There are many reasons why people choose to practice law for a career. Some do it for the financial incentive, some do it because they enjoy the intricacy and complexity of the legal system, and some, such as Hamad Al-Yafei, do it solely in the name of justice.
“I get an enormous sense of satisfaction from helping those who have no avenue left to turn to and who are close to losing all hope in justice,” explains Al-Yafei, who has a reputation as something of a zealous crusader on behalf of the dispossessed. Al-Yafei adds, “Being able to utilize my particular skill set to benefit individuals and communities in need is more vital now than ever, and as a lawyer, I regard it as my responsibility.”
There is a long and noble tradition of lawyers who strive to give a voice to those whose circumstances society has conspired to render mute. Nevertheless, lawyers as a whole often labor under the weight of an unfair reputation. They have been derogatorily described as ‘bloodsuckers’ and ‘sharks in suits.’ The public at large has a false perception that all lawyers are motivated solely by money at the cost of justice. Like most generalizations, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Al-Yafei explains, “Law firms across the world often take on pro bono legal cases and fight on behalf of those who would usually lack the financial means to access legal services. When lawyers work in a pro bono capacity, they are effectively working for free. We don’t charge a fee for this sort of work because we regard it as our duty to help others and be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
The good news is that the appetite for pro bono legal work seems to be growing amongst lawyers everywhere. Many individuals who practice law are financially comfortable and can afford to dedicate a portion of their time to tackling social problems and take on cases for clients who could not otherwise afford legal representation.
Al-Yafei says, “I was always attracted by the humanitarian aspect of being a lawyer. I believe being an advocate is a noble career. It affords me the opportunity to try and make the world a better place.”