Mimi Buescher joined our office in 2010. Recently, I sat down with her over tea to find out more about her personal history.
Mimi was born and grew up in San Francisco. San Francisco was an exciting city to experience in the late “60”s with all of its social and cultural opportunities and remains one of her favorite cities.
After high school she entered college at Gonzaga in Spokane and then, after graduation she worked in the area for a few years before going back to Gonzaga to the law school. Law had long been on her mind as a career, going back to the influence of her grandfather who had been a lawyer.
After law school Mimi had the opportunity to travel to the country of Malawi in Africa. She was fortunate to have been offered a position as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Malawi in Zomba. The Law School had been founded by one of the professors at Gonzaga. The University was an amazing environment with teachers from all over the world and students eager to learn. It was an eye opening experience and one that she highly valued; she was able to take advantage of wonderful opportunities to travel throughout Africa and took full advantage of experiences available, such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, visiting other African nations by train, and making lasting friendships.
This experience influenced Mimi’s future in many respects, not least of which was her abiding interest in travel. It also impacted her view of what was meaningful in her choice of law practice. Malawi was a former British colony but had elected as President a “benevolent” dictator. There was a great deal of censorship, and there were many politically motivated deaths and “disappearances”, including even some University students. One trial that she took some of her students to observe was illuminating. The defendant, on trial for some form of treason (which basically meant opposing the country’s President in any way), was forced to defend himself without any legal assistance and no due process. He was in shackles and and obviously very ill and unable to help himself. It was clear the trial was a sham.
For Mimi, this experience made very real why the type of legal process we enjoy is so fundamentally important. Her experience in Africa remains a stark reminder of what could happen if we didn’t have due process protection and why people need to have access to representation.
After Mimi returned from Africa, she worked first in Utah and then in Seattle as both a prosecutor and a public defender. In Seattle, she met her husband of 27 years, Craig Platt, who is also an attorney. Shortly after their first child was born, both Mimi and her husband were offered contract opportunities in Saipan. In Saipan, a part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana islands, Mimi worked for the Attorney General’s Office defending criminal appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
When they returned to the states, Mimi and her husband settled on Whidbey Island believing it a wonderful community in which to live and raise their family. On Whidbey, they started a criminal defense firm, from which Mimi diversified her practice into Family Law. She also often sat as a Judge Pro Tem.
Raising children while both parents were practicing law was hectic. At times she and her husband would literally be passing a child from one to the other on the court house steps as one came out of a hearing and the other was going in. As everyone who has been there knows, somehow everything does seem to get accomplished and before you know it, the children are leaving the “nest”.
As the children grew up and left home, Mimi and her husband wanted to take greater advantage of all that Seattle had to offer. Whidbey had been a fantastic place to live and raise their children, but the empty nest cried for a more active life style. Craig and Mimi agreed to expand their practices and began taking more cases in Seattle courts. Mimi began her association with Seattle Divorce Services in Ballard at that time.
I asked Mimi about how her experiences and values affected her personal and career choices. She said she learned from her opportunities in Africa and Saipan to value travel and to appreciate different cultures. They helped her to better understand not just the larger world, but also the different life experiences of every client in her practice and what is important in life.
Mimi believes that the best way to experience life is to be open to seizing opportunities as they arise. Despite the somewhat exotic background, she characterized herself as somewhat old-fashioned. She learned from her parents the value of good parenting and the value of education.
As a lawyer, she learned she does not need to be hard-edged or competitive. She doesn’t feel she has anything she needs to prove. What is important to her in her practice is her priority that children should come first and “family” is defined by it’s members. She strives to work with her clients to help them achieve a sense of security for the children as well as for themselves.
She likes to help her clients think beyond themselves, to look at how they can work with their ex-spouses as parents and focus on the best interests of their children. In this way, divorce can be successful. That is Mimi’s goal in every case and for every client.