Full Time Practice

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet Soraya Barker

Soraya Barker.  An amazing woman.  I was lucky enough to meet Soraya at the JRCLS Leadership Conference in Utah in October 2012.  I was immediately impressed with her warmth and concern and her peaceful and joyful disposition.  I'd like you to get to know her too.  The following is in her own words:

Ysatis, Soraya, Yasmin and Gary Barker
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand.  I married my English husband, Gary, in 1982 (30 years married).  We have two daughters, Yasmin (21, married in the New Zealand Temple to Brooke Sadler in April 2011), and Ysatis (pronounced 'Sar-teese', 19, engaged to Ati with their little son Halo).  Yasmin has just completed her Occupational Therapy degree and Ysatis is concentrating on being a mummy whilst training to apply for Police College.  Gary continues to work in banking with over 25 years as Bank Manager.

I graduated from the University of Waikato School of Law in 2002 with a Bachelor of Law (an undergraduate degree is not necessary to enter law school in New Zealand).  I had never contemplated going to university until my husband's bank was being taken over by Westpac Bank and I was at home with two little girls (6 and 4 years old at that time).  My husband was a Bank Manager and anticipated redundancy (losing his job due to downsizing) so I went to law school as it was the only subject that interested me.  My cousin was a principal practitioner at the time and encouraged me to enter law.
Soraya at admission to New Zealand High Court
I currently work for the Hamilton District Community Law Centre as one of the four solicitors.  It is a non-profit organisation which has been established as a charitable trust to cater for the unmet legal needs of low income earners.  I practise in the following areas of law - criminal defence (summary offences), insurance, accident compensation, tenancy, consumer, debt, disputes, local government, education, etc.  Our duties also extend to teaching legal education seminars in the community.

I am the Chair of the Hamilton Chapter for the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.  We have provided free legal seminars and legal advice clinics to our local community, along with hosting the Asia Pacific Conferences.  We have approximately 50 members made up of practitioners and students in our chapter.  We are grateful for the leadership guidance of Thomas Sutcliffe, our JRCLS Area Director, and Neville Rochow, of Melbourne Australia, who is our representative on the international JRCLS board.

At Asia Pacific JRCLS Conference
We have approximately 5 female practitioners in our chapter (1 criminal lawyer, 1 community law, 3  family lawyers).  There are 5 others who are working in other fields such as education, government, etc. We have approximately 5 female law students, and 5 women who are fulfilling the greatest role of all, and that is as mothers.

In addition to all that Soraya does in her professional and family life, she also serves as the Maynard Temple View young women's president, as a vocalist for the Steve Grant dance band, and as a committee member and vocalist for the Tones of Aotearoa Choir.  I told you she was amazing!

A wonderful experience she shared with me not long ago was this: I think about President Uchtdorf's talk at General Conference recently about wearing a busy lifestyle like a badge of honor and it made me think of the crazy lives us LDS women lead. I love my career and the happy life Heavenly Father has blessed me with, but President Uchtdorf's talk touched me and reminded  me of the need to  simplify my life, so I went to the temple the other night and contemplated the message received. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father and I will prayerfully follow His guidance.

Soraya, thank you for being you and for taking the time to share a little bit of your life with us.

(We want to regularly use this blog to highlight you: women of faith who have been trained in the law.  You are doing great things--in the courtroom, in your community and in your home.   Getting to know each other better will strengthen each of us individually as well as strengthen us as a whole.  If you know anyone you think we should highlight, please let us know at nanbarker@gmail.com.)


  1. Thank you for this article. Soraya truly is impacting the lives of women attorneys all over the globe. Thank you for touching my life.

  2. Thanks for the article and yes, I have to agree Soraya is a wonderful woman. I have known her for years and grateful for every one of those.

  3. Thanks for your great example.