Spotlight on Kimberly Motley: a MULS Alumni Shaping Human Rights in Afghanistan.

Our Student Bar Association and Association of Women Lawyers recently invited Attorney Kimberly Motley to speak. Kimberly is a world renowned International Attorney and human rights activist that graduated from Marquette University Law School. After serving as a public defender in Milwaukee for 5 years, Motley took a chance on a lucrative position that was part of a legal defense education program for Afghani lawyers. Ever since, she’s been on the forefront of shaping defendant rights in Afghanistan and beyond.

Her work varies from finding child trafficking victims, to representing wrongfully accused taxi drivers, and even freeing soon to be prime ministers. Some of the crimes themselves are horrific yet often pale in comparison to the corruption of the courts. Her work to change the system is inspiring and dangerous. “There’s no roadmap to what I do.” Motley explains, but her tenacity to “work it out” is a powerful skill.

Motley relies on a philosophy of ‘justness’ which she describes as understanding the laws of the country and using them along with an understanding of the cultural norms of the country, to find ways to defend victims through the purpose of those codes instead of imposing western ideologies. In her talk, she showed an incredible drive to help those wronged by law and beyond. An impressive skill that is fundamental to many lawyer’s work, and something Lawyers rarely get credit for.

After listening to her talk, I’m excited to check out her book: Lawless over Christmas Break. She’s also been the subject of a documentary and a TEDTalk titled, “How I Defend the Rule of Law.” Check them out if you want to know more about the amazing attorney.

Photo courtesy of MULS Association of Women Lawyers.

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