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2011 LL.M. Grad Profiled in Spring 2011 Perspectives

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Mohamed Elian
(LL.M. ’11)


Mohamed Elian
LL.M. Class of 2011

During the height of Egypt’s antigovernment protests, LL.M. student Mohamed Elian of Cairo had trouble focusing on his studies. He devoured news from home via Alarabiya, Al Jazeera,Twitter, Facebook, and other sources. "I wanted to be part of it," he says.

One day, the urge to go home was so strong, Elian was just one computer click away from buying a plane ticket. Then his phone rang. It was his older brother, Moatz. "Don’t come," his brother said. "There are no police. Thugs are scaring people. We’ll do what we can here for the revolution. You do what you need to do there so you can help us in the future." The conversation convinced Elian to stay in Minneapolis and carry on the tradition of his father and at least 50 of his relatives, including many aunts and cousins, who are practicing attorneys.

After graduation from Cairo University Law School in 2003, Elian took a job with his father’s firm, Mamdouh Elian Law Office. His father didn’t waste time breaking him in. One day in court, without warning, his father handed Elian the robe required for Egyptian lawyers and told him to speak to the judge. "I didn’t have time to argue," Elian says (with his father, that is; he did advocate for his client).

Most Egyptian firms do not specialize, so Elian got experience in criminal, civil, administrative, and business law. After three years, he took a job as an in-house attorney with an Egyptian mobile phone company. The work solidified his interest in business law. Meanwhile, he fell in love with a Minnesotan, and in 2009 they moved to the United States.

During his LL.M. work, Elian has focused on business-related courses. Next he plans to study for the LSAT and GMAT in hopes of being admitted to the Law School and Carlson School of Management in 2012. He also has been studying Islamic law with eye toward one day helping create an Islamic financial system for use in western nations and the Islamic world. "I want to be a bridge between the two cultures," Elian says.