Featured Winner: Abdelaziz Alhanaee
What first inspired you to become a lawyer when you were younger? What now pushes you to carry on in your work day to day?
Since my childhood, I was interested in reading and was influenced by the stories of famous lawyers (such as Gandhi and the former US president, Abraham Lincoln). At the same time, I have a great passion in the application of the law. Therefore, I studied a BA in law from Dubai Policy Academy for four years. After graduation, I worked in the Ministry of Interior for seven years.
Thereafter, I couldn’t leave the profession which I loved since childhood. Therefore, I resigned from the Ministry of Interior and headed back to practice law. At that time, I joined Habib Al Mulla Advocates & Legal Consultants Office and I was promoted and became Partner at the end of 2009. Then, I decided to open my own office after working for eight years in Habib Al Mulla Advocates & Legal Consultants.
How did you initiate the foundation of the firm, and how have you built it from the bottom up?
It was very difficult to open my own office and start from zero after working in a reputed law firm for more than eight years, especially due to intense competition between local and international law firms. However, I was convinced that it was the right time after my prosperous experience with Habib Al Mulla Advocates & Legal Consultants. It was the beginning of a new challenge for me to establish new and specific concepts with regard to the management and the manner of dealing with clients, as well as the selection standards of advocates.
Of course, there were many constraints before opening my own office, including the selection of the office location, paying attention to all details relating to the office design and the commencement of the staff appointment. It took almost one year to complete all these matters.
Due to my realistic and actual work plan after market study, my main goal, especially in the first two years, was not to accept any types of cases. Through patience, persistence, careful selection of clients and paying attention to the quality of services provided to the clients, we managed to cross the critical phase and achieve stability. Moreover, we look forward to expand in UAE.
Since its inception, what have been the most impacting accomplishments of the firm and your team?
There are four important cases in which we accomplished a great and unforeseen success. But an advocate is exposed to either losing or winning cases. However, a clever advocate could search and understand what is in-between the lines and analyse the case circumstances carefully, as well as establish suitable strategy and solution for each case and deal with full transparency and honesty with the client. The most important accomplishment for us is the clients’ happiness and satisfaction with the services provided to them by our office.
On the other hand, what do you believe to have been its biggest challenges, both regionally and on an international scale?
In fact, the world has become a small village. The laws and regulations between the countries became similar with different procedures. The world is persistently evolving. All these elements necessitate development of old laws and issue new, as well as contemporary laws. Moreover, there are different nationalities in the UAE, from different countries, applying different procedures. Therefore, we spend a long time explaining these regulations and procedures to the clients. In addition, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts apply the public law which differs from the civil law, an aspect which makes it more complicated for the clients. However, it will help us to be more familiar with the applicable laws outside the UAE and facilitates our communication and cooperation with law firms outside the UAE.
What does it feel like to be awarded law firm of the year in this segment, and how do you think it might impact the firm and its team?
It is a wonderful feeling that we managed to receive the award this year. I’m confident that this award shall motivate all the members of Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy to do their best efforts in the coming years.
The firm’s mission is ‘to provide the best in class litigation & legal services to both international and local clients’; how is this achieved and how do you think you go further than this?
As indicated above, our priority is to provide an excellent legal service, based on our great experience in the field of law, in a manner consistent with the client’s desire. We are currently focusing on the commercial, civil, real estate, criminal, contracting and arbitration cases. We are always keen to sit down with the clients and providing them a transparent and professional legal opinion, after examining the documents, discussing the proper strategy for their cases and studying the expected results and scenarios.
Currently, the clients of Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy are from different nationalities and we always hear from them that we are a local office, with the mentality of an international office.
I believe that we achieved great success with the clients, this is evident from satisfaction with the services provided to them in the cases managed by our office in the UAE or the arbitration cases outside the country.
Now that you are law firm of the year in this legal segment, what steps do you think the firm must take to reach its vision of becoming the ‘one of the top law firms not only in Dubai but in UAE’?
In fact, our priorities in this phase include focusing on the quality of the service provided to the clients, as well as professional development of the office advocates. Therefore, we in Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy, persist in making a study of expansion in order to maintain the quality and standards of the service, and to achieve our future strategic goals.
Does the firm have a motto or mantra it lives by in service to its clients?
The clients are the basis of a successful law firm. We, in Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy, have an important motto that our services should conform to or exceed the fees paid by the client (we leave our work to do the speaking for us).
In the realm of anti-money laundering, what goals does the firm still want to reach and what impact do you hope to have in the long term, both in the UAE and internationally?
Although the disappearance of this phenomenon is difficult, we wish all international efforts to be united, to get rid of this phenomenon which damages the country’s economy.
What do you believe Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy has to offer that its neighboring law firms don’t?
We, in Abdelaziz Alhanaee Advocates & Legal Consultancy, are more characterised by specialisation and concentration on specific cases, we have classic values and persist in the same, especially with regard to our relationship with the clients. We are uninterested too much in the office size or number of advocates, as in the next years (the perpetuity shall be for the best not the largest).
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for this interview and I look forward to achieve other awards in different specialization in the coming years.