— Ghada M Darwish, lawyer
Focused, strong-minded and clearheaded, this young female Qatari lawyer possesses all attributes of a professional law advocate. From a legal counsel, researcher and head of legal investigations with some of Qatar’s leading firms to finding her own law firm, Ghada M. Darwish has covered a long distance in a very short time.
A founding member of the firm, Ghada is currently a PhD candidate in administrative law with Cairo University and holds a graduation degree in law from Qatar University beside a Master’s in Public Law from Cairo University.
In the short period between finishing her Master’s and finding her own law firm, she gained experience at Khalid al Attiyah Law Firm, worked with the national human rights committee as head of Investigations and Legal Advice and Qatar Chemical Company as legal counsel.
She is a lawyer by choice. This profession has always been at the top of her career plans. And being a woman in a male-dominated profession never dissuaded her from following her dreams.
“Being a woman I enjoy this profession a lot because I have a mindset to defeat the challenges that come in my way,” Ghada tells Community in a chat. Attired in a traditional abaya, she is at work in her 15th floor office in one of Doha’s West Bay skyscrapers.
Starting with a couple of employees, her firm now has a 20-plus staff, most of them lawyers from various countries. It has recorded an increased profit rate from 2012 to 2016 even when there is recession in many areas of business due to the downfall in oil prices.
“I planned to be a lawyer and I trust my profession. I did not face any pressure from my parents. My father was very supportive, even though his ambition about me was to become a designer. I became a lawyer instead and he never interfered,” says Ghada.
Education and technology, the young lawyer says, has played a major role in parental support.
“Personally speaking, my two sisters are also lawyers who hold other legal positions, but are not practising lawyers as yet. Education and technology played a major role in my selection of career path,” points out Ghada.
Her journey to becoming a lawyer began at a very early age. A lawyer’s role in a developed society always fascinated her. She also believes this profession demands creativity and perseverance.
“It is my view to see things in a different perspective and probably that inspired me to become a lawyer. It is a noble profession and paves the way towards becoming a respected scholar,” says Ghada, who is studying to become a doctor in philosophy of law.
To become a good lawyer, one needs sharp reflexes and the ability to quickly comprehend complex situations besides having an up-to-date knowledge base.
Ghada says when she meets her client; she tries to relate to his or her story with experiences she has witnessed over time. She gets into their shows and tries to feel like them and think like them. “Only then you can completely understand their problem and are able to offer them the appropriate support they need,” she explains.
The young Qatari entrepreneur says she chose this profession because she genuinely believes it helps her contribute constructively towards greater social good.
Like all professions, it has its own challenges and remains a male-dominated area. The insecurity in the minds of the people due to the lack of self-confidence and self-esteem makes this sector egotistic, she observes. It does not bother Ghada however. She has also managed to contain the day-to-day challenges she would face at her firm. “I believe in the true spirit of team work and have a very supportive team, which includes former judges who have many years of experience under their belt,” says Ghada.
Ghada M. Darwish Law Firm is a full services law firm dealing with almost all branches of law including Arbitration, Corporate- Commercial, Construction & Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, Litigation, Civil and Criminal Laws, Sponsorship and Employment, Family law and others.
“As a fast growing firm it is very important to have expertise in all areas. Our firm has lawyers from various legal backgrounds, including Civil Law and Common Law,” says Ghada, the managing partner of the firm.
In Qatar, she says there can be no common problems as such that people may face. The issues are more or less relative. She however, suggests acquiring a basic awareness in laws and regulations of the country to everyone, including expatriates.
Ghada says her firm entertains all types of cases because she believes a lawyer should not be selective in accepting and dealing with cases, unless the matter is going against national or against public morality.
“A lawyer is supposed to support and assist those who need him or her irrespective of the merits and demerits of a case,” she elaborates.
Her firm has advised many citizens and expatriates on resolving their issues amicably besides advising people on forming appropriate business ventures; most of which are successfully running establishments now.
“We take care to publish legal articles in magazines and various websites, participate in conferences and events and try our best to contribute to people’s awareness,” says Ghada.
Every year, she adds, they associate with Qatar University in their bi-annual externship programme and also with students of other renowned educational institutions in Qatar for their research programmes. Moreover, they also take up pro bono cases for the needy.
Commenting on the upcoming law in Qatar concerning the Entry, Exit and Residency of Foreign Nationals, Ghada says it will help expatriates in choosing jobs carefully.
“With the new law, the ministries and other competent authorities will be taking the responsibility while dealing with employment issues. Moreover, the employees can directly approach the ministries for exit permit,” says Ghada.
For the future of her firm, she plans to start a training division of its own with a view to legally educate the general public as well as students.
The firm also plans an e-learning facility and improved collaborations with business establishments in the region. It has associate firms in around 13 countries and they are cooperating with them in legal matters.
From here on, Ghada says she is focusing on building an authentic legal firm that gains the trust and respect regionally and internationally at all levels of legal practice. And she is well on her way.
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