About Dyan

When you hire Dyan Williams to represent you, expect to get personalized service, tailored solutions, and attention to details that make or break your case.

Dyan is the founder of Dyan Williams Law PLLC and is the principal attorney practicing in two areas: immigration law and legal ethics/professional responsibility.

Prior to establishing her own firm in October 2014, Dyan was a managing attorney at a prominent immigration law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for eight years. Dyan  also worked as an immigration law clerk for an additional four years, while she pursued her J.D. degree at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her top areas of expertise include overcoming immigration marriage fraud findings; obtaining waivers for unlawful presence, misrepresentation and immigration violations; challenging expedited removal orders and visa refusals; and getting complex naturalization cases approved.

In addition, Dyan has advised solo practitioners and small law firm lawyers on legal ethics and professional responsibility matters since 2006. She is well-versed in ethics issues related to competence, diligence, client communication, advertising, conflicts of interest, and fee agreements.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Dyan has a multicultural background and a genuine understanding of one’s desire to study, work and live in the United States. Her maternal and paternal grandparents migrated from mainland China to the island of Jamaica to set up family businesses. Her second-generation immigrant parents encouraged her to have a strong work ethic, pursue her dreams with tenacity, and add value to her community.

Dyan arrived in the United States on an F-1 student visa to attend the University of Minnesota, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree, with a double major in journalism & mass communication and political science, and a minor in speech communication. While she was pursuing her master’s degree in Human Resources & Industrial Relations at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, she switched to an H-1B temporary worker visa. She later became a  lawful permanent resident and then a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Before she became an attorney, Dyan was a communication consultant at a global human resources consulting firm, Watson Wyatt Worldwide (now Towers Watson).  She worked with a wide range of clients — from international corporations to local non-profit organizations — to develop employee communication strategies and materials on organizational change management, training & development, merit-based compensation, benefit plans, and other human resources issues.

When advising immigration clients, Dyan draws from her firsthand experience in immigrating to the United States. When counseling lawyers on legal ethics, Dyan applies her direct encounters with ethics issues as a practicing attorney and the founder of her own firm.  She leverages her multifaceted background to deliver high-quality service and tailor-made solutions to her clients. She now lives around the Twin Cities area with her husband and their daughter.

Admissions:

Minnesota Supreme Court, 2005

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 2006

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2007

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2008

Associations & Activities:

American Immigration Lawyers Association, Member (AILA), 2006 to present

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (Minnesota’s Lawyers’ Assistance Program), Board of Directors, 2009 to 2012

University of St. Thomas, School of Law, Adjunct Professor – Mentor Externship Program, 2012 to 2013

Immigration columnist for Mshale, an African community newspaper in the Twin Cities, 2005 – 2013

Certified life coach, yoga teacher and tai chi form instructor, who speaks, writes, and coaches individuals and groups on how to maximize their productivity and live and work purposefully.

Presenter of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses on legal ethics, practice management, personal productivity, work/life integration, stress mastery, and other related topics.

Education:

Juris Doctor degree – William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota. Dyan was a member of the William Mitchell Law Review, a lead member of the William Mitchell Trial Advocacy Team, and a scholarship recipient for her high academic credentials.

Master of Arts degree in Human Resources & Industrial Relations – Curtis L. Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. Dyan was awarded a fellowship for her academic achievement.

Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and Political Science and a minor in Speech Communication – University of Minnesota. Dyan received five merit-based scholarships from the School of Journalism & Mass Communication for her academic performance and potential for a career in mass communication.

