Founder: Ziad Youssef
Why Bellingham? “Bellingham has become my community. I identify with it, and it has really grown on me.”
Favorite shop downtown? Mount Bakery
Growing up, Ziad Youssef was told he argued too much. Ever since he was in 5th grade, he knew wanted to become a lawyer. After graduating from Western in 1993, he went into law school at the age of 21. Although it took multiple tries, he passed the Bar Exam when he was 24, due to his extreme dedication and belief that practicing law is his calling. He doesn’t necessarily argue as much these days, but he certainly doesn’t settle for good enough. At his practice, MyTrafficMan Legal Care Center of Whatcom County, Ziad wants as good as it gets.
Even though he was passionate and excited after passing his Bar Exam, Ziad was young and lacked real-world experience. At about the same time he was considering moving to Texas, where he spent much of his time growing up, he saw in the paper that Whatcom Community College was looking for an instructor. Ziad stayed in Bellingham and taught accounting at Whatcom up until fairly recently.
In 2003, Ziad started practicing law on his own in a tiny, 400-square-foot cabin, which is still in the parking lot of his current building. He only had one client, and he was making more money teaching, but he considered himself very successful. “I measure success by what percentage of your dream you’re living, and I was living 100 percent of my dream,” Ziad said. He tried a little of everything, but quickly realized he liked criminal defense the best since it involves working and interacting with people most of the time. He also came to recognize the importance of traffic tickets, since they are low-stakes, but provided the opportunity to test his ability to go to trial and argue legal motions. His practice began to grow around criminal defense and traffic tickets.
Soon people were saying, “That’s my traffic man” or “You got a traffic ticket? Go to my traffic man.” The name stuck, and in 2011, it became official. MyTrafficMan is now a select alliance of top-caliber lawyers dedicated to community leadership and legal care, involving DUI, auto injury, traffic tickets and criminal defense. Dedicated to serving the community, Ziad’s practice grew out of the tiny cabin, and into a transformed warehouse that houses three lawyers, seven paralegals, two software developers and a paralegal training academy. Ziad wrote a book on the evolution of a legal care center, and has created an academy to teach paralegals about his vision on running an effective law practice.
MyTrafficMan is not just a law practice, but a care center, and places great emphasis on community leadership. Ziad and his team work to create better citizens with sustainable solutions and boundaries by guiding them through their constitutional rights. The flagship center is here in Bellingham, but MyTrafficMan also has affiliates throughout Washington. Ziad has hand-selected these attorneys only after watching them to make sure they are just as dedicated to service. With a growing number of affiliates, MyTrafficMan is a network of legal resources that can be leveraged to offer more to clients. The most gratifying part of his work is when he creates connections with clients, travel along their legal journey with them, and reach a common goal. Both as a teacher and a lawyer, Ziad wants to take advantage of the short time he has with each individual to affect the future community in a positive way.
Another way MyTrafficMan supports the community is through donations and sponsorships of organizations and businesses that Ziad believes aid in libraries, literacy and access to justice. After meeting with the Downtown Bellingham Partnership Interim Executive Director, Alice Clark, Ziad decided to donate in the DBP’s Spring Campaign: We Are All Downtown. “I saw Alice’s commitment and vision to create a downtown that we are all proud of and that we are drawn to,” Ziad said. The donation is just a small part of his commitment to downtown Bellingham. MyTrafficMan also participates in Downtown Sounds, which provides Ziad an outlet for communicating with the public about his practice and technology. This summer, he will announce details about artificial intelligence his practice has been building.
Ziad has a lot of faith in Bellingham and the businesses downtown. It is clear when talking to him that he is wholeheartedly invested in the community and its future. “I look forward to a very bright future in Whatcom County,” Ziad said. “I’m proud to call it my home.”
Visit 1828 Franklin Street Suite D for dedicated legal care.
Today's post was written by Kristin Foster, Media Intern.