Nagavalli Annamalai, who last served as the lead counsel for the World Bank in Washington D.C, has finally been certified as a lawyer in Malaysia.

The 60-year-old was called to the Malaysian Bar last Friday, and aims to use the opportunity to help others, like how her late rubber-tapper father once did.

Nagavalli was raised in a family of 10 siblings in Tanjong Malim, Perak. She knew that education was crucial to overcome the poverty that she experienced, and in 1981, she won a Bank Negara scholarship to study law in Universiti Malaya.

She then began her career at the central bank, before furthering her studies at the Harvard Law School in 1992. After graduating from Harvard, Nagavalli continued to serve at Bank Negara, before she was headhunted to join the World Bank.

There, she spent 22 years in various capacities in more than 60 countries, before taking an early retirement from her last position as the Lead Counsel for Financial Sector in 2020.

Nagavalli returned home to Petaling Jaya in Selangor two years ago to care for her 93-year-old mother and completed her professional qualification as a lawyer - a chance that she did not get after she first graduated from UM.

As a certified lawyer, Nagavalli aims to make pro bono work (offer legal services without payment) as part of her career, taking after her altruistic father who passed away when she was just 14.

According to Nagavalli, her father was a "very kind man", who despite having very little, liked to give to people who asked for help.

She stressed that it is the moral duty of the priviliged to help others who are not as lucky.

"I feel very compelled to believe that I have been given all of this so that I can reach out and do my best for my fellow beings," the Malay Mail quoted her saying.

Source: Malay Mail, Bernama
Photos source: Malay Mail, Bernama