“If you’re a digital marketing professional, you have to stay sharp on your skills in order to grow your career. It’s not unusual to move around, especially if it means growing your skill set – and my skill set has definitely increased because of all the different roles I’ve had.”
Minara El-Rahman ’08 came to law school by way of the world of fashion, which she has loved since her childhood growing up in Queens, the daughter of Bangladeshi parents. She was a public relations and marketing manager for a footwear company before she decided to go law school – realizing, she says, that the law is integral to protecting the work of creative people.
She was in her third year at UB School of Law when she asked her professor in an intellectual property law class if she could create a fashion law blog instead of writing yet another paper. He said yes – and she soon discovered that she had found her calling.
“I realized that I didn’t have that adversarial personality that many lawyers have,” she says, “and I kept looking for some other way to use my legal training.”
After a move to San Francisco, she worked for the legal information company Thompson Reuters, first creating posts as a legal blogger and then editing a program of hyperlocal U.S. blogs for the company’s FindLaw service. What followed was a series of cutting-edge jobs in digital media and marketing. El-Rahman has worked for start-ups and a construction manufacturer, did digital marketing for a university, and now serves as digital marketing lead for EyeQue Corp., a young company that is developing affordable, high-quality vision tests for use at home.
“If you’re a digital marketing professional, you have to stay sharp on your skills in order to grow your career,” she says. “It’s not unusual to move around, especially if it means growing your skill set – and my skill set has definitely increased because of all the different roles I’ve had.”
At EyeQue, she works with a team of writers to create content, does research to figure out how to market most effectively, builds and maintains the company’s Amazon storefront, oversees search engine optimization and keywords, and manages both social media advertising and paid search ad campaigns.
For more than a decade, El-Rahman also has maintained the popular blog Hijabi Life aimed at Muslim women who choose to wear the traditional religious head covering. It combines her first passion, fashion, with lifestyle tips and discussion around beauty, food, parenting, relationships – and, as El-Rahman puts it, “how to be a dignified Muslim in America.”
“The hijab is meant to enhance your beauty inward and outward,” she says. “I try to tell my readers that you’re beautiful in any shape or size you are, in any color you are.”
One thing she learned at UB School of Law, she says, is how to write clearly: “Law school teaches you to write clearly and succinctly, in a way that’s easy to understand. And that’s exactly what digital writing is. I still use all those tools.”
And she has found other benefits to her legal education – such as when she was a presenter in a recent panel discussion on contemporary Muslim fashions. When she was a law student, she took part in some moot court competitions and learned to make a “road map” for oral arguments. “And so whenever I’m presenting, I make sure to have a road map of the things I absolutely want to cover. A lot of times when you’re on a panel, people aren’t prepared with their key talking points, and they really do matter.”
El-Rahman acknowledges that hers has not been a traditional legal career, but says the J.D. degree is more about opening doors than defining one’s path. “One reason I pursued a non-traditional route,” she says, “is that you have to get creative when you’re a student of color and you don’t have built-in contacts. I didn’t have a single professional contact before I started law school. I didn’t have any friends who were lawyers. My parents didn’t have any friends who were lawyers. The opportunities for students of color are really a lot more challenging. That’s another reason I decided to get creative.
“I came about my career in a very non-traditional way, but it’s all about recognizing trends and being able to utilize that knowledge.”