Bradford’s female Muslim lawyers are leading the way with two of the district’s finest being recognised for their contribution to the industry and their local community.
According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, 11% of all solicitor partners are Asian but only 6% are Muslim.
Sarah Khan Bashir MBE is the founder of the award-winning law firm SKB Law, which specialises in family law including divorce strategy, fair settlements, and practical results.
Ms Khan Bashir has over twenty years of legal experience in family law matters including divorce and Islamic divorce, child support, division of property, and supporting financial advisors, sharia councils, barristers, and mediators.
At the beginning of the month, Ms Khan Bashir won the prestigious Lawyer of the Year award at the Modern Law Awards in London.
Most recently, her practice was awarded an Appreciation Award for Supporting Covid-19 Community Response by Bradford Foundation Trust.
She has also been shortlisted for the EDI Champions Award 2022 by Resolutions Award for showing a commitment to diversity and inclusion which will be announced in Birmingham on Friday 20 May.
Speaking about winning Lawyer of the Year at the Modern Law Awards earlier this month, Ms Khan Bashir said: “We were thrilled to bits just to have been shortlisted in three categories at the awards, so we already felt like winners.
“The categories were called out and the nominees’ names read one by one. We were thrilled to be called out as joint highly commended in the category for Boutique Law Firm of the Year.
“For a small, northern firm like ours to be amongst giants such as Gunnercooke, Taylor Rose MW and Simpson Millar Solicitors was amazing enough.
“When we moved to the category of Lawyer of the Year, I was chuffed to just see my name up on the big screen with some amazing lawyers so when my name was called out as the winner, it didn’t register for a split second. Everyone at our table was jumping and clapping and I was in utter amazement that it was me.
“It didn’t stop me dancing my way up to the stage and accepting this fantastic award. The day after the award, I was back at my desk hoping to make things better for some of my clients, so I didn’t have the chance to consider the impact of the award.
“However, one thing did stand out to me. I was an Asian woman winning lawyer of the Year. Representation matters.”
She added: “As a lawyer, it is my job to represent others. However, growing up I didn’t see women who liked like in court, events, or boardrooms. But things are changing, the legal profession is changing.
“The award was assessed by a judging panel chaired by Stephanie Boyce, the first Black President of the Law Society of England and Wales and the next President of the Law Society of England and Wales will be Lubna Shuja, an Asian woman.
“This award feels bigger than me. I hope it sends a powerful message to every aspiring lawyer that a modern lawyer looks like them. I want to say a huge thanks to my team, Anisa Aziz Mandip K Sahota, and Mahnoor Saif.
Asma Iqbal, is a partner at Chadwick Lawrence LLP and heads the Corporate Recovery and Insolvency Department, having over two decades’ worth of experience as a debt, insolvency, and litigation solicitor.
She was one of the driving forces behind Azeem Rafiq’s successful racism complaint against Yorkshire County Cricket Club which he won in November.
She won the Outstanding Business Leader 2022 award last night at the Yorkshire Hero Awards organised by the Fashion Ball at the Royal Armouries.
The lawyer said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to have received such a huge accolade at the Yorkshire Hero Awards and that it is the blessed month of Ramadan. The award is a testament to the hard work of the whole Chadwick Lawrence team that is integral to our business – without whom it would not be possible to win Outstanding Business Leader of the Year 2022.
“I want to say a big thank you to the judges and everyone who took the time to vote for me. I am so grateful and still in shock.
“It was an absolute honour to have been nominated as a finalist but when I was told about it, I faced a dilemma – the ceremony was going to be held in the last ten days of Ramadan, the most important days for stepping up on the prayers in the evening.
“Thank you to the organiser, Lisa Darwin, for being so understanding of my situation and the fact that I couldn’t attend last night. However, my team at Chadwick Lawrence did me proud and attended in full force to show their support.
“I am truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful team that is integral to the support of the success of our business. Congratulations to all the other finalists and winners.”