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#AskAMogulAnything:Hi,I'mKimberleyMotley.I'mthefirstnon-AfghanattorneytolitigateinAfghanistan.Amongmyclients:rapevictims.Askmeanythingyou'dlike!YourquestionswillbeansweredLIVE10/7@12pmET.

Kimberley Motley
Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
3y Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan Conversation

Your questions will be answered Friday, October 7th at 12 pm ET. To ask a question, click here to create a Mogul profile, then post a question in the comment section below!

Hi - I'm Kimberley Motley. 

I'm an international attorney who is known for being the first non-Afghan attorney to litigate in Afghanistan. I've been doing that since 2008. Many have called me one of the most effective defense attorneys operating in Afghanistan. In 2014, I was named by Richard Branson as one of the most inspirational people and described as "an inspiring litigator with a powerful message: 'The laws are ours – no matter your ethnicity, nationality, gender, race – they belong to us.'"

Among those I've defended: women who have been treated as criminals because they were raped. In 2011, I famously defended a woman who had been charged with adultery and sentenced to prison after her cousin's husband raped her.  I successfully appealed directly to the Afghan president at his palace to have her pardoned. It was the first presidential pardon President Karzai granted for what he called "a moral crime" and ushered in what many called a new level of respect for Afghan women. 

I an an aberration in Afghanistan. I operate using an I Pad. And I don't wear a headscarf. I used to. But I've found the men treat me with greater respect when I do not wear one. 

I routinely receive death and rape threats owing to the work that I do, and the causes that I take on. But that has not deterred me. I continue to travel in and out of Afghanistan to seek justice for women and foreigners, among others.

Some more information about me: I am married and the mother of three. I am the subject of a brand new documentary, Motley's Law, which was honored at this year's New York Film Festival. I originally grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in a crime-riddled neighborhood, in which people were frequently going in and out of jail. I thought at one point about becoming a doctor or a DJ but I like to say that law chose me. I also was named Mrs. Wisconsin in 2004 and competed in the Mrs. America competition.

Now's your chance to ask me anything! Please write your questions in the comments section below and I'll answer the questions live on Friday, October 7th at 12 pm ET. 

39 replies

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  • Kiana Holmes
    3y ago Colorado, United States

    Hello Kimberly! The work you do sounds so amazing and you are so inspiring. I'm currently organizing a day at my school to address sexual assault. I've started to gather stories from the community and I plan on writing monologues from them and have them performed in front of my school. I wanted to see how you think I can effectively communicate this issue in a way that sticks to students. Thanks for all the hard work you do!

    Hello Kimberly! The work you do sounds so amazing and you are so inspiring. I'm currently organizing a day at my school to address sexual assault. I've started to gather stories from the community and I plan on writing monologues from them and have them performed in front of my school. I wanted to see how you think I can effectively communicate this issue in a way that sticks to students. Thanks for all the hard work you do!

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    What are books you recommend reading to become more knowledgeable about what's going on in the Middle East?

    What are books you recommend reading to become more knowledgeable about what's going on in the Middle East?

  • Kimberley Motley
    Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
    3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

    Thank you all for the conversation and wonderful questions. Please share my TED Talk to see more of what my mission is. https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberley_motley_how_i_defend_the_rule_of_law?language=en Please feel free to reach out whenever and have a great weekend!

    Thank you all for the conversation and wonderful questions. Please share my TED Talk to see more of what my mission is. https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberley_motley_how_i_defend_the_rule_of_law?language=en Please feel free to reach out whenever and have a great weekend!

  • Lucy Chen
    3y ago Chicago, IL, United States

    What was it like being in the pageant world? Is it a healthy environment when it comes to body image?

    What was it like being in the pageant world? Is it a healthy environment when it comes to body image?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I thought it was fun embarking in the pageant world for me. The reason being is that I tried to have fun and refused to put too much stress on myself about it. So for me it was cool. I think body image is more of an internal struggle that people have so I would not say that the pageant world imposed on me to have any body image issues.

      I thought it was fun embarking in the pageant world for me. The reason being is that I tried to have fun and refused to put too much stress on myself about it. So for me it was cool. I think body image is more of an internal struggle that people have so I would not say that the pageant world imposed on me to have any body image issues.

  • Default
    Guest
    3y ago

    What are your hobbies outside of work?

    What are your hobbies outside of work?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Dancing, music, working out, and cooking

      Dancing, music, working out, and cooking

  • Default
    Guest
    3y ago

    What's your advice if someone wants to follow in your footsteps? I admire what you are doing.

