Lawyer who gave up law practice 50 years ago has new legal career at 82

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A lawyer who was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar after immigrating from India in 1970 found that few law firms were willing to hire an immigrant. He turned to social work instead and helped raise his family.

Now the one-time social worker, Kiku Mehta, has reinstated his law license and is beginning a legal career at the age of 82, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Before he came to the United States, Mehta was an immigration lawyer in India. In Philadelphia, he worked as a child advocate for the nonprofit Children’s Services Inc. until it closed its doors in December 2017.

A friend who has his own law firm asked Mehta to join his practice after the social work job ended. The friend figured Mehta’s background in immigration law and social work, as well as his fluency in five languages, would be a plus.

“Social work is a helping business, but [its] roots are in law,” Mehta told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m able to do both.”

Mehta had to complete more than 40 continuing legal education credits and undergo interviews to reactivate his law license. One of his daughters, now a lawyer, helped pay for the education. Another daughter is a physician and a third is the CEO of a start-up food products company.

Mehta tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that age isn’t a factor that is preventing his career move. He stays active, follows a vegetarian diet, and practices and teaches yoga. “I’m in good shape,” he said.

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