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Arab Female Lawyers Fighting for What’s Right

Meet three female lawyers who are fighting for justice. They are all to be admired for their different journeys, the adversities they faced and their triumphs.

Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran

Al Zahran, a Saudi practising lawyer and the first female attorney in Saudi Arabia, is an inspiration to millions of women around the world. She has opened up her own all-female law firm which aims to fight for the rights of local Saudi women and assist courts in understanding legal matters from a female point of view. Before becoming a fully licensed lawyer in 2013 along with three other women – Jihan Qurban, Sarra Al Omarri and Ameera Ouqani – Al Zahran had been working as a legal consultant for three years. In this time, she represented many clients in family disputes and criminal and civil cases. For the first time, Al Zahran represented a client before the General Court in Jeddah in November 2013. Al Zahran is a woman of might, taking 7th place as most powerful Arab woman in the 2015 list of Arabian Business magazine and was also included in Fortune magazine’s 2015 list of the worlds’ 50 greatest leaders.

Arwa Al-Hujaili
Al-Hujaili is a woman who doesn’t give up. After graduating from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2010, Al Hujaili petitioned the Saudi Ministry of Justice for three years before they gave her a license to officially practise as a trainee lawyer. At the young age of 25, Al Hujaili had expected her journey into the legal industry to be easier than it was. After she graduated, she was able to work as a legal consultant but wasn’t officially able to be recognised as a lawyer. Many of her female fellow graduates were in the same boat and grew frustrated with the system. Eventually, many of them moved abroad to pursue their legal careers, but Al-Hujaili stayed in Saudi Arabia to persevere. In this time, she and others started a social media campaign called ‘I am a lawyer’ which focused on women arguing their right to practise as lawyers in Saudi Arabia. Finally, King Abdullah allowed women to register as lawyers, but it wasn’t until later after that that the Ministry of Justice also allowed this too. Al-Hujaili would like to work as a lawyer in family law so she is able to help other Saudi women.

Amal Clooney

The famous Lebanese-born Amal left Beirut with her family during the civil war and migrated to America. She went on to study law at the Oxford University in 2000 and New York University in 2001.  She specialises in human rights and international law and has represented many high-profile clients, like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and even the Greek government. Even though she was known in legal circles in her own right, her marriage to actor George Clooney in 2014 definitely pushed her even further into the spotlight. 

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