    What's your advice if someone wants to follow in your footsteps? I admire what you are doing.

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Go to court and observe, talk to people working & locked up within the system, read case files, read laws, and enjoy the music!

      Go to court and observe, talk to people working & locked up within the system, read case files, read laws, and enjoy the music!

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    Very exciting news about the documentary! Where can we view it?

    Very exciting news about the documentary! Where can we view it?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      In America, hopefully you will be able to see it on TV or online. We will see what happens but that question is better answered by the directors of Motley's Law http://www.madeincopenhagen.dk/en/motleys-law I believe you can buy it

      In America, hopefully you will be able to see it on TV or online. We will see what happens but that question is better answered by the directors of Motley's Law http://www.madeincopenhagen.dk/en/motleys-law I believe you can buy it

  • girl
    girl not yet a woman
    3y ago

    Hi Kimberley! I recently saw an article that Pakistan has closed a loophole that allowed honor killing attackers to go free. Previously, killers could be pardoned by a victim's family to avoid jail. Now, it will only spare them the death penalty. I think this is a great step, but a deterrent more than a solution. What do you think is the key to ensure the safety of women in developing countries for the long run? Apologies for the loaded question!

    Hi Kimberley! I recently saw an article that Pakistan has closed a loophole that allowed honor killing attackers to go free. Previously, killers could be pardoned by a victim's family to avoid jail. Now, it will only spare them the death penalty. I think this is a great step, but a deterrent more than a solution. What do you think is the key to ensure the safety of women in developing countries for the long run? Apologies for the loaded question!

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I think that the laws need to be used more efficiently that protect women especially in Pakistan. I believe that more people need to be sued for money compensation who behave violently towards women. I also believe that government officials such as police and prosecutors who fail to do their basic job of charging people with crimes who are violent towards women should also be legally held accountable.

      I think that the laws need to be used more efficiently that protect women especially in Pakistan. I believe that more people need to be sued for money compensation who behave violently towards women. I also believe that government officials such as police and prosecutors who fail to do their basic job of charging people with crimes who are violent towards women should also be legally held accountable.

  • Default
    Guest
    3y ago

    How do you balance it all with work and family. And safety?

    How do you balance it all with work and family. And safety?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      It is always a work in progress to balance but I am fortunate enough that this is a family business and they are very much involved in my work.

      It is always a work in progress to balance but I am fortunate enough that this is a family business and they are very much involved in my work.

  • Default
    Guest
    3y ago

    What is Afghanistan like? I've heard it's beautiful in many parts, especially the mountains. Do you believe it will ever be fully stable? Do you sense the people want democracy?

    What is Afghanistan like? I've heard it's beautiful in many parts, especially the mountains. Do you believe it will ever be fully stable? Do you sense the people want democracy?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Afghanistan does have many beautiful parts and I have met a lot of beautiful Afghans. It is a country that has unfortunately been through a lot but is a country with a lot of very strong people. I do believe that Afghanistan will one day be stable and I do have a sense that people want democracy not in the way that Americans have democracy but democracy that protects people's political and religious views that doesn't necessarily infringe on others. I have not met one Afghan who did not want to have a peaceful country. I have also met many Afghans who are appreciative of the help that they have received from foreigners.

      Afghanistan does have many beautiful parts and I have met a lot of beautiful Afghans. It is a country that has unfortunately been through a lot but is a country with a lot of very strong people. I do believe that Afghanistan will one day be stable and I do have a sense that people want democracy not in the way that Americans have democracy but democracy that protects people's political and religious views that doesn't necessarily infringe on others. I have not met one Afghan who did not want to have a peaceful country. I have also met many Afghans who are appreciative of the help that they have received from foreigners.

  • Default
    Guest
    3y ago

    I am saddened by the civil war in Syria. When I see pictures of the children being poisoned by their own government, I want to cry. What is your opinion on the situation in that area and what must happen to bring peace and stability to the region?

    I am saddened by the civil war in Syria. When I see pictures of the children being poisoned by their own government, I want to cry. What is your opinion on the situation in that area and what must happen to bring peace and stability to the region?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Yes what is happening in Syria is devastating. There has to be more international support and involvement in the region. People need to not only care more but act on it. I believe the world also needs to do a much better job to support the refugees as they did not deserve what happened to them.

