Malik Waqar, LLM ’15, embodies the Temple spirit of being self-made, persevering, and hardworking. Despite experiencing poverty after fleeing Pakistan at 13, Malik transcended many obstacles to pursue his hunger to learn and succeed in law practice.
After earning his Temple Master of Laws degree, Malik worked for four years at a non-profit organization taking entirely pro bono cases. He is now fulfilling his passion of helping others who confront situations like the one he experienced after leaving Pakistan. In his work, Malik helps clients facing removal proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals as an immigration attorney at Cultura Law in Reading, Pennsylvania.
As a manifestation of Malik’s commitment to represent desperate and impoverished clients, Malik remains undefeated in his practice in the Philadelphia court system. Malik attributes his success in the courtroom to instinct. “It’s not that I’m the greatest lawyer out there,” he said, “it’s just that I take cases on merits where I feel like my heart is telling me something. I’m not afraid to take a difficult case.”
Reflecting on his days as a Temple LL.M. student, Malik attributes his current success to the faculty. Underscoring his relationships with adjunct immigration law professor Jonathan Grode and Director of International Law Programs Karen McMichael, Malik stated, “The teachers and the professors were just always there. Even after I graduated Temple, I continue to reach out to my professors, and they still know me.”
Unable to afford external tutoring and course resources while studying at Temple, Malik said, “My Temple professors never turned down my meeting requests and made themselves available to me no matter what.” Malik recalled instances when the Temple professors greatly challenged him, while never failing to offer words of encouragement and opportunities to boost his confidence.
Although the teaching and professional staff at Temple remains the highlight of Malik’s experience in Temple’s LL.M. program, he expressed equal esteem for the smaller class sizes and Temple’s ample resources. Among his favorite experiences on campus, Malik singled out his contracts and family law courses, as well as the support of Temple’s Law Library during his preparations for the bar exam.
Malik’s overall experience at Temple was headlined by the close, personal relationships he formed with his professors, the accessibility and ease of learning about the program through Temple’s marketing initiatives, the pervasive sense of community and belonging that he felt on campus, and the rich diversity of thought in his classes. Encouraged and guided by his professors through his experience as a Temple LL.M. student, Malik said Temple’s LL.M. program not only inspired his pro bono work, but also strengthened his commitment to advocacy as an effective immigration lawyer today.