Outstanding Law Student of the Month Award


Yahya Alsharif

Yahya Alsharif

September 2014

The VLP is pleased to announce that Yahya Alsharif has been selected as our Outstanding Law Student Volunteer for the month of September 2014.  Yahya, an LLM student, joined the VLP this summer at our family law Service Center clinic.  This fall, he will participate in the VLP’s Advice-Only clinic, helping clients with various consumer issues.  Yahya’s desire to learn, and his interest in gaining experience in new areas of the law, makes him a valued volunteer at the VLP.

Yayha is from Najran, Saudi Arabia.  He attended King Saud University, College of Law and Political Science where he obtained a Bachelor Degree of Laws.  During this time, Yahya was a research intern for the National Society for Human Rights.  In this role, he worked to identify various human rights violations and visited displaced persons and prisoners.  After graduation, Yayha became an assistant professor in King Saud University’s Department of Commercial Law, teaching an introduction to law course.  In the course, Yahya led his students through an exploration of the functions of law in society from a constitutional, statutory, and judicial perspective.  

Yahya then decided to come to the United States on a student visa to study law.  When asked why he chose the University of Arizona for his LLM program, Yahya explained that one of his past professors attended the University of Arizona for law school, and recommended to Yahya that he also consider U of A because of its reputation and high ranking.  Yahya also chose to attend U of A because of the school’s well-received Center for English as a Second Language. According to Yahya, the Center appealed to him as a place where he could “learn the English language in an efficient and effective way.”  

As an LLM student, Yahya’s academic focus is on international trade arbitration.  According to Yahya, “arbitration is infrequently being used in Saudi Arabia and recently courts and lawyers have realized its importance.”  Yahya explained that there are hundreds of international companies in Saudi Arabia, and many of them do not want their disputes resolved in the Saudi Arabian national judiciary system.  Without alternative dispute resolution options like arbitration, the fear is that these companies will transfer their jobs to other countries.  Thus, Yahya believes that arbitration will provide many great job opportunities in the future.

Yahya became involved with the Volunteer Lawyers Program this year as a way to gain practical experience within the US legal system.  According to Yayha, volunteering has enabled him to “develop technical, social, and academic skills that couldn’t be learned in a classroom environment.”  He has been able to work with various lawyers, and observe the different techniques that each lawyer uses to guide clients though legal issues.  

When he’s not studying, Yahya enjoys reading history books, swimming, and playing soccer.  Yayha told us that he is addicted to Judge Judy and Law and Order; and, he also likes to watch American movies as a way to learn English.  Since arriving in the US, Yahya has been able to travel to San Diego, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.  Of the three, Yahya enjoyed San Diego the most, saying that it is the most beautiful place he has visited in the US so far.  And because of San Diego’s proximity to Tucson, he plans to travel to San Diego annually.

When asked about his dream job, Yahya shared that he would love to be an international trade law professor when he returns to Saudi Arabia.

Thank you, Yahya, for volunteering with the VLP!