What Kind of Work Does a Human Rights Lawyer Do?

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We know that earning a law degree opens doors to a plethora of opportunities. Some law school grads choose to go for the big bucks, and others choose to do work that mirrors their big hearts—of course, we’re talking about human rights lawyers.

Sometimes, society reserves its harshest opinions for the professional litigator. However, human and civil rights lawyers are like the guardian angels of the legal profession. They often fight for causes without any possibility of financial gain, and when they do collect, it’s because they’ve won a lot of money for their client. So, what do human rights attorneys do that makes them so special? We’ll discuss that in this brief article.

Human rights lawyers often represent minorities and other underserved communities.


The most important thing to know about human and civil rights attorneys is that their primary function is representing the minority, oppressed, and underserved communities. These are the communities that traditionally suffer the brunt of human rights violations as well as being the most likely to receive neglect in return for their pleas for justice. Human and civil rights attorneys work tirelessly to ensure that people from all backgrounds can enjoy the rights and freedoms that come with personhood in the United States and Canada.

Malliha Wilson is an excellent example of a human and civil rights attorney who’s used her experience of being from a disenfranchised community to fuel her fight for the rights of others. Her passion to fight for the human and legal rights of oppressed and disenfranchised people comes from the time she spent with her grandfather, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, who was a lawyer and advocate for the rights of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

Watching her grandfather fight for the rights of his people as a political leader in the Tamil United Liberation Front largely influenced Malliha to enter the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University after earning her undergraduate degree at McGill University. Now, as the founder of (and senior counsel at) Nava Wilson LLP, Malliha continues to fight tooth and nail for the rights of others.

They might handle cases of medical malpractice or neglect.


Did you know that human and civil rights lawyers sometimes handle medical neglect or malpractice lawsuits? This is frequently seen in nursing home neglect cases where you have victims who aren’t able to speak up for themselves. They often suffer physical abuse on top of neglect and are found malnourished and suffering from dehydration.

Family members of victims sometimes turn to human and civil rights lawyers to get justice for their loved ones. They’ll probably work alongside a lawyer with extensive experience with medical malpractice and neglect lawsuits, but their goal would be to prove that this mistreatment is on par with other human rights violations.

Human rights lawyers often lead community initiatives.


Many human rights lawyers don’t end their fight for justice with complex litigation. Indeed, many of them provide human services in other ways, such as leading community organizations and sponsoring different initiatives. Many young lawyers have made it to the world stage for work they did for human rights outside of their capacity as attorneys.

Human and civil rights lawyers can represent various types of cases, from medical neglect to labour law. They’ve led the charge for many notable cases in the United States, including voting and women’s reproductive rights. They often advocate for the legal rights of older adults and minorities while also going after human rights violators in the public sector and the private sector. Wherever there are human rights violations, you’ll find an impassioned attorney like Malliha of Nava Wilson LLP on the front lines fighting for the legal rights of the victims.


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