Mon, 08 Mar | Zoom

Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

Join Us for An Evening of Inspiration! Empowering Stories of Adversity & Resilience from Muslim Female Solicitors and Barristers.
Registration is Closed
Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

Time & Location

08 Mar 2021, 18:00 – 20:00

About the Event

Come celebrate International Women’s Day with our fantastic line up of solicitors and barristers! Listen to their empowering and inspiring stories of making it in the legal profession, a profession that can be notoriously difficult to break into. Find out about the plethora of challenges they faced and the resilience they exercised to overcome adversity!

Panel Discussions:

  1. Intersectional Perspectives: Challenging Race, Gender and Religious Stereotypes
  2. A Framework for Success: Balancing Family Life and Career Progression:
  3. Mutually Compatible: Navigating Faith and a Legal Career


Tayyiba Bajwa, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Tayyiba’s main areas of practice are crime, inquests and public law. She is also developing a practice in civil actions against the police and public authorities. Alongside her domestic law practice, Tayyiba is developing her international law practice. Having worked at a number of international human rights NGOs, during pupillage Tayyiba was instructed in relation to an application on behalf of victims in relation to the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine.

Prior to commencing her career at the Bar, Tayyiba qualified as a solicitor at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer before moving to work for the human rights NGOs Reprieve and Equal Rights Trust. Most recently, Tayyiba was a Bertha Justice Fellow at Reprieve, where she primarily worked on the counter-terrorism team. She investigated the use of lethal force in the context of counter-terrorism operations abroad, with a particular focus on Yemen.

Esma Basbaydar, Solicitor, Westminster City Council

Esma is presently working as part of Westminster City Council's Litigation team. Her practice includes civil, criminal and commercial litigation. She represents clients across the organisation in a broad range of matters.

Prior to joining, she represented the interests of core participant groups and families in Public Inquiries, including the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Undercover Policing Inquiry. She also represented clients at all levels of the criminal justice system as a Solicitor-Advocate. Esma was also a Trainee at the European Parliament, volunteered in the House of Lords, and later the Law Society’s International Action team where she worked with the Human Rights Committee on the trials of lawyers and activists in Turkey.

Shuhena Bhanu, Solicitor, Financial Conduct Authority

Shuhena trained at a Magic Circle law firm working both in London and Dubai. She is a qualified solicitor,  specialising in financial services regulation. She currently works as an Associate Lawyer in the Enforcement and Market Oversight Division at the Financial Conduct Authority.    Shuhena’s accolades include being ranked number 15 out of 50 in the Financial Times Future Leaders Power List; named British Bangladeshi Power 100 ‘Rising Star’  and awarded Future Leader in Yahoo Finance EmPower List.    Outside of work, Shuhena is a keen road cyclist, propelled to social media fame as part of Rapha Women’s 100 campaign, modelling the first ever custom hijab with the Lycra kit. She is now a proud ambassador of Cannondale and Oakley as well as working with a number of brands, as an advocate for women’s cycling and making the sport accessible in particular for Muslim women and people of colour. Shuhena is the Women’s Champion of Hub Velo Cycling Club, and is regularly interviewed on TV and articles sharing her cycling journey, and would be happy to support anyone feeling inspired to ride!

Zeenat Islam, Barrister, 25 Bedford Row

Zeenat was called to the Bar in 2013 and is a barrister at 25 Bedford Row. Having spent the initial years of her practice in criminal defence, since 2017 she has been instructed as Junior Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

In addition to lawyering, Zeenat teaches on the LLB programme at the University of Warwick. She is a trainer & consultant and delivers projects in areas including; education, DE&I, activism/advocacy & people building. She is the founder of 'Redefined Lawyers,' an alternative platform for lawyers and activists from minoritised backgrounds.

