Working in the legal profession is a challenge at the best of times. From the hours to the technical challenges and the sheer tenacity of counterparties that lawyers often face, it is a space that challenges and pushes professionals to their limit.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting deeply on my sense of purpose and what drives me, as well as the spirit that gives purpose to my team.
In this first piece on our new website, I thought the very purpose and vision of our firm would be an apt place to start
Our recent digital relaunch: A chance to reconnect with purpose
The question of “purpose” and “why we do what we do” was brought into sharp focus recently as we relaunched the digital presence of our firm.
With a new website also came a new way of communicating with our audience: a combination of social media activity (done in a slightly different way) and a video that told our story in a nutshell.
A core part of this relaunch was the development of our Resource Centre on our new website. And it is this which caught many people’s attention and made me think about the “purpose” question too.
At the core of it, our Resource Centre is about empowering people with knowledge. It isn’t – and will never be – a replacement for legal advice. But it’s a chance to give people some critical information that they need as they seek justice in their own lives and in their own matters.
We’ve already got clients of the firm who are connecting with the information on this Centre deeply, and are able to have more informed conversations about their rights, and what they are entitled to by law.
This knowledge is powerful. It is about creating better opportunities for justice for people who otherwise would be completely beholden to a jargon and language they barely understand.
Bringing this to life for people in our community and networks is humbling. I’m delighted we took the step, because this empowerment is about the core of the purpose that animates our firm.
Our purpose: Justice for everyone
As I thought about the above question and what gave me excitement about our new journey was – at the core of it – one critical thing: my desire to fight for and enable justice for everyone.
As a person of Muslim Lebanese heritage, I grew up much of my formative life with a unique sense of the injustice our people faced. From the stereotypes to the media coverage and – in several instances – racism embedded within the way the law was implemented by police and government, I saw first hand the impacts of justice not being served equally for everyone in society.
And this desire for justice became an animating force for me in the younger part of my life. Activism at university was the early manifestation of this, but since then, as a junior lawyer, I saw the power of conscientious legal work in being able to secure justice for people who otherwise would be deprived of it.
And since then, that desire has only grown, manifesting itself in El Baba Lawyers and the work we do. That tenacity is the core of what we do: helping people ensure their rights are not infringed and that they are given the best possible chance to defend themselves or – in some cases – that they can bring actions to hold people in power to task for their abuse of it.
While our firm works in a diverse range of areas, the justice I speak of here is naturally usually the province of criminal law. People do often ask me: “How do you work in criminal law?” This is both from the perspective of how demanding it and also the idea that I may at times “defend criminals”. While I get the sentiment, I think such questions sometimes miss the mark.
The reality is that a lot of very privileged people get away with things a lot worse than any crime people in our part of the world commit. But they – armed to the teeth with legal resources – get away with almost everything, whereas the everyday person is left without recourse to legal defence, mitigations, or even the chance to be heard.
And then there are the cases of outright injustice that we see all too frequently. Recently, we were reminded just how far this can go with the freeing of Adnan Syed in America. 22 years in jail and released because police are now convinced he was incorrectly held guilty.
Imagine that. 22 years of your life. And you weren’t responsible for what you were held in jail for. In my mind, even one such acquittal is worth a lawyer’s entire career if they were able to secure it.
And that is why we love doing what we do.
I look forward to connecting with more thoughts on the law in the coming weeks and months.