Published Cases:

Sugule v. Frazier, 639 F.3d 406 (8th Cir. 2011) (wrote legal briefs)

Ginters v. Frazier, 614 F.3d 822 (8th Cir. 2010) (wrote legal briefs and presented oral argument)

Ndonyi v. Mukasey, 541 F.3d 702 (7th Cir. 2008)(wrote legal briefs and presented oral argument)

Presentations and Speaking Engagements include:

The Trump Factor: Tackling Ethical Pitfalls and Stress in Unchartered Immigration Territory, 2017 Upper Midwest Immigration Law Conference (AILA/MN Dakota Chapter and The Advocates for Human Rights), May 19, 2017

From Procrastination to Action: How to Stop Using Busyness as a Proxy for True Productivity, Business Law Institute, Minnesota CLE – May 2, 2017

Responding to Ethics Complaints: 5 Must-Dos and 5 Must-Knows, Minnesota CLE, Live Webcast – May 31, 2016 and December 22, 2016

Ethics in Practice: Exploring Ethics from Different Practice Perspectives (as Panelist), William Mitchell-Hamline Alumni Events – November 18, 2015

Managing Client Expectations (before and after representation begins) (as Panel Moderator), AILA MN/Dakotas Chapter – July 16, 2015

5 Ethics Mistakes that Solos and Small Law Firms Make (and the Ethical Solutions to Avoid and Overcome Them), Minnesota CLE, Live Webcast – May 26, 2015

Work/Life Balance: The Key to Being a Competent, Diligent and Trusted Lawyer, Upper Midwest American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Conference – April 24, 2015

5 Business Mistakes that Solos and Small Law Firms Make (and the Ethical Solutions They’re Afraid to Try), Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) CLE – March 11, 2015

The Mindful Mediator: How to Stay Neutral in Conflict Resolution
Mediation Center – June 25, 2014

Focus and Flow: Accomplishing More by Decluttering and Single-Tasking
Minnesota CLE, Live Webcast – May 30, 2013

Failures, Screw-Ups & Unknowns (and Why They Can Be Good For You)
William Mitchell College of law, Alumni CLE Series – December 14, 2012

Opening up to Difficulties & Disappointment: How to Get Unstuck and Recover from Setback
Hennepin County Bar Association, Live Webcast – June 12, 2012

This Time It’s About Us: Risk Management for Lawyers Hennepin County Bar Association CLE – April 25, 2012

Embracing Change: Overcoming Resistance and Getting Unstuck
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) CLE – March 28, 2012

Immigration in the Workplace
William Mitchell College of Law, Alumni CLE Series – March 23, 2012

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout
University of St. Thomas, School of Law CLE – February 13, 2012

The Principles of Recovery and the Practice of Law
Minnesota CLE, Live Webcast – October 28, 2011

The Engaged Lawyer: Paying Attention & Thriving in the Midst of Chaos and Uncertainty
Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Live Webinar – October 12, 2011

Befriending Time: Breaking Free From Busyness or Stuckness
William Mitchell College of Law, Perspectives on the Legal Profession – March 28, 2011 (Sponsored by Counseling Services)

The Practice of Being: Mastering Stress and Finding Meaning as a Lawyer

  • Minnesota CLE, Live Webcast – March 9, 2011
  • National Bar Related Insurance Companies (NABRICO) Annual Conference – September 15, 2010
  • Board Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists, 6th Annual Member Rewards Seminar – June 22, 2010

The Practice of Being: Mastering Stress and Finding True Meaning in the Legal Profession
William Mitchell College of Law, Perspectives on the Legal Profession

  • October 30, 2010 (Sponsored by Minnesota Justice Foundation)
  • April 10, 2010 (Sponsored by Student Bar Association)
  • March 17, 2010 (Sponsored by Counseling Services)

The New Lawyer Experience – Maintaining the Work-Life Balance: How Busy Lawyers Stay Sane (Panelist)
Minnesota State Bar Association, January 15, 2010.

Publications include:

Befriending Time: Breaking Free From Busyness or Stuckness
(Bench & Bar of Minnesota, February 2011)

The Practice of Being: Mastering Stress and Finding Meaning as a Lawyer (Bench & Bar of Minnesota, March 2010)

Articles on Immigration Blog, The Legal Immigrant

Articles on Legal Ethics Blog, The Ethical Lawyer