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Amran Farah

2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Amran Farah

Like many other lawyers, Amran Farah bills eight hours a day. But her second job is encouraging people of color in the legal profession.

During her career, Farah has held many positions where she did so. She’s president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, and past president of the Somali American Bar Association, which she helped found. She’s visited area charter schools to encourage students to visit judges’ chambers, and mentored some of the students afterward.

She also helped improve the Minnesota District Court’s Open Doors to Federal Courts program, which seeks to inspire kids to explore the law as a profession. Three years ago, Farah was recruited to help make the program more relatable.

“We decided, ‘Let’s get kids to act like they’re lawyers,’” Farah says. Hoping that a mock trial would be more engaging, Farah and another lawyer came up with a scenario where one student alleged that another had stolen an iPhone. Even the shyer students took on roles in the ensuing mock trial. The next year, Farah came up with a scenario involving rappers and trademark infringement.

“We wanted to do a case like that, because there’s a vast variety of law you can practice,” Farah says. Open Doors still uses the scenario today.

Whatever the situation, Farah tries to keep people and firms honest about their real commitment to diversity. “It’s not enough to hire somebody who’s diverse,” she says. “Sometimes you do them a disservice in hiring them and giving them no support. It’s about retention and being promoted and supported as a valued member of the firm.”

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