This young lawyer is the first woman from UAE to graduate from Harvard Law School


Zalikha Razali

Fatima Al-Qubaisi, Senior Legal Associate at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) / Source:

Wouldn’t you say that it is the best day of your life when you find out that you have been accepted to an Ivy League School on your wedding day? For Fatima Al Qubaisi, that day was surely a moment to remember.

As the first female to graduate from Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi for Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Political Science, it is no-surprise that she is the first Emirati woman to be accepted and graduated with a Master’s Degree from Harvard Law School.

Fatima came from a family of high achievers. This has inspired her for achieving what she has gained now. Her aunt, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi is the first woman who became the Speaker of the Federal National Council; while her uncle, Khaled, and cousin, Amna, are professional racers with the latter being the first Emirati female Formula 4 go-kart racer. Moreover, Fatima’s father is a successful man himself – he founded a financial institution about ten years ago. Talk about amazing role models in the family!

This 26-year-old lawyer was flabbergasted to be conferred a degree during Harvard's 200th year. For her homecoming, she is taking with her a set of bright ideas and a vision to improve UAE for the better. Inspired by UAE national icon, she said to Gulf News, “Just like our founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, brought home a vision for a brighter, more modern UAE after his travels abroad, I want to bring home positive aspects from other cultures and countries. One of the things I would like to establish, for example, is the concept of pro bono legal work for the poor. ”

Though she has graduated late July this year, she doesn’t plan on stopping. Fatima plans to take the New York Bar Exam. This exam is to qualify her to get an international credibility to practice law in New York and back home. Fatima is now a senior legal associate at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and she speaks four languages with French being one of them. As an activist, she hopes to promote the concept of pro bono legal work for the needy and for the rights of women.

Upon receiving other astounding offers from United States’ top universities such as the University of Berkeley, Cornell University, and Georgetown University, her advice to her peers is just one thing: “Go ahead and apply without hesitation or doubt”, as she told The National. She also added: “The experience is worth the investment of going and enriching one’s experience, it is something I believe that all young Emiratis should do.”

Not only is she intelligent, she also has a heart of gold. Fellow classmates, Sarah Oh and Petra Nuvotna were charmed by Fatima’s compassion and cordiality. According to her comrades, Fatima will always bring the class together for social gatherings and always extended her helping hand during any situation in any way she could.

Stories like this makes us very proud and hope for more “Fatimas” to emerge in any part of the world. We hope you pass the NY State Bar exam, Fatima! We wish you the best of luck!




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