Domestic Affairs


Addressed the role and challenges of women in the legal field

LAWC hosted on March 22 the Women in Law Conference 2018 aimed to provide career guidance and professional development growth to female law students, law faculty, attorneys, legal counselors, judges, prosecutors, alumni, and other female legal professionals at all stages of their careers.

The event was designed to bring together powerful female decision makers so that female law students could find mentors, meet role models and the community of professional women in law can grow, flourish and serve as an example for the region.

The conference is a result of NPRP9-341-5-047 Legal Education & the Skills Market in Qatar, in pursuit of its objective to explore the legal landscape for young female legal professionals in Qatar and provide a comprehensive summary of any career considerations specific to them. It brought together prominent judges, prosecutors and women working in the courts to talk about their careers and share the challenges they face and the steps they are taking to increase the number of women in courtrooms.

Attendees included QU VP for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Mariam Al-Maadeed, LAWC Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Dr Fatma M. Al-Mesleh, LAWC Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Externship Program Dr Melissa Deehring, Judge Assistant at the Supreme Judicial Council Alreem Al Naimi, Acting General Counsel and Associate General Counsel for Litigation and Compliance at Al Jazeera Media Network Farah Al-Muftah, Founder and Managing Partner at Ghada M. Darwish Law Firm Ghada M. Darwish, Director of Legal Affairs at Qatar Tourism Authority Hessa S. AlMuhannadi, Head of Juvenile and Family Prosecution at the Office of the Attorney General Maryam Abdullah Jaber, Director of Rehabilitation Department at the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre Noor Saleh Al-Hor, and Case Progression Manager at Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) Noora AlQahtani, as well as LAWC faculty, staff, and students.

Keynote speaker Asma AlHamadi, TV Presenter at AlJazeera Media Network, gave a speech on A Conversation about Women in Leadership.

The event featured the screening of a short film titled Women in Law directed by Rawda AlThani. It also included five sessions titled The Landscape of Women in Law in Qatar, Moving from Action to Results, The Realities of Gender Bias � Fact or Fiction, What is Success and How to Attain it, and More Women Leading in the Courtroom.

Speakers were from QU, Al Jazeera Media Network, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), Clyde & Co., Ghada M. Darwish Law Firm, Ministry of Interior, Office of the Attorney General, Pinsent Masons, Qatar Foundation for Protection and Social Rehabilitation, Qatar Museums, Qatar Financial Authority, Qatar Tourism Authority, QICDRC, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Squire Patton Boggs, and Supreme Judicial Council.

Discussions focused on the tools used to train young female Qatari lawyers and what actions have yielded the most impact, identifying and overcoming gender bias, driving satisfaction in the practice of law, overcoming negative bias from opposing counsel or colleagues, reducing career risk as a result of negative bias, female vs male perceptions of power and success, how to embrace your personal vision of your best life without apology or hesitation, climbing the corporate ladder, and creating flexibility in your job. Dr Melissa Deehring presented her working paper on diversity, current statistics of women in Qatar's legal profession and strategies for encouraging more women in Qatar to enter the practice of law.

Also on the program were two workshops on Using grit and growth mindset to advance women in the law and Strategies for negotiating salary. Participants were provided with practical tools to change their mindset and discover their own, true grit. They also learned vital tools for becoming their own best advocates.

In her remarks, Prof Mariam Al-Maadeed said: Over the past years, QU has strengthened links with society and has been keen to align the educational and learning process with research, creating many colleges, research centers and academic to develop the students' skills and their abilities, and to enable researchers to meet the socio-economic needs of the Qatari society. The University has gained the confidence of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, due to its research and academic excellence. This conference offers a significant platform to discuss the current situation and provide a vision for the future of women in the field of law, taking into account the country's strategic goals and needs.

Dr Melissa Deehring said: Gender diversity in the legal profession is a key initiative of most western legal education and law societies. Here in Qatar, we are just beginning to have this conversation. While Qatar's diversity in the profession is progressing at lightning speed in comparison to the west, we, as a community of smart educated women, need to encourage our legal educational providers and the profession itself to do better. We need to make greater efforts to embolden women to practice law if we truly want to seek gender diversification.