Careers: "Studying at SOAS had a massive impact on my career as a lawyer in Dubai"

Noura Abughris graduated from SOAS with an LLB in 2017. She subsequently trained and worked as a Solicitor Advocate in London for five years before relocating to Dubai, where she currently works as an Associate with the Litigation, Arbitration & Regulatory team in DLA Piper's Dubai office. 

As an Associate, Noura regularly advises on international law, commercial and regulatory disputes in the UAE and internationally. She is fluent in Arabic and has recent experience assisting on high-profile disputes in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Court in the United Arab Emirates, the High Court in London, the Federal Court in New York and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Noura is also the Vice President of the Arab Lawyers Association in London, having publicly launched the organisation in the House of Lords in January 2018.

We asked Noura a few questions about her time at SOAS and her impressive career to date. 

Noura Abughris headshot

Could you give us a brief overview of your current role and what you do on a day-to-day basis?  

As an Associate at DLA Piper's Arbitration, Litigation and Regulatory team, I don’t have a set daily routine.  Every day is different and every matter I work on has its own unique set of challenges, which is what makes disputes such an enjoyable area to practise in. 

As a lawyer, my daily tasks usually involve drafting, analysing legal documents, conducting legal research or attending conference calls. As a bilingual lawyer, I usually do these tasks in two languages. 

What motivates you in your role?  

I enjoy the area of law that I practise in and that generally motivates me to do well in my role. DLA Dubai has an excellent culture and I am grateful that I get to work with lawyers of great calibre who come from all over the world, so I’m constantly inspired and motivated to do better in my role and within my team. 

Why did you choose to study LLB Law at SOAS?  

I always wanted a career in international affairs and I have always been very passionate about the social developments in the Middle East and North African region. SOAS is the best place to get a first-class education in Middle East and African studies, and the Law School has an incredible international reputation. 

How do you feel that your studies at SOAS helped to prepare you for this role?  

My studies at SOAS have played a massive impact on my career as a lawyer.

First, the curriculum at SOAS was very international. At SOAS, most of my tutorials were dedicated to understanding how different cultures around the world e.g., in Africa or South-East Asia, would implement the law or deal with a certain legal issue. I feel like I have been trained from my first day of law school to pursue an international career that is tailored to the Middle East and African region.

Secondly, our lecturers always challenged us to think outside the box or devise alternative, unconventional solutions. As a lawyer working in an emerging market, this has been a fantastic skill to obtain because it has influenced how I approach legal problems now in my day-to-day job. 

What did you enjoy the most about studying at SOAS? Do you have a particular favourite memory?  

The friends I made at SOAS are 100% the best thing I got from the university (after my law degree, of course!). I met some of my best friends at SOAS, and I’m still very much in touch with most of my classmates and lecturers. In fact, I was recently a bridesmaid at a wedding in Istanbul for a friend I met at university, which was a really great experience (so thanks, SOAS!). 

Apart from that, nothing will beat petting a donkey that was brought on campus during exam season. It made revising for my criminal law exam, so much more…memorable. 

What one piece of career advice do you wish you’d had when you were at university? 

Make more use of the university's international links and take part in the language courses and exchange-student programs available!