Hardworking, reliable, and intelligent. Anyone who has worked with Amiratu Al Amirat — alumna of the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya (‘UM’) — would recognise her defining characteristics from a mile away. A casual fan of horoscopes and their traits, this Virgo stays true to her sun sign with her compassionate nature and endless wit.
She was raised in a loving household in Shah Alam, and is the third child among her four siblings. Her Baba, or father, hails from the faraway land of Libya — a place that holds a special significance in her unique name, though her loved ones affectionately call her ‘Al’.
Al often finds herself drawn to the company of others. Her childhood was filled with the electric energy and excitement of the people around her, which undoubtedly shaped her outgoing personality. Growing up, her heart had always been set on following the footsteps of her sister and becoming an architect. Little did she know that fate had other plans for her. Faced with rejection during her interview for architecture school, a feeling that was both harsh and sobering, Al’s childhood dreams came to a screeching halt. However, she refused to let this failure define her.
Al was determined to move forward and find a new path. Her tenacity eventually led her to discover the world of law. She embraced this unexpected challenge, knowing that this was a chance to prove that she had what it takes to succeed.
‘Despite it being unplanned, I would like to think that I took to law like a duck takes to water.’
Al has unquestionably left a mark on the Faculty’s illustrious history. Her dedication and commitment to the Faculty were evident in her numerous roles, showcasing her outstanding level of participation. Each role had its own unique requirements and demanded a different set of skills and expertise. As the Head of the Disciplinary Bureau in Lex Ordinem, she was required to be strict and uncompromising in enforcing disciplinary rules and regulations. As a Lawnite Marketing Officer, a friendlier and more persuasive personality was needed to promote the event and engage with an audience. Understanding the qualities needed to best get the job done has made Al an exceptional member of any team.
‘If there is one thing in common that came out of these experiences, it is that it helps me interact with and understand other people better.’
Al’s ability to wear different hats and interact with people in various capacities were indicative of her versatility and adaptability. She quickly learned to navigate different situations and adjust her approach accordingly. These experiences undoubtedly prepared her for the challenges of a career in law, as it constantly required her to manage and build relationships with clients and other professionals in the field.
Al as the Director for the Social Engagement Program with the indigenous community at Desa Temuan
Not limited to club-related activities, she continued to display her extraordinary abilities in mooting — a pivotal aspect of law school that allows students to hone their advocacy and argumentation skills. The moment that marked her first foray into the exhilarating world of mooting still resonates with her. She recalls this pivotal moment as if it had taken place just yesterday. She joined the Internal Moot Competition (‘IMC’) 2018 during the second semester of her third year. Considering herself a late bloomer, she viewed the competition as a mere item to cross off her bucket list and had no intention of pursuing it further. Despite her initial reservations and aversion to losing, her team participated and emerged as Runner-Up.
Her team consequently received multiple mooting offers that Al politely declined, thinking that mooting was a one-off experience. However, her best friend — Lily Sabreena — had a different idea in mind. Lily had long recognised the latent talent that Al possessed and was convinced that her friend was destined for even greater heights in mooting. Unbeknownst to her, Lily registered Al’s name for the LAWASIA International Moot Competition (‘LAWASIA’) in 2018.
Al and her teammates during the final round of LAWASIA 2018
Al posited that these three skills represent the principal benefits that mooting can impart to law students. By immersing themselves in simulated court proceedings, students are granted an unparalleled opportunity to develop and refine their legal acumen.
Through the rigours of mooting, students are afforded the chance to hone their advocacy skills by meticulously crafting and presenting persuasive arguments drawn upon an array of legal precedents. This process serves to bolster students’ confidence in their knowledge of the law, allowing them to approach legal challenges with a heightened sense of self-assurance and poise.
As a seasoned mooter, she was invited as one of the speakers at the Introduction to Moot in December 2022
Moreover, the intensive research and drafting that mooting entails imbues students with a comprehensive understanding of the complex legal landscape, providing them with a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise to serve them well throughout their careers.
Following her graduation from UM, Al embarked on a promising legal career as a practising lawyer with a focus on several key areas of the law, including land and contractual disputes, corporate fraud, defamation, public, administrative, and constitutional law.
Her inclination towards these areas was nurtured since the very start of her legal journey. She took a deep dive into these subjects and immersed herself in the field completely, incorporating legal principles into her daily life to keep her engaged and intrigued. For instance, her mother’s profession as a landlady piqued Al’s interest in land law and prompted her to learn more about the subject to help her mother deal with unruly tenants.
