Alumni News

Photograph by Stephen Voss

Upon entering college, Marium Durrani, L’13, was focused on the arts. But an internship working with a wraparound services program for victims of domestic violence ignited an interest in that area of the law instead.

“I saw the need for effective advocacy and how, for victims of domestic violence in particular, just having someone there was so valuable,” she said. “I think the court accompaniment made me realize, ‘Wow, I could be that lawyer that helps in things like that.’”

Now, as the director of policy for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Durrani is that lawyer — and more. With the guidance of her legal mentors, Durrani has put herself in position to play an important role in helping survivors heal and thrive.

“I truly believe that my successes and a lot of my career wins and transitions have been due to my female mentors that have believed in me, that have helped me make connections, that have always lifted me up and been there as support systems,” she said. “All of them have gone out of their way to connect me to people in D.C., in the domestic violence area, in the social justice space, or to a litigation position. That’s how I really found my way.”

While at Richmond Law, Durrani had a series of formative experiences that helped shape her young career, including a clinical placement at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, joining Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights — an organization founded by Azizah al-Hibri, Richmond Law professor emerita — and later working on the House Judiciary Committee through a Bridge to Practice Fellowship. Opportunities to work in litigation on behalf of women from immigrant communities and to provide direct services have sharpened her perspective for policy that supports the needs of survivors.

Durrani’s varied experiences give her the versatility she needs for her role, which can vary on a weekly and even daily basis. Anything from developing materials and resources and providing training and technical assistance to broader work like bringing to light how survivors of domestic violence interact with the economic and housing systems can fall under her purview.

“When I was thinking about career transitions, I was really thinking about all the things that survivors need that we don’t necessarily talk about,” she said. “There’s a lot of people and a lot of organizations talking about these things, but I want them to come to fruition.”