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Elisa Samuel Boerekamp

Director-General of the Center for Legal and Judicial Training

Why did you decide to study law?

Since my earlier days in the Faculty of Law, I have always been drawn to participating in debates about protecting and promoting human rights. This passion stems from a deep-seated belief in every individual's inherent dignity and worth. I see law as a powerful tool for advancing human rights and addressing systemic injustices. Studying law has allowed me to actively engage in discussions and actions aimed at safeguarding fundamental rights and freedoms for all members of society.

What is your proudest professional moment thus far?

I would say that I have had several moments of professional pride, firstly when I successfully defended legal decisions that promoted the rights of women victims of violence, minors, and victims of abuse and also when young law students tell me that I inspired them to pursue a legal career and become judges. Seeing justice done and knowing that I have positively impacted people's lives has been incredibly rewarding and has reaffirmed my commitment to the legal profession.

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Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?

Looking back, one professional decision I would have approached differently is sacrificing time with my daughter to pursue my Master's degree after work. While the dedication to my education was important, I now realize the significance of maintaining a balance between career aspirations and family commitments. I would have prioritized quality time with my daughter while still advancing my studies.

Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.

As a woman in law, I have encountered several significant professional challenges. Early in my career, I faced skepticism and subtle discrimination, with some questioning my competence based on gender stereotypes. Balancing the demands of a legal career with family responsibilities has been another ongoing challenge. Juggling long hours at work with nurturing relationships at home, particularly as a mother, has required careful time management and support from family and colleagues. Additionally, navigating male-dominated spaces within the legal profession has sometimes made it challenging to have my voice heard and my ideas valued. Despite these obstacles, I have persisted, drawing strength from the trailblazing women who have paved the way before me and striving to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for future generations of female legal professionals.

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What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?

To thrive in the legal profession as a woman, build a supportive network, prioritize self-care, seek ongoing professional development, assert your worth confidently, and advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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