On March 1, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in partnership with Qatar University (QU), launched a mentoring program for aspiring female lawyers. The program pairs female QU law students with practicing female attorneys. Fifty students and mentoring attorneys attended the event. Dr. Shaikha Jabor Al Thani, QU’s vice president, welcomed attendees and said that the program would be helpful for the students’ professional development. The Honorable Judith Chirlin, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, spoke about her personal experience with mentoring and the impact it had on her professional development.
Both the mentors and the mentees welcomed the opportunity, which they said would allow them to discuss professional challenges for women lawyers. One of the participating attorneys said, “As soon as I heard about the program, I knew I had to do it. I never had a mentor, but I can be one now.”
Also in March, ABA ROLI and QU launched a domestic violence civic education program. The program provides female law students an opportunity to learn about domestic violence and its legal implications, and to discuss culturally appropriate solutions. Over the next six months, the students will design English and Arabic courses to educate Qataris outside the legal profession about domestic violence, its prevalence in Qatar, relevant Qatari laws and services available to victims. On March 10, 15 female students gathered for a simulation exercise led by professor Anne Olesen from The George Washington University Law School, who demonstrated methodology for teaching practical law to grassroots audiences.
Although three quarters of QU’s law students are female, historically few women have practiced law after graduation. By providing professional guidance and exposure to previously underemphasized areas of law, the program seeks to enhance women’s participation in the legal profession and civil society. Both the mentoring and the civic education programs are supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative.
To learn more about our work in Qatar, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.