Kimberley Motley possesses a rare kind of grit—the kind necessary to hang a shingle in Kabul, represent the under-represented, weather a kaleidoscope of threats, and win the respect of the Afghan legal establishment (and of tribal leaders). At present she practices in the U.S., Afghanistan, Dubai, and the International Criminal Courts; as her practice expands to other countries, she thinks deeply about how to engage the legal community to build the capacity of rule of law globally.
After spending five years as a public defender in her native Milwaukee, Motley headed to Afghanistan to join a legal education program run by the U.S. State Department. She noticed Westerners stranded in Afghan prisons without representation, and started defending them. Today, she’s the only Western litigator in Kabul, and one of the most effective defense attorneys in Afghanistan. Her practice, which reports a 90 percent success rate, often represents non-Afghan defendants as well as pro-bono human rights cases.