The journey to become a Super Lawyers selectee has many paths. In the most recent issues of Super Lawyers Magazine, the passion, determination and persistence of the Super Lawyers selectees jumps off the page. Read each article to get a better look at the hard work necessary to make the Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list.
It turns out that many of the tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free went on to law school. They specialized in practice areas such as corporate finance, personal injury and, naturally, immigration. Some learned about U.S. law by watching TV.
“If I tell you, you’re going to laugh, but it’s true: Matlock and Perry Mason,” says Elsa Ayoub, owner of the Law Offices of Elsa Ayoub, PLLC. “I was fascinated by the arguments in court-and then the excitement at the end when they win. Because they always win.”
The eight attorneys featured in the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine came from places as diverse as Cuba, Serbia, China and the Philippines. Some arrived for college; others were escaping violence and oppression. Each fell in love with the United States in their own way.
Look at the full article to read how each attorney arrived in America, the culture shock associated with immigrating to a new land, how they got invested in the law, the ways they stay tied to their cultures and more.
John Kenney is a recording artist, inventor and former engineer. And that’s not even his day job.
A detail-oriented researcher who parlays his former life as an engineer into his legal practice, Kenney also has nine patents to his name and two albums on the market as a country singer. At his day job, he focuses on technical and scientific issues, including intellectual property, products liability and environmental matters. He has handled cases throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries, and written briefs for appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kenney is also a frequent speaker and strong supporter of STEM education, advising teachers at the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center for Education and Community Renewal.
He has served twice as a temporary judge with two other appointed lawyers on the Oklahoma Court of Appeals, an experience that taught him the value of collaboration. “I came to realize that maybe there is something to this collective wisdom that is important, that maybe I’m not quite as smart as I thought I was by myself,” he says. “That has carried me a long way as I’ve gone through life.”
Read the whole story to find out how Kenney got into the law, and why he knows how to speak to juries-and country music fans, too.
Mala Rafik was one of two children raised in Dubai-“back then, just beach and desert,” she says, “our own little isolated world”-to a Catholic mother from India and a Muslim father from Pakistan. Her parents had both left home after high school to get jobs and send money back to their large families. They were, says Rafik, “the hardest workers I’ve ever known.”
Her parents also encouraged compassion and generosity.
“My parents had three things they constantly ingrained in my brother and me: Work hard, never forget how lucky you are, and always give back,” she says. “That’s the way my parents lived their lives. They were the most generous, compassionate people.”
From kindergarten through eighth grade, Rafik attended what is now the American School of Dubai. “I was surrounded by kids from every country and culture you can imagine,” she says. “It was an international world that fostered empathy and broad perspective.”
In fourth grade, Rafik and her classmates had to write a short essay about where they saw themselves in 20 years. What Rafik wrote still hangs on her office wall: I want to be a lawyer who can help people out of difficult situations.
Fighting within the rigorous legal confines of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which governs all long-term and short-term disability and health insurance plans provided by employers, Rafik has earned a reputation as one of New England’s most respected health and disability insurance litigators and advocates.
To read more about Rafik and how she tips the scales toward plaintiffs in employee benefits litigation, access the entire article.
Get a look at all the issues of Super Lawyers Magazine in the digital editions.