After winning a mock appeal trial at The Supreme Court in London, law student Rukhsar Jahangir is hoping to change perceptions about how to make a legal career.
The 21-year-old, currently in the third year of her law degree at Huddersfield, took part in a mooting – a simulated appeal case – where she successfully argued for a murder conviction to be changed to manslaughter.
Rukhsar, from Bingley in West Yorkshire, was picked as lead counsel to advocate in the case that was overseen by The Right Honourable Lord Richards of Camberwell, Justice of the Supreme Court. He praised Rukhsar for her ‘brilliant’ advocacy and told her that she had answered his questions exceptionally well.
“It is very difficult to argue a verdict down to manslaughter, but it was a fantastic opportunity for me that I relished. I had some health issues last year, including a stay in hospital, but the world was moving on regardless and I am back on track now,” says Rukhsar.
“Law is still seen as a man’s field, and there is a stigma about women from my community trying to move into it. But I have proved that someone like me can do, that I can wear a hijab and I can do well.
“The issue should not be about what you look like, you don’t have to be from a privileged background or speak with a certain accent.
“I was very nervous before I presented my case at the mooting, and as I was the first to speak I didn’t know quite what to expect. The judge took some of my arguments apart, but you have to realise that it is not personal, and I must have done a good job as I got the verdict I wanted.”
Ruksar has been very active in responding to queries from girls wanting to know more about her career so far on LinkedIn, and she is busy with the Ladies Of Law society.
“I liken it to planting a seed. It doesn’t grow straight away, but it will bloom if you nurture it.”