at-risk youth in Washtenaw County.

By Teresa A. Killeen
Washtenaw County Bar Association

Did know you wanted to be an attorney?
I knew I wanted to be a lawyer starting in high school. I originally wanted to be a prosecuting attorney, but switched gears when I found my civil procedure much more interesting than my criminal law and procedure classes. During law school, I worked in the school-run legal aid clinic for two years and as a 3L, I argued a case on appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

What jobs did you have before you became an attorney?
I worked retail in high school and college. My senior year of college I worked at The Earport, a little jewelry store on South University where I learned how to make earrings and pierce ears.

What would your second career choice have been if you had not become a lawyer?
Realistically, I probably would have settled into a career in finance or accounting, especially because I earned a BBA from the University of Michigan. But, I have definitely grown (and changed) as a person over the years and I think if I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would be a social worker.

What is your favorite movie or book?
My favorite movie is “The Princess Bride.” It’s the only movie where I’ve actually memorized several of the lines. And, it still makes me laugh. I have too many favorite books to list them all, but my list includes “Jane Eyre,” “Little Women,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” “And the Band Played On,” “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” “Atonement” (but not the ending), “The Goldfinch,” “The Poisonwood Bible,” “The Stand,” “The Art of Fielding,” . . . I could go on and on; there are so many books with characters and stories that have moved me over the years.

What are some of your favorite places that you have visited?
I have been incredibly fortunate to travel and visit many different places in my lifetime. It is hard to narrow down my favorites. When I was a kid, I loved visiting Washington, D.C., so much so that I decided to live there after I completed law school. In my twenties, I visited Kenya and went on safari. It was breathtaking to wake up in the morning and watch the animals trek towards water just around sunrise. When I was in my 30s, my husband and I visited Banff and hiked the Athabasca Glacier. Staring down a crevasse and seeing glacial attrition were eye-opening experiences. Shortly after that, we visited Paris and spent a week living in a third-story apartment on the Ile de St. Louis (which made us feel like authentic Parisians). In my forties, my family toured Tuscany and Piemonte with a family friend, who happens to be a wine importer and so we experienced the vineyards of Italy first-hand. And, recently, we visited Madrid and I was able to purchase handmade leather gloves at a tiny shop that has been in business since World War I. But, my most favorite place to visit has been the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, which is home to several beautiful waterfalls along with spectacular beaches filled with jasper and quartz and the rare Petoskey stone here and there!

When you have a little extra money, where do you like to spend it?
Polish pottery. I’m addicted!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy giving back to the community and the profession when I can. In addition to volunteering with Ozone House, I serve on the State Bar’s Standing Committee for Character and Fitness and on the State Bar Government Law Section Council. I also enjoy gardening in our 80-year old garden, and playing the piano. I also love hanging out with my family, reading fiction, cooking for friends, and watching U-M football and basketball.

Why do you choose to be a member of the WCBA?
Over the years, it has offered great opportunities to get involved in our community bar and to get to know the other lawyers who practice in Washtenaw County.
Reprinted with permission from the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s newsletter, Res Ipsa Loquitur.


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