We recently caught up with Faysal Yaqoob, an immigration solicitor at Fountain Solicitors’ busy Manchester office. Fountain Solicitors are a national firm of solicitors with offices in Walsall, Newport, Birmingham and Manchester specialising in a wide range of areas, including immigration, asylum and human rights law.
Faysal kindly shared his career highlights, challenges, and hopes for the future of immigration laws.
Why did you choose to pursue a legal career?
I chose to pursue a legal career after seeing the difficulties that those in my community went through. There would often be language and cultural barriers that meant people were unable to access services or support. This sometimes also related to the imbalance of power between those who were supposed to be there to help and those needing the help.
After seeing this, I developed a passion to want to help “the underdog” however I could and a career in law was perfect for this. As I went through my studies and my early career this feeling was solidified and I knew that a career in law was exactly what I wanted.
What has been a highlight of your career in immigration?
Just after qualifying, I recall a very desperate family that came to see me. I was faced with a family of six or seven sat in front of me crying because their applications had been refused and the previous representatives had sadly not given them the best advice. Seeing fully grown adults crying in front of their children is a very moving scene for even the strongest of us – I shed tears with them and assured them that I would help.
I took on their matters and submitted further applications for them, fought long and hard against the Home Office and secured successful outcomes. But the highlight was not necessarily the result, but what happened next.
After I invited the family into the office to discuss the result, I recall the family sitting in exactly the same places they sat when they came to see me initially all those months ago. This was by coincidence (I assure you I do not make my clients sit in seating plans!).
I immediately thought back to that family who were crying and so desperate all those months ago now looking so happy and having hope for the future. The despair was replaced by hopes and dreams. I recall thinking how I was the one who achieved this for them, how I was able to be a part of their lives forever being the solicitor who helped get their lives back on track.
Just like we cried together all those months before, we all sat together and laughed. Although I have had similar matters after this, that moment was profoundly touching and inspiring for me. I would say that it may be the highlight of my career to date.
What challenges have you faced throughout your career?
Access to the profession can be quite difficult. Being the first person from my family to have gone to university I did not have many contacts to help guide me. For me I found this made me work harder but at times it was daunting.