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UIC Law Student Amira Abuarqoub Interns Abroad in Ramallah, Palestine

Image of Amira

UIC Law 2L Amira Abuarqoub had the incredible opportunity to intern for a law firm in Palestine this past summer. Originally intending to take a trip home and be with family for the summer, Amira decided to take advantage of being in another part of the world and gain a unique global legal perspective.

After conducting some research, Amira was able to find several firms in Ramallah, Palestine. She took the initiative to send a cold email to the office of Andersen, Palestine’s first international law firm and a member firm of Andersen Global. Though she had no specific intention of interning for the whole summer, Andersen responded promptly, inviting Amira in for an interview, where she was immediately offered a position with the firm.

As a Summer Legal Intern at Andersen, Amira spent two months assisting in drafting and reviewing corporate contracts, project proposals and other company documents. She also conducted research tasks to support clients, providing insights to both local Palestinian and global regulations and business practices. Amira was also fortunate to provide support to Andersen’s new start up business division. Her internship experience allowed her to gain invaluable hands-on experience in international business law while contributing to the success of businesses and organizations in Palestine.

One of the highlights of Amira’s experience was the empowerment she felt in “meshing her worlds”. She was able to merge her legal education and career with her ancestral roots and identity as a Palestinian. As a Palestinian-Muslim American raised in the United States, Amira states that she rarely has been in a position in work or school settings where the majority of people look like her, practice the same religion and come from almost identical backgrounds.

Being able to work at a legal office alongside and under the guidance of attorneys that unspokenly understand you and your perspective without having to explain yourself based on your religious or ethnic background, was a new and fulfilling experience for me. I would personally like to take a moment to thank the attorneys and staff at Andersen in Palestine who graciously welcomed me into their office and made it possible for me to have such a wholesome experience.

Amira Abuarqoub, 2L

When asked about Middle Eastern and Muslim representation in the field of law, Amira feels that there is a strong community present, but there are still many corners of opportunity to fill. She states that she is grateful for organizations such as UIC Muslim Law Students and the Muslim Bar Association for their contributions of empowerment, but she still at times feels like she is the only person “like her” in a room filled with legal professionals.

Despite this, Amira does not feel “obligated” to be representative of her community. “Obligation to be representative of my community in the legal field insinuates a negative connotation, as though I am, or could potentially ever be, burdened by this sense of responsibility,” Amira stated. Instead, she says she is immensely proud, even as a law student, to be representative of the various communities that make up the intricacies of her identity.