AMANDLA! WOMEN TO WATCH EDITION
Partner, AB & David, Ghana.
Why did you decide to study law?
After my mother talked me out of my dream to be a nun, I wanted to be a medical doctor. Unfortunately, I lost interest in physics and I knew my dream of having a stethoscope around my neck and attending to patients would not materialize. It was then that the idea of becoming a lawyer crept in. I vividly remember my dad’s wig in a black tin box with his name inscribed in gold on it and I longed to get one when I became a lawyer! Honestly, I cannot say at the time that I wanted to champion the cause of the under privileged in society or to right some wrongs. I just thought then that it would be “cool” to be a lawyer and have my name inscribed in gold on a black tin box!!
What is your proudest professional moment thus far?
This will certainly be the custody battle I won for a client who was at risk of losing her children. As a mother, I empathized with the client whose ex-husband had surreptitiously taken the children from school in Italy (where they lived), flown them to Ghana, where he left them in a remote and dreary village with his extended family without my client’s prior knowledge and returned to Italy. The client was in absolute agony when she came to Ghana and saw the condition in which her girls were living. Fighting for my client and re-uniting her with her two daughters made me so proud to be a lawyer.
Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?
Looking back, I wish I had dedicated more of my time to working for underprivileged women and children as my practice grew. I am grateful, that I have clawed back some of that lost time in the work I currently do to support NGOs engaged in empowering women to appreciate how the law protects them and impacts their families and economic lives.
Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.
Managing the home and active practice is no mean feat. My early years of practice were honestly very unhappy. Newly married with very young children coupled with an unyielding boss compounded my woes, but I managed to sail through those difficult years by the Grace of God through very hard work and the commitment to have a successful career and a peaceful home.
What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?
Being organized has kept my head above water. Time management has enabled me to prioritize the most important cases and high maintenance clients and to prepare adequately to represent them in court. Being prepared gives me the necessary confidence to seize the moment. It is noteworthy that nowadays, most clients are literate, ask questions and are very interested in proceedings in court. Such clients can easily decipher between a lawyer who understands her brief and one who is surface deep and only playing to the gallery.As a civil litigator, these practical tips have been
extremely helpful in my practice and in line with a favourite quote by Oprah Winfrey; “….. luck is preparation meeting opportunity”.