A graduate of Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School, Punjab-born attorney Ruby Kaur hadn’t always planned on the legal profession. “Initially, I wanted to go into neuroscience research,” she says. But when something still felt missing after taking life science classes, Kaur was inspired by her grandfather to change direction. “I shadowed with a local attorney and volunteered at a federal legal aid near campus,” she says. “I was super fascinated seeing health and law together in one field and how it made a difference in people’s lives.” Now, Kaur works on the frontlines of high-profile immigration cases. In 2016 and 2017, she represented two Iraqi nationals facing imminent deportation. Last year, she worked to mobilize civil rights groups and nonprofits in support of Sikh detainees on hunger strike in protest of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detention conditions in El Paso who were being fed against their will. Afterward, nearly 50 members of Congress signed a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding an investigation into ICE’s use of force-feeding. These days, Kaur has been volunteering with the Michigan Indian Community Service collective to address legal needs and complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian SCENE interviewed Kaur about her work and her inspiration.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
The Indian SCENE: What is the best part of your career?
Ruby Kaur: Honestly, advocating. Sometimes, working on a case and brainstorming some creative ways to present our case makes me happy that I can be a badass.
Attorney Ruby Kaur Live with 2 other counsels answering questions on immigration.Head over to the link below:https://www.facebook.com/MICService2020/videos/1507077369463129/
IS: What set-backs if any did you have? Was there anything that you had to overcome?
RK: A fear lurking in the back of my mind hoping not be wrong. To ease that, I try to read as much as I can and stay with legal matters and get help from my mentors. But again, our mind creates the setbacks, otherwise we all are born happy humans.
IS: What advice would you give young people who want to pursue law as a career path?
RK: Focus on yourself, everything else is a noise. Follow what feels right. And always think positive of whatever career you choose. No one knows everything in this world. And neither will you. So do the best to your ability.
IS: Who inspires you and why?
RK: Myself. I feel strong about things I do. When you feel that way, nothing can break you and that’s what is needed to complete our life journey, too.
IS: What is the most valuable thing in our Indian culture that you hope is carried on in the next generation?
RK: Colorful life. Be it the dresses, festivals, and our gatherings. I want them to be enriched with all.
IS: When you are not working where can we find you?
RK: Hiking, dancing, sometimes cooking and sometimes reading books on spirituality or thrillers.
IS: What words would you use to best describe your style?
IS: What do you want your style to say about you and who you are?
RK: [That I’m] authentic
IS: What’s your favorite piece from your closet?
RK: A dress that I got from Ritu Kumar’s showroom. It has an Indo-Western look.
IS: What is the one item you never leave home without?
RK: My cellphone
IS: Who is your style icon and why — Hollywood or Bollywood?
RK: Forever Sushmita Sen. She is such a compassionate, kind, well-composed human being.
IS: What’s the best advice you ever received?
RK: “When you’re goofing around, there is someone out there working harder.”
Favorite Book: Juror #3 by James Patterson, so far.
Favorite Vacation Spot: If my husband could take me back to Hawaii, I would LOVE it.