Indian-origin woman among Britain’s top 10 powerful lawyers

July 14th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 14 (IANS) Indian-origin lawyer and Britain’s foremost human rights advocate Shami Chakrabarti figures among the top 10 most powerful lawyers in The Times’ annual list of the Top 100 club. This is another feather in the cap for Chakrabarti, who is already considered among the top 50 most powerful people in Britain. Knighted by the Queen for her contribution to law and human rights in 2007, she beat Tony Blair and David Cameron in a 2006 vote for Britain’s most inspiring figure.

In 2005, she was on the BBC’s shortlist of the 10 people who may run Britain.

A law graduate from the London School of Economics, she currently heads one of the world’s best known human rights organisations, Liberty. She has recently been appointed as chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.

According to the list, Britain’s topmost lawyer is senior law lord, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, and Justice secretary and Lord Chancellor Jack Straw comes second. The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Philips of Worth Matravers, is third. Shami Chakrabarti is ninth on the list.

The only other Asian to feature in the Top 100 list is Pakistan-born human rights solicitor Imran Khan. His work on racism cases led to the Macpherson Report, which for the first time cited that racism is institutionalized in the police force.

His crusade is rooted in his own background - He moved from Pakistan to London at the age of four and suffered racial taunts and attacks throughout his youth.

Explaining the reasons for choosing these 100 names, The Times’ selection board says: “We had in mind such factors as whether contenders can influence public or political opinion, or the strategy or policy of a big firm, company or government; whether they can shape or apply the law in a way that affects many people; whether they are respected, feared or emulated or contributed to the strength and quality of UK legal services.”

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