Local mom becomes Chatsworth Small Claims Court's first female chairperson

Local mom becomes Chatsworth Small Claims Court's first female chairperson

The legal industry might be very male-dominated but there are women breaking glass ceilings every single day.

Shireen Soobrathi becomes first female chairperson Chatsworth
Shireen Soobrathi

Stacey and J Sbu sat down with Shireen Soobrathi to talk about what her new role means to her:

The Chatsworth Small Claims Court recently had to go through the process of appointing a new chairperson.

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Unfortunately, their former chairperson, Siven Samuels, had passed away in December 2020 and had left big shoes to fill.

Most people would be intimidated and scared of going after a role that was previously held by such an esteemed and admired person.

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Not Shireen Soobrathi.

Shireen is a 46-year-old attorney, mother of two, and she holds a purple belt in karate!

Shireen Soobrathi becomes first female chairperson Chatsworth
Shireen Soobrathi

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She comes from humble beginnings as her parents moved to Shallcross when she was only a year old and times were tough. Her parents struggled to make ends meet but they always tried their best and worked hard in order to make sure Shireen, and her three brothers, all received the best education possible.

Shireen thanks her parents, especially her mom, who she looks up to and who also made her own mark in the Shallcross community, for teaching her the value of hard work and a good education regardless of what circumstances she might be finding herself in.

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She became interested in the field of law by watching shows such as LA Law on television, but would become discouraged when she realised it was a male-dominated field. But her parents were her number one supporters and they pushed her to follow her dream.

There have been many struggles she has had to face after entering the law field around 21 years ago and it took her a few years before she became a household name, as the male attorneys were more territorial and were protective of their clients. She also had to work hard to build trust with her people and show them that they should have faith in her.

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And now her hard work and perseverance have paid off.

What makes this appointment so important is not only because of Soobrathi's life journey but also the fact that she is the first-ever female to hold this position and the representation it will bring.

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The small claims court deals with smaller cases and claims, generally all less than R20,000, and the Chatsworth Small Claims Court has been in existence for 15 years.

Shireen has been working at the court for eight years and when the time came to nominate a new chairperson, a fellow attorney Noven Naidoo had nominated Shireen and after a vote, she was appointed to her new role.

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While she is confident in her abilities and feels she's more than equipped for the task at hand, she is equally as excited about what an incredible opportunity this is for women in the legal industry and says that this just proves that women can do what men can do.

Hopefully, Shireen has now paved the way by inspiring others and becoming the first of many.

Shireen Soobrathi becomes first female chairperson Chatsworth
Shireen Soobrathi

The contact number for the clerk of the Small Claims Court in Chatsworth is 031 403 3227.

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Main image courtesy of Shireen Soobrathi

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