- Guest Lawyer -
Today I have the pleasure of introducing a very committed lawyer from Greece; currently residing in London - Evangelia Routoula. Evangelia is a barrister of the Supreme Court of Athens. She is also quite fluent in 3 languages and has a great command of the English language - spoken and written. Her skills have enabled her to communicate and work with a global community in addition to her native location.
Welcome, Evangelia ...
WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT JOB?
I am a barrister of the Supreme Court of Greece and I have worked as a barrister in Athens, Greece for more than 15 years. I currently live in London looking for new challenges and trying to establish a new career for myself.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE LAW? ANY REGRETS?
Studying law was a childhood dream of mine, ever since I remember myself I have always wanted to become a lawyer. I have always had this ideal thought in my mind to fight for the right and to help other people gain justice. Even though practising law can sometimes be less idealistic, sometimes the difficulties to find the right path is not always straightforward. However, I‘ve never regretted having studied law.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SECOND CHOICE FOR A CAREER? WHY?
Literature has always been a passion of mine, having translated two books from English into Greek for my own pleasure and after getting into the world of book publishing I have discovered that I love translating. So I think that it would be my second choice for a career.
WHAT ORGANISATIONS HAVE YOU WORKED FOR?
I have worked for two main law offices in Athens as a barrister and for Kalendis Publications in Athens as a literature translator.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HUMAN RIGHTS?
For me human rights can be defined as every individual’s right to life, work, equal opportunities, freedom of speech, respect , privacy and generally all the elements, that us who live in the so called Western world take for granted sometimes.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION?
I don’t have a certain person to name. I admire every person in the legal profession who tries to do their job with honesty and integrity, who tries to fight for justice without their first goal to be their personal profit.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES IN THE WORLD AS YOU SEE THEM?
Many human rights are been violated all over the world on a daily basis but the main problem for me is that too many people are struggling for their right to live with integrity, peace, being able to maintain their thoughts and ideas and the way of life they want to have.
HOW CAN ORDINARY PEOPLE HELP, OR BECOME INVOLVED IN THOSE ISSUES?
Every single one of us should first of all be aware of certain situations before being able to get actively involved. Knowledge is vital since it might lead to awareness. The second most important thing is that each and every one of us should realise that if we remain silent and inactive when acknowledging a certain issue, that issue sooner or later, may affect us personally and then there may not be other people interested to help us.
HOW CAN WRITERS AND AUTHORS HELP?
By writing, we can always apply to the ignorance and to the indifference of the readers. Making them aware of certain problems, showing them how they could help.
DO YOU THINK MUCH ABOUT WORLD POVERTY, REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS AND HOMELESS PEOPLE?
If I use the word often I would be exaggerating. But I do think about people who face these kinds of problems whenever a certain incident reaches my ears or a certain book, film, discussion stimulates my personal awareness to these matters.
DO YOU BECOME FRUSTRATED BY THE LACK OF POLITICAL WILL REGARDING SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES?
Almost every day!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST VICTORY?
I think my biggest achievement was when I gained a trial for bond investors who lost their money due to the economic crisis that arose a couple of years ago.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE SADDEST MOMENT IN YOUR WORK?
When a poor client of mine had to pay an enormous amount of money to the Greek State in order to correct a mistake done by the Greek State regarding the identity of her son.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST FRUSTRATIONS?
Injustice and bureaucracy.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSETS?
Persistence and analytical thinking.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE WOMEN INVOLVED IN LAW? WHY?
I think that many women are involved in law. For me it doesn’t matter if a lawyer is a woman or a man providing he/she does his or her job right.
GENERALLY, ARE POLITICIANS DOING WHAT WE ELECT AND PAY THEM TO DO?
No, they don’t.
IS THE WORLD LACKING PEOPLE OF GREAT VISION?
Yes. We need more dreamers and more romantics to take the lead. Unfortunately the people that are involved in politics are the ones with no vision.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SOME GOOD THINGS ARE BEING ACHIEVED IN HUMAN RIGHTS?
Some things have been achieved especially if a public outcry takes place, but I am very suspicious about many of the existing humanitarian organisations. The way some of them operate feels more like a commercial firm’s function rather that a humanitarian organization.
ANY ADVICE FOR A YOUNG PERSON CONSIDERING LAW?
I would advise them to always have in mind that they will be representing the RIGHT.
IF YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS ALL WORLD LEADERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
I would tell them to think for a change about the ordinary people that they represent and their needs, to get into their shoes and to do something for their good. Just for a change.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO BE WHATEVER YOU WANTED, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A writer or a traveller.
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Yes, as an individual I am trying to do whatever I can but I think that the solution to the environmental issues is in the hands of the people who make important decisions in this world.
WHAT WORRIES YOU MOST?
That there are not many things that the ordinary people can actually do to help.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Animals. They are more pure, more innocent and more loving than humans.
WHAT, OR WHO, HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE?
Many, everyday anonymous heroes.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST DREAM?
To travel around the world.
WHO WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST OF ‘OUTSTANDING PEOPLE’?
Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Albert Schweitzer, Napoleon Lapathiotis.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
Watching films, reading, walking.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY?
Being with people that I love and my dog, going to the theatre and writing.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE?
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THREATENED?
WHAT DO YOU MOST LOOK FORWARD TO?
A trip to Zimbabwe.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE BOOKS TO READ?
Charles Dicken’s “A tale of two cities”
Jack Kerouak’s “On the road”
Jack London’s “Martin Eden”
Henry Melvil’s “Moby Dick”
Jennifer Lash’s “Blood Ties”
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOURSELF?
Unfortunately for me I don’t promote myself at all.
DO YOU MENTOR ANYONE?
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE?
Grey. And getting darker.
Clancy's comment: Thanks, Evangelia. It's been a pleasure to have you as a guest. Keep fighting injustice! Love ya work!