Malaika Jawed, Solicitor, BLM LLP

Malaika is an Associate Solicitor, specialising in financial commercial litigation and has over 10 years’ experience in costs litigation and consultation for insurers, both in-house and private practice. Malaika is an active member of her firm’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group, Corporate Social Responsibility Group and a Mental Health Well-being Ambassador.    As Joint-Head of the Diversity & Inclusion Working Group of the Muslim Lawyers Action Group, Malaika hopes to utilise her skill-set and passion for “giving back” to the local community by contributing to information and knowledge sharing, and taking part in initiatives that help those who need it most.

Shahreen Khanom, Solicitor, (Mat Leave)

Shahreen is a family law solicitor specialising in children and matrimonial law. She has extensive experience in complex care case and in particular ’radicalisation; cases. Her early experience as a solicitor representing clients in criminal, extradition, prison law and judicial review matters in some of the leading terrorism and extradition cases post 9/11 has enabled her as a family specialist to represent parents in the earliest known “radicalisation” cases in the family courts to the present date. These cases have shaped the development of radicalisation as a new facet of child protection laws before the courts. Her expertise in this area continues to evolve to now include representing “returnee” parents from conflict zones, parents seeking to discharge final care orders and parents seeking contact with children following periods of imprisonment and rehabilitation.

Nabila Mallick, Barrister, No 5 Chambers

Nabila is an Equalities Barrister, her practice areas are Public Law and Employment Law. She was state school educated and was one of first Muslim women to gain pupillage at the Commercial/ Chancery Bar, which she credits to her LLM. She has been involved in a number of test cases and has practiced at all levels, including the European court of human rights. She is completing an MSc to compliment her niche practice area of mental health disability discrimination. She has mentored law students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the last decade through BLD.

Maryam Mir, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Maryam has experience in a wide range of criminal offences. She has defended in cases of conspiracy to supply firearms, politically motivated offending from terrorism to protest, financial crime, fraud and regulatory matters, serious violence, sexual offences, drugs supply and cultivation with crossover immigration aspects.

She worked on several high-profile terrorism cases during her secondment with Reprieve, representing leaders of political parties sanctioned as terrorists by the US and UK. She was part of a team that brought the first due process challenge in the US against the inclusion of a US citizen on a ‘Kill List’ whilst reporting on the conflict in Syria. She has a strong interest in cases involving the conflict in Yemen and legal challenges to the use of state extrajudicial killing by drones and/or mercenaries. Maryam is experienced in advising on appeals against conviction and sentence before the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal. She advises on civil action against the police

Zainab Zaeem-Sattar, Solicitor, Summerfield Browne Solicitors

Zainab is a newly qualified solicitor having undertaken Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course from 2010 to 2012 as a mature student and qualifying as a solicitor in 2019 at the ‘tender’ age of 36.   Zainab is a committee member of Leicestershire Law Society since 2019, and a sub-board member of the Education & Training subgroup, chair of Membership and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion subgroups. She volunteers as an employability mentor for legal and non-legal students at De Montfort University in Leicester and volunteers as a clinic supervisor for Leicester University’s Pro Bono legal clinic. She is part of the Muslim lawyers Action Group - a member of their Diversity & Inclusion working group and head of their Social & Well Being working group.

Chair: Sultana Tafadar, Barrister, No 5 Chambers

Sultana is a highly experienced human rights, international law and criminal justice barrister, practising at No 5 Chambers. She acts in high profile counter terrorism and national security cases, often involving cutting edge law and highly sensitive secret material. Sultana also advises large multi-national corporations on regulatory and Diversity & Equality matters.

She is part of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Roster of Criminal Justice Sector Experts dealing with Counter-Terrorism; and the Head of the Working Group on Counter Terrorism and National Security for MLAG. She is currently the Chair of Oxford Advocates on Human Rights; Special Advisor on Human Rights to the Oxford Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights; Member of the Legal Expert Advisory Panel for Fair Trials International; Member of the International Legal Network of Avocat Sans Frontieres; Member of the Detention ExPEERience of Avocat Sans Frontieres; and Founder of the Muslim Lawyers Action Group.

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