Women on WTB: Asli Akoya (IWD)

International Women’s Day 2017 campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange. This day celebrate the contribution that women have done regarding social, economic , cultural and political achievement around the globe and this year the focus is to make more gender inclusive world.

Today we have talked to Asli Akoya, solicitor at WTB Solicitors and one of the women making our firm successful!

What is your position at WTB Solicitors?

I am a Solicitor and also accredited by the Law Society as a Senior Immigration Caseworker.

Explain the variety of tasks that you deal with at work

I provide legal advice, assistance and representation in all aspects of asylum and immigration law on both legal aid and privately funded basis. I deal with wide range of clients with various backgrounds and nationalities; such as from victims of torture, trafficking or domestic violence to unaccompanied asylum seeking minors or from European nationals and their family members to business migrants etc. I liaise with the Home Office, Tribunal and various other professionals and organisations to resolve our client’s immigration and asylum problems. I also do advocacy at tribunal dealing with immigration and asylum appeals. I currently deal with the domestic violence referrals from Rainbow Haven, Manchester Women’s Aid/Pankhurst Trust and Domestic Abuse Services. I have also been providing training for voluntary groups and organisations on Immigration laws.

What took you into law?

It sounds cliché but the main reason I became a lawyer was to help people. I know how difficult for some people to understand the laws of other countries that they cannot even speak their language.  I was a migrant once and have started working in Immigration field as a legal secretary in 2002 and that’s when I decided to become a lawyer, but obviously it would not have been easy for someone like me who had come to the UK to learn English to go further to study English law at degree level. I felt that being a lawyer would give me the necessary background and degree to reach out to people who needed help.

I was determined and studied in the evenings while working during the day and managed to complete my law degree and LPC without failing a single subject.

Since when have you been working at the firm?

This is my third time, as I first worked in the firm as an Immigration lawyer between Oct 2010 and Nov 2011 on one-year contract; then I have been seconded as a trainee in 2015 and have now been working as a Solicitor since August 2016.

Is it easy for you to cope with your work-life balance? 

I have three children and being a busy mum makes a work-life balance difficult to achieve. In addition, I have also been the Chair of Manchester Turkish British Association (MTBA) since December 2015, which makes my busy life, extraordinarily busy. I think I have been very fortunate for having a very supportive husband and family who have made my work-life balance more manageable. I am currently working full time from 9.00 till 5.30 for 5 days however I believe that WTB will be able to accommodate me with flexibly working hours if becomes necessary. I am pleased to say that I have always been able to get support and help from my colleagues and Partners at WTB in cases of emergencies.

From your point of view, how have things in your work field changed for women over the years?

I think it has become much more flexible and women are more supported as the needs of working mothers have been more recognised over the years. Our profession needs women no matter what, as women are natural fighters for rights of others and can make difference in others lives.