Taalib Saber, attorney entrepreneur, and CEO of Saber Law Firm specializes in education, special education law, civil and human rights and personal injury law. He is trying to make a difference not only within his community, but in law.
Saber started his law firm in 2017, two years after he graduated from North Carolina Central in 2015 with a degree in law. Since he specializes in so many things, Saber thought it would be best to be on his own. He wanted to have the freedom and be creative in the way that he accomplished his goals.
“One of the things that I wanted to have for my law firm––or at least the mission––would be to be able to impact and empower our community,” says Saber. “And by really servicing those who are underprivileged and those who do not have the resources.”
Saber mentioned that within the Black communities, suspensions and expulsion rates are exponentially different as opposed to kids who may be white or any other race. He uses the example of Maryland to get his point across. “In Maryland, Black kids are suspended far greater than anybody else,” Saber says. “So, it’s really being able to tackle and address that, at least through representation.”
Being able to inspire some youth to do something that will impact their community or be inspired to become a lawyer is something that Saber aims to do. As he looks like his community, he can be a form of representation for them. It’s important for Black people to have individuals who portray them in terms of the color of their skin. For Saber, he has experience and has seen what having that representation looks like for young people.
He told the story of when he was in Baltimore a few years ago during a cookout when an eight-year-old boy was surprised to see someone like him in that atmosphere.
“He knew I was a lawyer. He said, ‘but I don’t normally see you guys here,’” says Saber. “I said, ‘Well, you know, I’m a different type of attorney.’ So, to be able to show younger people and even our community that you can do this and be a doctor, you can do this and be a lawyer. You can be in these professions and still impact your community.”
Sometimes, Saber would also surprise the young men that he represents who are in jail when they see what he looks like. Besides law, Saber would talk to them as what they are: human. After he discusses their case with them, Saber would connect with them and ask them about their future plans and goals. Saber mentions that this is something that these individuals are not used to.
“They’ll come up with things that they enjoy doing, some things in which they never thought about,” says Saber. “It’s more about them having something that they can leave with that’s more than just the law to help them continue to grow and expand and take a different path.”
It would seem like Saber is more than just a lawyer or attorney; sometimes he goes by both. Saber is also an activist.
“I wanted something that would be able to tie my work as an activist and organizer into the practice of law,” says Saber.
Saber realized that in order for him to be able to accomplish this goal, he would have to gain more experience inside and outside of law. Since Saber is also a mentor, he realized that going into education would be a great option for him.
“I looked into education law, and as I was talking to other mentors of mine, I noticed that there were not too many education attorneys,” says Saber. “In addition to that, there weren’t too many Black education attorneys, particularly in [Baltimore].”
As Saber started to research about education law, he started to enjoy it. He enjoyed advocating for children and as he mentions, it ties into the work that is at heart for him.
“A lot of parents don’t realize that when their child is struggling in school, there may be an aspect of special education that’s going on,” says Saber. “So it’s being able to let them know about getting [their child] tested, seeing if [their] child has a disability, and the services at [their] disposal.”
As the interview continued, the conversation naturally moved toward his activism and his thoughts on the injustices that have happened this past year. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement showed that communities can come together for a greater cause by protesting. Protesting was happening all over the world.
Saber is big on Kwanzaa by his mention of Kujichagulia, which is one of the seven principles of the one-week holiday. This principle means self-determination. This ties into Saber’s thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement and protests because he believes that self-determination is needed to make a change politically.
“Hearing that protesting and demonstration are the only avenues is mind blowing,” Saber says. “There are several ways in which you can get involved civically to change how things are.”
One of the things that Saber mentions is that school is a place where you can learn to be politically active and engaged. Coming from a lawyer who specializes in education, political activism doesn’t just stop at the ballot box.
“Being able to help the teachers and educate the youth outside of the institution [is important],” Saber says. “You don’t have to just be in the streets and protest. While we need that, we need those who are lawyers, doctors, and politicians. We need those that are the grassroots organizers. We need all hands on deck because [protesting] isn’t just one aspect that impacts education, healthcare, politics, war, sex, and entertainment.”
His position is that protesting is important, but it is much more than that as a community and a society as a whole. To garner and to find ways to be creative in making a social change in society, Saber is doing this with his skills and knowledge in law and in his actions as an activist.
“Malcolm X once said that, ‘You can’t ever reach a man if you don’t speak his language.’ You can’t speak to somebody who understands German in Russian. You can’t speak to somebody who understands English in Swahili. So, we have to figure out exactly what is the language that the youth speak.”