This month we chat to 24-year-old Medina Hassim who is a candidate attorney at Nothnagel Attorneys and Conveyancers. Medina holds a Bcom Law and LLB degree from University of Pretoria and as a new entrant to the legal field, her hunger and eagerness is the motivation behind her willingness to realizing her full potential in this field.
Below is the interview between For Women in Law (FWIL) and (MH) Medina Hassim.
FWIL:At which law firm are you currently serving your articles of clerkship?
FWIL:What inspired you to study law?
MH:To be honest, law was one of the last things I thought I would study. It was in my first year of university when I had a law module that I decided this was exactly what I’m supposed to study. I loved the fact that the law is in everything we do, that you aren’t confined to only one industry but that the law is in all industries. I was also aware of the fact that there was so many rights that we have that we are unaware of and I wanted to assist in bridging the gap between the rights and the people that they need to serve.
FWIL:As a woman in law, have you experienced gender bias? If yes, how have you dealt with it?
FWIL:What does being an alpha female mean to you?
MH:Taking charge of your destiny and owning your success, knowing you are the creator, and no one is going to hand it down to you.
FWIL:Would you consider yourself a feminist? If yes, what does feminism mean to you? If no, why not?
MH:I would not say I am a feminist according to the formal definition of the word, but I would definitely say that I am without a doubt pro-women! I believe that we need to remember that men and women were made differently and compose of different things which is ok. It is ok for men to do things women don’t for the simple fact that they were made differently, and I believe it is ok for women to do things that men don’t for the fact again that they were made differently.
FWIL:The journey of most legal professionals is not always an easy one. What are some of the lessons you have learned along the way and how have they shaped your outlook on life?
MH:The most important lesson is to see opportunity in everything that happens. Good things happen and bad things happen but what’s important is being able to turn these situations into opportunities.
FWIL:What is the best advice you would give to aspiring legal professionals?
MH:Be consistent, persevere but also, aspire to be more than just a legal professional because that isn’t enough anymore. Aspire to be a GREAT legal professional.
FWIL:What recent change/amendment in the law has caught your attention? (do you agree with the change? Why/why not)
MH:The proposal of the new Road Accident Benefit Scheme. At this point I don’t agree with the scheme as I don’t see it being for the benefit of the people who use our roads but instead a way of cutting out the attorneys from the equation who are actually the voice of the people and who represent the people who don’t know the law and cant represent themselves.
FWIL:What are some of your effective networking skills?
MH:Something I’ve definitely picked up on is that people love talking about themselves, so a really simple trick is to just take the time to ask how someone is or anything about themselves and when you listen you get to learn so much about people.
FWIL:What does the term “role model” mean to you? Which phenomenal woman in law would you call your role model?
MH:When I look for a role model, I don’t look for someone who has done great things, but I look for someone that will inspire me to do great things. Locally, for her integrity and authenticity I would say Thuli Madonsela.
FWIL:What books have you read that have greatly influenced your life
MH:Steven Covey, the seven habits of highly effective people. The 40 rules of love, Elif Shafak.
FWIL:What’s a quote that you live by? Your mantra.
MH:Something I live by, everything happens for a reason and there is a reason why everything happens.
FWIL:How do you remain autonomous while working in the legal field?
MH:I make sure to surround myself with people who easily exercise autonomy in anything and everything that they do. So, for me reminding myself of my moral compass is easy in that I just take a look at the people around me.
FWIL:How can people reach out to you? (social media handles)