      Yes what is happening in Syria is devastating. There has to be more international support and involvement in the region. People need to not only care more but act on it. I believe the world also needs to do a much better job to support the refugees as they did not deserve what happened to them.

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Yes what is happening in Syria is devastating. There has to be more international support and involvement in the region. People need to not only care more but act on it. I believe the world also needs to do a much better job to support the refugees as they did not deserve what happened to them.

      Yes what is happening in Syria is devastating. There has to be more international support and involvement in the region. People need to not only care more but act on it. I believe the world also needs to do a much better job to support the refugees as they did not deserve what happened to them.

  • VivianaVizcaino
    VivianaVizcaino Viviana
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    Hi Kimberly, I'm so glad women like you exist to help us all. Thank you. Seeing as you are also a mother, how do you explain the work you do to your children? Do they know about the dangers, even in the smallest degree, or do you only tell them about the moral responsibility to help others and how rewarding it can feel?

    Hi Kimberly, I'm so glad women like you exist to help us all. Thank you. Seeing as you are also a mother, how do you explain the work you do to your children? Do they know about the dangers, even in the smallest degree, or do you only tell them about the moral responsibility to help others and how rewarding it can feel?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      My kids are very aware of the work that I do and the dangers that come with it. They are very thoughtful and supportive but of course get uncomfortable about my work at times. I try to incorporate them in my work and we are actually working together on a comic book to teach people about the laws in various countries.

      My kids are very aware of the work that I do and the dangers that come with it. They are very thoughtful and supportive but of course get uncomfortable about my work at times. I try to incorporate them in my work and we are actually working together on a comic book to teach people about the laws in various countries.

  • Jennifer Ridgeworth
    3y ago London, United Kingdom

    You are an inspiration and I've followed your work. Thank you for what you do. What can the rest of the world do to help in your work?

    You are an inspiration and I've followed your work. Thank you for what you do. What can the rest of the world do to help in your work?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      It would be great if people would donate financially to the Motley Cares Foundation as this allows for us to represent people pro bono as well as elevating rule of law globally. http://motleylegal.com/corporate.html

      It would be great if people would donate financially to the Motley Cares Foundation as this allows for us to represent people pro bono as well as elevating rule of law globally. http://motleylegal.com/corporate.html

      • Kimberley Motley
        Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
        3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

        It would also be great if other people also work towards being global investors in human rights and to read the laws, share the laws, and teach others how to protect themselves with the law. I talk a bit about this in my TED TALK https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberley_motley_how_i_defend_the_rule_of_law?language=en

        It would also be great if other people also work towards being global investors in human rights and to read the laws, share the laws, and teach others how to protect themselves with the law. I talk a bit about this in my TED TALK https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberley_motley_how_i_defend_the_rule_of_law?language=en

  • Lucy Chen
    3y ago Chicago, IL, United States

    Neat you are here! Could you talk about what you think needs to be done to rescue girls and women from the hands of IS? Especially the Yazidi women?

    Neat you are here! Could you talk about what you think needs to be done to rescue girls and women from the hands of IS? Especially the Yazidi women?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I think that definitely IS needs to be accountable legally for what they have done to the Yazidi women. I applaud Amal Clooney for representing Nadia. http://www.newsweek.com/amal-clooney-nadia-murad-yazidi-genocide-un-499867 There definitely needs to be more intervention internationally and especially from the UN.

      I think that definitely IS needs to be accountable legally for what they have done to the Yazidi women. I applaud Amal Clooney for representing Nadia. http://www.newsweek.com/amal-clooney-nadia-murad-yazidi-genocide-un-499867 There definitely needs to be more intervention internationally and especially from the UN.

  • glasshalffull100

    Also wondering what you do with any free time that you have? What do you do to decompress amidst all of your travel and difficult cases?

    Also wondering what you do with any free time that you have? What do you do to decompress amidst all of your travel and difficult cases?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I like to dance, listen to music - of course, work out, cook, etc... I do all of these things to decompress.

      I like to dance, listen to music - of course, work out, cook, etc... I do all of these things to decompress.

  • glasshalffull100

    Can you share some of your next big cases? And what are your goals for the future? What other kinds of work would you like to do?

