Portrait of a talented and versatile lawyer, Mayesi Hammoud

Recently Mayesi Hammoud became partner at her law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne on Curacao.

The thirty-five year old lawyer runs a successful all round law practice, working on all the main islands of the Dutch Caribbean. Hammoud is a member of the Social and Economic Council (SER) and welcomed her first child last month. As a yu di korsou (child of Curacao) she is strongly committed to her community and volunteers actively in many local initiatives. How she manages to juggle all these activities? Hammoud: ‘I think I can genuinely say I approach my work in a very structured manner, receiving full support from my company.’

In search of the truth
‘The law has always fascinated me’, recalls the young lawyer who, as a teenager, used to closely follow court cases in the local media. ‘The role of the judge intrigued me. The way judges formulate sharp and critical questions in search of the truth still fascinates me. Finding the truth and speaking the truth are very crucial parts of my job. My litigation style is honest and straightforward; I stick to the facts and do not resort to tricks.’ After law school Hammoud opted for a career in law, not as a judge but as a lawyer although she did get her chance…... Hammoud: ‘Just recently we organized a moot court, a simulated court room environment at our firm, giving all our young lawyers the chance to perfect their litigation skills. Guess who played the part of the judge?

Overcoming differences
Hammoud runs a successful regional and international law practice and enjoys her work immensely. Litigating for clients on all the main island of the Dutch Caribbean, she focuses on employment and insurance law, dispute resolution and corporate litigation. Hammoud: ‘Every island in the Dutch Caribbean has its own feel, style and identity. Sometimes I spend my mornings working in Curacao, my afternoons in Bonaire and travel to Sint Maarten the following day. That means adjusting and adapting continuously. My father came from Lebanon and my mother from Curacao. At home I saw my parents build a strong and loving relationship and have healthy discussions, despite their different cultural and religious backgrounds. Dealing with differences is important in my work. Ultimately all your clients should feel at ease in your company. For me this translates into keeping your appointments, being competent and respectful and offering real your clients attention and quality. With the present day internet facilities and our modern video conferencing system, I am always available for my clients. Responsiveness is a key word at our firm. It these technological times professionals must be able to think and act swiftly. Clients expect that and appreciate the effort we make at VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne in realizing this.

Substance and sobriety
After graduating in law from the famous Erasmus university of Rotterdam, Hammoud joined a trainee program at the Ministry of Internal Affairs aiming for a top career as a civil servant. Despite the interesting work, she realized she preferred a career in law instead of a career in civil service and returned to Curacao joining VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne in 2003. Hammoud: ‘Curacao is my home. On my own island I don’t constantly have to defend myself and my community. Here I can just be myself without being stereotyped. I had already worked for VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne during my student days taking on a summer job as a receptionist. I remember how, even then, I enjoyed the pleasant and professional atmosphere. Our open doors policy is not a hollow phrase but a tactile reality and we care very little for rigid hierarchy. Hammoud fits the partner profile perfectly, according to her fellow partners. Despite her many talents and qualities, she’s always been a friendly and accessible person and a loyal and reliable colleague with a lot of substance and sobriety.

Partner potential
At VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne Hammoud thrived professionally, swiftly becoming an appreciated and competent colleague with partner potential. Partner Kunneman praises her sharp legal insights, enthusiasm, commitment and volunteer work. Molly Steward, her former patron, applauds her professionalism and easy manner with clients. Steward: ‘Mayesi is not only a talented and extremely well organized lawyer. What fascinates me is her sincere empathy towards clients and colleagues and her great sense of justice.’ Besides her legal work, Hammoud has been assigned a few specific management tasks she performs with great flair. As a partner she oversees the training and education of the young lawyers at her firm and the extensive sponsoring and donation policies of the company. Hammoud: ‘I love my work. It comes naturally. It’s encouraging to see how the firm appreciates and acknowledges the effort I make. Of course it’s challenging to become a partner and a mother simultaneously. Both tasks come with many responsibilities. I’m glad my firm is nothing but encouraging and supportive and believes in my abilities wholeheartedly. At VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne we share a strong culture of mutual support.’

Good Causes
Every year Hammoud spends a solid amount of pro bono hours on voluntary work. Her board membership of the Clinic Clowns and her pro bono work to save the famous local Cinelandia building, an art deco monument in the city center, are just a few examples. Hammoud: ‘I love the way the clinic clowns lift the spirits of gravely ill children, giving them the opportunity to forget their predicament and just be carefree for a while.’ Hammoud is a member of the the Social and Economic Council (SER) that advises the government and its ministers on the implementation and consequences of new regulations and laws. She also is a Substitute member of the Supervisory Council for attorneys. Knowing what goes on in society and working for vulnerable groups of citizens is important to the young and talented lawyer at VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne. Hammoud: ‘I enjoy being a committed citizen and an active member of my community. It stimulates both my personal and professional growth.’

Above average
As the biggest law firm in the Dutch Caribbean VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne offers its clients a broad range of services and many specialties of law. Hammoud: ‘Our greatest challenge is to manage our growth, while preserving our personal and pleasant company culture and our focus on the human factor. We have a strong identity and modern outlook when it comes to human talent. You can stick somebody behind a desk and let them fend for themselves. We invest in human talent, education, training and technology because we want to get the best out of our professionals. With all our in-house experience and expertise clients don’t need to shop anywhere else for legal advice. We offer young talented lawyers the opportunity to become specialized or all round professionals. I don’t come from a wealthy family with a long history in law and have experienced how education and perseverance can change your life. With the right spirit and drive you can realize your own ambition and goals. I am really looking forward to my partnership and all the new roles it includes.’

(Source: Antillaans Dagblad)

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