Al’s inclination towards the legal field can also be attributed to her fervent pursuit of justice and a keen curiosity regarding the law’s capacity to safeguard the rights of individuals and corporations alike. Furthermore, an abundance of skilled and passionate educators in the Faculty allowed her the good fortune of being guided by exceptional mentors. She expressed having gained knowledge from the crème de la crème — the esteemed Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi — and was captivated by the study of the Federal Constitution.
The Faculty also opened the door for Al to venture into legal writing, beginning with her involvement as a Journal Editor for the then recently-established University of Malaya Law Review. She soon flourished into being a proficient writer and saw her articles published under LexisNexis and Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership’s (‘RDS’) Legal Focus publication. Al mentioned how writing is a good hobby for her career prospects. Practising and honing this interest even allowed her the opportunity to co-write the moot problem for the 2022 and 2023 LAWASIA competition.
‘Legal knowledge should not be exclusive. For that reason, I consider legal writing as a form of knowledge sharing. I think it helps to promote the culture of learning and legal literacy to non-lawyers.’
Al together with former Federal Court Justices, Dato’ Alizatul Khair and Tan Sri Zainun Ali during the launch of the book titled ‘Upholding the Federal Constitution: The Judicial Thoughts of Dato’ Seri Hishamudin Yunus’ which she also co-authored
Al believes that the duty of a lawyer is intricately intertwined with the upholding of justice. As legal practitioners and designated officers of the court, they must carry out their duties with sincerity and honesty not only towards the court but also towards their clients. Therefore, it is imperative to execute their responsibilities with prudence, diligence, and integrity — regardless of their area of legal expertise.
Being able to serve the community has fuelled Al’s professional legal journey since the start. Her beginnings date back to 2020, when she served as a pupil at RDS and subsequently progressed to the position of legal associate within the establishment. Completing a pupillage was no easy feat. The undertaking demanded unwavering dedication and perseverance, though her work kept her focused during the heavy challenges.
Her RDS colleagues turned friends, who made work an enjoyable experience for her
The legal profession has proven time and time again to be a stressful vocation. However, Al believes that finding the right workplace can ensure a fulfilling and rewarding legal career. Personal growth is a fundamental motivator for individuals to pursue their aspirations. The prospect of bettering oneself often presents the necessary incentive to strive towards personal goals with vigour. Al recognises that in order to reach success and develop individual potential, working conditions that healthily foster a sense of purpose and validation in one’s work are essential. She advises her juniors to seek out firms that offer three essential elements: opportunities for professional growth, a positive work environment, and potential for career advancement.
Al with Universiti Malaya representatives at the RDS x UM & UKM Hi-Tea
The right setting can help nurture an enthusiasm towards the law. In her view, it is imperative to align one’s heart with one’s work to ensure a meaningful and satisfying career.
‘The most important thing for you to have is passion. You must want to do this. If your heart is in the right place, no one can stand in the way of someone who executes their work with so much passion.’
She attributes much of her job satisfaction to her colleagues-turned-friends, who have created a supportive work environment that helped her cope with the inevitable stresses of her profession. She considers herself fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing individuals who share her values, work ethic, and passion for the job.
‘Fortune favours the bold — so be brave and go out there.’
‘Of course, in all honesty, in some scenarios, one just cannot afford to make a mistake. But that is what learning is about. You make a mistake; you learn from it, and you move on.’
High-profile cases necessitate possessing specific qualities, such as the ability to maintain composure in the face of immense stress. Such cases often involve overwhelmingly tight deadlines and intense pressure. The scope and scale of the work involved in such cases can be massive, adding to the challenge of handling them effectively. Thus, it is critical to remain grounded in order to navigate through these challenges successfully.
Al acknowledges the unwavering support of her friends — ‘Lollipop’ — during her time in law school, attributing their encouragement as a key factor in her success. She also extends her appreciation to Mr Raphael Kok for igniting her passion for mooting, which she found to be an exhilarating experience. Not forgetting the powerful people who coloured her mooting journey — Lily Sabreena, Caysenny Tean Boonsiri, and Tan Jia Shen. Lastly, with profound gratitude, Al expresses her heartfelt thanks to her family. They have been her unwavering support system from the very beginning, providing her with unconditional love and strength in all her endeavours.
Al expressed her appreciation towards the people who had helped her throughout her journey in mooting
Her accomplishments serve as a shining beacon that illuminates the path for those who aspire to follow in her footsteps. Just as a star radiates light and guidance, she has inspired others to strive for excellence as they achieve their own successes.
Written by Rabiatul Insyirah.
Reviewed by Siti Nur Radhwa, Chrystal Foo, and Pravena Sreetharan.