    Can you share some of your next big cases? And what are your goals for the future? What other kinds of work would you like to do?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I am representing Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia. He was the former Deputy Prime Minister & Finance Minister in Malaysia. We have a review hearing on 12 October. Anwar has been convicted on sodomy charges which I strongly believe is politically motivated. World leaders from President Obama, Al Gore, leaders in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Germany, etc... have agreed that Anwar is a Political Prisoner. His charges are a motivation to keep him out of office as he is a strong leader and represents a more progressive Malaysia. Please feel free to read about his case http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-16440290

      I am representing Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia. He was the former Deputy Prime Minister & Finance Minister in Malaysia. We have a review hearing on 12 October. Anwar has been convicted on sodomy charges which I strongly believe is politically motivated. World leaders from President Obama, Al Gore, leaders in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Germany, etc... have agreed that Anwar is a Political Prisoner. His charges are a motivation to keep him out of office as he is a strong leader and represents a more progressive Malaysia. Please feel free to read about his case http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-16440290

  • booklover423
    3y ago

    What made you go into law? And not another field? And when you went to law school, did you ever think you'd be practicing international law?

    What made you go into law? And not another field? And when you went to law school, did you ever think you'd be practicing international law?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      I have always been interested in music and law. When I initially went to college I wanted to be a DJ :-) I feel like law or at least litigation allows for me to be creative and to use the laws in a way that I use music. Every case I take and client I represent is just a matter of me updating and reshuffling my playlists of laws in representing my clients effectively and creatively. I did not know that I would be practicing Internationally and actually Afghanistan was the first country I traveled to outside of the US.

      I have always been interested in music and law. When I initially went to college I wanted to be a DJ :-) I feel like law or at least litigation allows for me to be creative and to use the laws in a way that I use music. Every case I take and client I represent is just a matter of me updating and reshuffling my playlists of laws in representing my clients effectively and creatively. I did not know that I would be practicing Internationally and actually Afghanistan was the first country I traveled to outside of the US.

  • miranda444
    3y ago

    I am amazed that you are juggling a family with what you are doing. Do they ever come with you to Afghanistan? What do they think of the work you are doing? What's your advice for balancing a career with family?

    I am amazed that you are juggling a family with what you are doing. Do they ever come with you to Afghanistan? What do they think of the work you are doing? What's your advice for balancing a career with family?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Thanks for your question. My husband came to Afghanistan and it was really interesting for him. My family especially my kids have been very supportive of what I do. My advice in balancing family & career is to find what works for you. I think a lot of people can try to be judgmental negatively in how they perceive a family is supposed to be. However it is about what works for your family and we have been fortunate enough to figure out our balance.

      Thanks for your question. My husband came to Afghanistan and it was really interesting for him. My family especially my kids have been very supportive of what I do. My advice in balancing family & career is to find what works for you. I think a lot of people can try to be judgmental negatively in how they perceive a family is supposed to be. However it is about what works for your family and we have been fortunate enough to figure out our balance.

  • Sally22
    3y ago

    Hi Kimberley - Your work sounds very hard. How do you maintain your safety in Afghanistan? So many journalists and aid workers have been kidnapped and killed in the region since the conflict in 2001 began. Do you fear for your life?

    Hi Kimberley - Your work sounds very hard. How do you maintain your safety in Afghanistan? So many journalists and aid workers have been kidnapped and killed in the region since the conflict in 2001 began. Do you fear for your life?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Hello Sally22. I don't fear for my life and just keep my head down and work.

      Hello Sally22. I don't fear for my life and just keep my head down and work.

  • MaryPflumPeterson

    Hi Kimberley - Honor to have here here on Ask A Mogul Anything. The work you've done in Afghanistan seems unbelievable. Where do you find the strength and courage to take on these cases? What cases (and their outcomes) have meant the most to you?

    Hi Kimberley - Honor to have here here on Ask A Mogul Anything. The work you've done in Afghanistan seems unbelievable. Where do you find the strength and courage to take on these cases? What cases (and their outcomes) have meant the most to you?

    • Kimberley Motley
      Kimberley Motley International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan
      3y ago Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Afghanistan

      Hello Mary. I have the privilege of the support of my family as well as the honor of representing clients who are quite remarkable in many ways.

      Hello Mary. I have the privilege of the support of my family as well as the honor of representing clients who are quite remarkable in many ways.


Kimberley Motley
International Attorney, Champion of Women's Rights in Afghanistan

Kimberley Chongyon Motley is an American International Attorney of African American and Korean descent. She is mother of three, and former Mrs. Wisconsin-America 2004, who is known for being the first non-Afghan attorney to litigate in Afghanistan since 2008. She is licensed and has permission to [...]

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