Consistently committed to public service, Mia Olsen’s journey to our nation’s capital involved numerous experiences working on behalf of children and families. At Miami Law, the 2010 graduate had the opportunity to begin developing her advocacy skills as a Summer Public Interest Fellow. She became a dedicated participant within the Children and Youth Law Clinic (CYLC), serving as an intern for one year and a fellow the following year.
In Washington, D.C., Olsen has continued her work with children in her position with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, representing the District in cases involving paternity establishment and child support enforcement and establishment. Olsen may have changed cities, but her passion for helping children remains a driving force for her.
Olsen first became interested in children’s issues after observing the work of her father, a pediatrician who works internationally on children’s rights issues. Her passion for children’s issues was furthered by her experience in the CYLC. Inspired by her father’s work and her experience in the clinic, Olsen pursued a position with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) after graduation. There, she represented the state in cases involving child abuse, abandonment and neglect.
Olsen left DCF in 2011 to pursue a career with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where she litigates cases involving the establishment of paternity and the establishment and enforcement of child support orders. “The best part of my job is seeing the impact it has on the families with whom I work,” she said.
Olsen reflects on her time at Miami Law. “It was inspiring to live in such a vibrant city, and although the course work was challenging, the professors were accessible and willing to help,” she said. Olsen’s connection to Miami Law extends to her personal life as well, as she met her husband, Michael Olsen, JD ’09, LLM ’10, at a HOPE alumni event in Washington D.C. Although they were at Miami Law at the same time, they did not know each other while they were students.
To students interested in pursuing a career in public service, Olsen advises keeping an open mind, both in terms of the types of public service opportunities and in terms of the work itself. Olsen encourages students to look broadly at public interest openings and to consider government opportunities. In addition, she is now in court frequently, sometimes as often as four times per week, but in law school she had very little interest in pursuing a career in litigation. Olsen also strongly advises that students and attorneys always act civil towards opposing counsel because, as Olsen said, “people transition between government and nonprofit, so one day you may oppose someone who the next day could be your colleague.”