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Dallas Observer

Legal Warrior

September 20, 2004

Dallas attorney Mike Snipes ends two careers this fall following a hair-raising stint in the hinterlands of Iraq. For 14 years, Snipes has been an assistant U.S. Attorney. Since 1988, he's specialized in white-collar fraud.

For 14 years Colonel Mike Snipes also has been a warrior in the Army Reserve. "Unlike other jobs in the Army," says Snipes, a West Point grad and former military prosecutor, "the legal work never stops."

Snipes took command of the legal unit for the 1st Infantry Division in June 2001. After 9-11, Snipes and his team of 75 worked every weekend to help soldiers write wills, shutter businesses and terminate leases - important but hardly dangerous work.

Early this year, Snipes got called to active duty. "They asked me to send 14 of our lawyers to Germany," Snipes says. "I wasn't going to send my guys and me not go." Snipes supervised courts-martial in Germany. When ordered to send an attorney to Iraq as adjutant to Major General John Batiste in the Tikrit region, Snipes jumped at the chance. "I thought it would be the best way to end my career," he says.

Living in the back of a truck, Snipes took notes and wrote speeches for Batiste. For two months, Snipes accompanied Batiste on trips to meet local leaders. "Most of the people there love us," Snipes says. "What they want us to do is leave when things are stable and secure."

After returning to Dallas, Snipes entered private practice. And he has gone on Individual Ready Reserve status. He watches the news with a fresh eye. "So many good things are happening," Snipes says. "But it only takes one horrible terrorism act to make that look completely different."