Beyond the Bar Number – Marsha Chien

Marsha Chien
Photo courtesy of author

Marsha Chien


LAW SCHOOL: University of Pennsylvania Law School

I am a managing assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the Washington Attorney General’s Office. I can be reached at

. . .

Before law school, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.

My greatest talent as a lawyer is that I remember the reasons why I became a lawyer.

My greatest accomplishment as a lawyer is working to enjoin the first Muslim travel ban.

The best advice I have for new lawyers is to ask questions—some things don’t make sense and asking why is the only way to figure that out.

A funny story that happened to me while practicing: I was interviewed on camera by Univision about one of my cases when I worked in legal aid. Unfortunately, I only realized when I got home that my dress was on backward.

Technology has changed the practice of law by requiring me to know what metadata means.

The most memorable trip I ever took was to Montrose, Colorado, where I lived in a tent for the summer and worked on an organic farm owned by two chain-smoking sisters.

I enjoy reading People magazine; i.e., the New Yorker of tabloids.

My best recipe I make at home is fried rice.

My fitness routine is non-existent, but used to be my bike commute to work.

I worry about my to-do list.

I am happiest when dancing with my kids.

I grew up in Virginia.

Nobody would ever suspect that I once worked as a ramp agent, directing airplanes into gates, at Dulles International Airport.

I regret that third donut.

An item I will never throw out is leftovers.

My idea of misery is cleaning out the fridge.

My first car was a 1997 Honda Accord. In the 10 years that I owned it, it was stolen three times, but it came back to me every time.

You should give this a try: eggs and salsa in your oatmeal. It’s delicious, and I’m pretty sure it’s good for you.

I have been telling others not to miss Pamela Adlon’s Better Things. It’s about the highs and lows of raising daughters, and I just had my third, so I’ve been taking notes.

marsha chien
Photo courtesy of the author

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