GETTING TO KNOW: Michael Dagher-Margosian

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Michael Dagher-Margosian is an associate attorney at the Law Office of Joseph A. Simon PLLC in Ann Arbor, specializing in criminal defense matters, misdemeanor and felony in Washtenaw and surrounding counties.

An Ann Arbor native and the son of two criminal defense attorneys, Dagher-Margosian graduated from Michigan State University with a major in psychology and a minor in bioethics. He continued his education at MSU College of Law where he was a member of the Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA).

After graduating, Dagher-Margosian practiced law in Washtenaw County, exclusively handling criminal defense matters. Most recently, he was a trial attorney in the Lenawee County Public Defender Office where he navigated a demanding docket, handling more than 750 cases during his time there. In addition to practicing at the trial level, he has practiced at the appellate level, and he is licensed to practice in all Michigan jurisdictions and trial courts. 

The Ann Arbor resident is an active member of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM), as well as Gideon’s Promise, both of which are focused on training criminal defense attorneys in all relevant areas. 

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer?
Appealing a district court judge regarding a local practice that had been ingrained in that county’s legal system. Every lawyer in the county told me there was no chance I would succeed on the issue. I submitted the brief, conducted oral argument, and the circuit court agreed and remanded. The district court no longer conducts the practice I appealed. 

What would surprise people about your job?

How many appellate level opinions rule against the defendant. Particularly, how many cases say errors occurring at trial were “harmless,” and how many cases saying trial counsel’s performance was not “ineffective.” I also think people would be surprised—even shocked—at the limitations of our discovery rules and what has to be turned over and when. 

What books have most impacted your life?
Recently, two books that have impacted my life the most is “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. I recommend these books to anyone who has a beating heart, particularly if you are involved in the criminal justice system. 

What is the best advice you ever received?

If you say you will do something, do it. The easiest way to lose trust is to be unreliable, which is also one of the hardest things to get back. 

When you look into the past, what do you miss most?
I wish I studied abroad in college. 

Favorite podcasts?

More Perfect presented by Radiolab; Criminal Injustice; SCOTUS oral arguments presented by Oyez. The Criminal Docket presented by NACDL.

When you feel overwhelmed, what do you do?
Take a breath, get up, and go for a walk. 

Favorite stamp on your passport?
Japan. Such a wonderful culture. There is so much respect and love for the country from its citizens. They take care of their home. 

What’s something you changed your mind about recently?
I now believe that because of PFAS, I should not drink water from the faucet without putting it through a water filtering system.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do?
I would like to learn how to speak another language—probably Spanish, because of its practicality. 

Favorite local hangouts?
The Ark, The Blind Pig, Arbor Brewing Company, The Arb, Downtown Ann Arbor.

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