Lawyers Journal

Iraqi attorney Al-Lami recognized by MBA as women's rights trailblazer

The Massachusetts Bar Association honored Iraqi attorney Sua'ad Abbas Salman Al-Lami for her work as a global leader in equal rights with a Public Service Award on May 25.

Al-Lami has made it her life's work to advance women's rights in Iraq. Voted the 2008 Iraq Female Lawyer of the Year by the Iraq Women's Foundation, she received the 2009 International Women of Courage Award from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

She is currently working toward her LLM in International Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she serves as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow.

"The Public Service Award is presented to individuals for their contributions to their community and for furthering the public understanding and respect for the law and showing extraordinary leadership and dedication to improving the administration of justice," said MBA President-elect Denise Squillante, who worked closely with Al-Lami's host, the Hon. George F. Phelan of the Probate and Family Court, to coordinate Al-Lami's visit to Massachusetts.

Al-Lami's trip spanned several days, during which she met with Gov. Deval Patrick, participated in a roundtable at Harvard's Kennedy School, and attended a host of meetings with key leaders in the Massachusetts legal community.

At the May 25 event, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, Phelan spoke of Al-Lami's fearlessness. "The magnitude of what she has done is magnified by where she's done it," he said.

Following her acceptance of the MBA award, Al-Lami addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for "all of this kindness." After sharing her own inspiring crusade to advance women's rights in Iraq, she suggested others follow her lead. "I encourage more women to be involved in women's rights issues."

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