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Qatar 2017 | EXECUTIVE GUIDE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mubarak Bin Abdulla Al-Sulaiti, Chairman of Al Sulaiti Law Firm, on the local market, client relations, and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).

Since the establishment of Al Sulaiti Law Firm in 2002, what developments allowed you to become a major player in the local market?

Since its initiation, Al Sulaiti Law Firm has always had the intention of becoming one of the leading law firms in Qatar. Hard work, patience, and dedication to the field of law are essential attributes of our success. Throughout these years, many important factors contributed to the development of the law firm, and one of these was finding the right team with enthusiasm, commitment, and passion for the field. Our firm includes lawyers from five countries, including Egypt, France, Italy, and the US. Our educational and experiential diversity allows us to quickly bridge the gap between our clients' legal traditions and the rules and procedures of Qatar. Moreover, we are able to work comfortably with contracts governed by foreign law. The cultural aspect of our diversity is distinctly important. Our foreign clients often arrive in Qatar with a time-is-money mentality. They are often best served by, and most comfortable working with, a lawyer who shares their predisposition. Upgrading the tools we use to execute the job and improving on internal organization systems and programs used by other leading law firms also enables us to deliver the best services to our clients. At the end of every term we come together as one team and critically analyze our development strategies, which is essential to our improvement process. Working as a team makes this process easier as we are able to assess different methods, new ideas, and approaches. By doing this we can overcome new challenges and tackle them as a team.

How can you make a comparison between the current strategy of Al Sulaiti Law Firm and the one applied upon establishment?

Since the establishment of the law firm in 2002, we have aimed to continuously upgrade the levels of services introduced to our clients by making regular developments internally. The area of law is a very sensitive one, which requires a lot of hard work, time, and effort. In law there is no standard application for all of the cases we are presented with. There are a lot of factors that differentiate each process. Each case needs a certain amount of time, effort, and a high-end level of accuracy and dedication. In every process there are advantages and problems that are labeled as disadvantages. Highlighting these disadvantages and tackling them is a challenge and involves a systematic process which requires attention and a solid improvement structure. Law firms in private practice that wish to expand their presence in the GCC, whether national or international, must develop a distinguished strategy and start branding with an inimitable distinctiveness that grows progressively from within the firm. Success is generated through incorporating an effective plan into practice. When introducing your firm to the market you have to build a presence, create a brand, and inform those who may be potential clients about what you do and how you stand out from all of the other firms.

What is Al Sulaiti's approach to maintaining stronger relations with clients?

Understanding your clients' needs and making them your own is a major part of our lawyer-client relationship. Each case is dealt with in a detailed manner and with delicacy, and making the case our own is an essential attribute for pleasing clients. Communication is the core of a strong lawyer-client relationship. It enables the lawyer to understand the client's business, which is the key to our success. Being involved in the business as if you are a member of the team enables us to deliver the best legal services. Exceeding client expectations by over-delivering to impress your clients is a strategy that works better than over promising and not fulfilling a client's needs. Presenting your clients with the best services brings back more clients.

How do you assess the importance of being the first Qatari Law firm to pledge to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)?

All organizations around the world are accountable for running a responsible and sustainable business for the benefit of people, community, and the world as a whole. A law firm is a legal service provider, and to provide the best services, we must have a clear understanding of client needs, of the community we live in, and of our pledge to and respect for the law. In the same way that the law and our community have been a great benefits to us, we must give back to these core pillars of society by making it our responsibility to be more involved in the promotion of worthy change through our corporate responsibility policy. Our corporate responsibility not only includes the UNGC's ten principles, but also upholds our devotion to making the Qatar National Vision 2030 possible. With Qatar being an ever-evolving landscape, we pride ourselves on being involved and watching all that was just a plan become a reality. The honorable state has been through remarkable positive changes and development. Our vision makes it our responsibility not only as a business, but also empowers us to be a responsible business that gives back to the community, education, and the environment.

What are your aspirations for Qatar in 2017?

2017 is another year to work toward the Qatar National Vision 2030, and Al Sulaiti Law Firm is proud to support it. We have our role in this vision by supporting investment institutions and companies through providing them the best legal services and taking our corporate responsibility initiative seriously, through supporting the environmental, educational, and humanitarian aspects of the vision. In this regard, we are asserting our sincere gratitude to His Highness Prince Tamim bin Hamad al Thani who said during the Shura Council opening session that “Qatar deserves the best,” making our aspiration for 2017 to continue striving and working hard to achieve our 2030 goals.