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Solicitors’ office widens its scope with Arabic

The law firm Divinius has become a firm of solicitors. And the office, which has two lawyers, has now Iman Borgström, who has a law degree from Syria.
Iman Borgström used to work as a lawyer in Syria. Now she is getting the opportunity to take a step nearer the profession in Sweden, with the solicitor Emma Malm.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Three and a half years ago Emma Malm opened her solicitors’ firm at Hesslegatan 3 in Kristianstad. She works with legal questions concerning family law, personal assistance and compulsory institutional care, among other things. Her colleague Charlotta Sjösten works a lot with immigration issues.

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It’s nice, positive , to have someone working here whose background is different

Iman Borgström comes from Syria. She has a degree in law, and worked as a lawyer before she fled from the war in Syria. Today she has a ”new start” job as administrator.

– It’s nice, positive , to have someone working here whose background is different, says Emma Malm.

Iman Borgström has a great interest for vulnerable women and children. When she qualifies as a solicitor she want to work with these questions.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
Emma Malm opened her own lawyers’ office three and a half years ago.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
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Most new arrivals need information, everything from how a lawyer works to understanding the laws in Sweden

– It enables us to offer help in several languages in questions covered by Swedish law. So the office has become the obvious choice for a lot of people, she says.

– Most new arrivals need information, everything from how a lawyer works to understanding the laws in Sweden, says Iman Borgström.

– A lot of these people come from communities with completely different legal traditions. When different cultures meet, there can sometimes be problems.

Advokatbyrån Divinius is probably alone i Kristianstad in being able to offer help in legal question in Arabic, thanks to Iman Borgström, new at the office.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
Swedish law is different in many aspects from the legal system in other countries.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

– A lot of people like the idea of having a solicitors’ office that can offer help in another language than Swedish. Especially when sensitive questions that the client is unwilling to discuss through an interpreter are involved, says Iman Borgström, who speaks Arabic.

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My job here is a step towards the future

Are you going to continue studying for a Swedish law degree?

– Absolutely, now I know what a fantastic, amazing feeling it is to make progress. My job here is a step towards the future, she says.

Her great interest is for vulnerable women and children. So when she qualifies as a lawyer she would like to handle cases to do with with family problems.

Foto: Lasse Ottosson

The office is in Kristianstad, but it has clients from all over Skåne. The solicitors’ office gives advice to people who want to apply for asylum, Swedish citizenship, residency for work purposes or to join a family member who is already in Sweden. They also take up criminal cases in which they can represent either the accused or the victim.

When do you need a lawyer?

– There are some examples of situations where a lawyer can be of help. For example if you want to get married or divorced, make a will, if you have questions about a live-in partnership and so on, says Emma Malm.

– Of course a lot of clients come to us without really needing a lawyer’s help for their questions. In that case we can give them straightforward advice free of charge. This makes it easier for people to take the step of contacting a lawyer, even though they are unsure whether they need legal help or not.

”My job here is a step towards the future”, says Iman Borgström.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Do you have to have a lawyer if you are summoned to the district court or if you have a case there?

– It depends on whether you have been charged or if you are under investigation by the police for something which may lead to a court case. Then you may have the right to have a defence lawyer. The defence lawyer is paid by the state. But if the verdict is guilty, the convicted person may have to pay all, or part of, the costs himself, says Emma Malm.

Solicitor and lawyer, what’s the difference?

– You don’t have to have any training or experience to call yourself a lawyer and offer legal advice in Sweden. The title ”solicitor” is, on the other hand, protected by law. Only those who have been accepted as members of the Swedish Law Association have the right to call themselves solicitors.

Iman Borgström was a lawyer in Syria. Now she has a ”new start” job as administrator at Emma Malm’s solicitors’ firm. Her aim is to complete her legal studies.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson
”It’s nice, positive, to have someone working here whose background is different”, says Emma Malm, right, about Iman Borgström.
Foto: Lasse Ottosson

Facts:

Iman Borgström

Born: In Damascus, Syria.
Age: 40.
Family: Married
Lives: In Kristianstad. Came to Sweden in 2014.
Work: Administrator at Advokatbyrån Divinius, has previously worked at the enforcement office in Kristianstad. Trained as a lawyer in Syria. Is following an extramural survey course in law at Lund University.
Interests: Art, paints herself. Iman has had more than 15 exhibitions, including in Kristianstad, Malmö, Lund and Olofström.

Facts:

Emma Malm

Lives: In Kristianstad, comes from Höör.
Age: 41.
Family: Two children.
Work: Runs her own solicitors’ firm, Advokatbyrå Divinius, in Kristianstad town centre.
Leisure: Spends time with her family and friends.Trains her dog and herself too. Enjoys being out of doors. Likes skiing.