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BSEC BHABAN (LEVEL11), 102 KAZI NAZRUL ISLAM AVENUE, KARWAN BAZAR, DHAKA 1215, BANGLADESH
Tel:
Work +88 02 818 9240 2
Fax:
Fax +88 02 818 9239
Email:
Web:
www.tanjibalam.com

Tanjib Alam, Head of Chambers

Head of Chambers Tanjib Alam discusses the contours of setting a bench mark in corporate and commercial law practise in Bangladesh.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Tanjib Alam and Associates from your competitors?

The foundation of Tanjib Alam and Associates is based on dexterity and experience. By combining these two elements, we take a tailor made approach that suits the specific elements of our clients' cases. Unlike our competitors, we do not employ over-used tactics to resolve disputes. The important point being, in an arena like law which is always in flux, a fool-proof method is nothing but a myth. However, we do not try to reinvent the wheel as well. Keeping this in mind over the years we have kept our attitude towards each case completely different from the other. The benefit of such a process has been twofold: we have learned from our experience and our clients have always been satisfied.

Moreover, unlike most chambers we do not resort to litigation at the first sight of a dispute. Our first instinct is to analyse whether the problem in hand can be solved outside the shackled realm of the court house. The reason being the court system of our country is still quite tedious and at times the purpose is defeated due to technical procedures. Therefore, to drag every single dispute to court is a damaging prospect that we have learned to avoid. Our in-house expert arbitrators and mediators have flourished in their craft with adroitness and finesse. With their sound advice, and our clients' particular needs in mind, we try to find a prompt solution to the dispute in hand. In addition, nowadays even courts encourage parties to have their disputes sorted by means of mediation or arbitration.

We do discuss with clients the possible options of securing their ultimate goal bearing in mind that our clients are not apt with all legal jargons and privileges that the existing law in the country could offer them. Therefore, we seek their instruction, we learn from them the background facts and then we secure their objectives with our expertise and skill within the legal framework. This makes our firm very distinctive than most other firms in the country as we have developed a client-oriented approach. Because of our vast experience in the corporate and commercial world, in both in-house and litigation, we do understand how the needs of our clients can best be met, what the trend of the courts are and what the courts could possibly order if the advice or its derivatives are subsequently challenged in this jurisdiction.

In essence, at Tanjib Alam and Associates, we always try to strike a balance between the procedural nuances and our clients' preference for privacy and promptness to arrive at a suitable solution.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Mergers and acquisitions are one of the top trends in the business sector of Bangladesh these days. From large telecom companies to other proficient corporate bodies, most businesses are seeking to expand their operations or go international. Our firm is engaged in the historic merger of the two leading telecom operators, Robi and Airtel. Such commercial practice is being done to reduce expenses and to attain some commercial advantages as a merged entity, and most of all to be a part of the global economic arena.

It is quite obvious that there will be an influx of investment in the technology sector for the prospect of prosperity that is entailed to it. Currently there are 1,500 IT/ITES companies registered in Bangladesh. This data and our experience suggests that, in the coming years the technology sector will be thriving. Their operations will range from developing new products to outsourcing IT knowledge-based projects. Moreover, the government has declared IT as a thrust sector, waived all taxes and duties from import of computer hardware and software, there has been declaration of an hundred percent remittance of profit and capital gains for foreign investors without any approval, lastly in the next two years, initiative will also be taken to link Bangladesh to the global highway through additional submarine cable. Keeping all this information in mind, it is quite conspicuous that there will be major investment in this arena than any other in the next 12 months.

Another affluent practice is human resource management owing to the fact that businesses are developing with time and more companies are being formed and registered, and the necessity for allocating new recruits is becoming even more important. The need for companies to arrange their staff is palpable and investments are being made for the development of the human resource management sector by the companies. We have already secured work-permits for our multinational and foreign clients and helped them launch their operations in this country, and we look forward to helping many others in the coming years.

It would be a big miss if I fail to state that the energy sector will be growing as well. It has already grown in the last five years and is still growing with more power plants being set up to meet the increasing need for electricity in this country. This has an inextricable link with foreign investment in that many power generation companies are exploring their opportunities in this jurisdiction and we are proud to state that our firm has in many occasions had the privilege to be their legal partner. We have worked closely with entrepreneurs in the energy, oil and gas sectors and we do understand that they look forward to investing and exploring this sector in the next few years. Indeed, we have advised and worked on a number of business proposals and transactions that foresee setting up several power plants in the country.

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

At Tanjib Alam and Associates we have incorporated the latest technological advancement in order to facilitate smooth operation. We are subscribed to the latest legal newsletters and law reports and we have a huge collection of monographs and practitioners' texts by leading authors and lawyers from all over the world. Needless to mention that in order to build a strong foundation of a case, ample amount of legal research on different aspects is necessary. Therefore, in our chambers, there is an opulently resourceful library crammed with books of every area of practice by well-known authors and developed jurisdictions to serve our clients with useful legal references. These books are regularly being used by our dedicated legal researchers as well as other members of the firm. In this age of information superhighway, online subscription to major legal reporting network is sine qua non for a law firm to survive.

The infrastructure of our chambers is based on transparency and approachability, and the architectural value dictates as such. We have an open door policy which allows the associates to approach me and other senior associates whenever they are in need of direction or further guidance regarding any issue. This translucent environment helps the clients by ensuring timely replies and instructions which is often not possible if a certain protocol is needed to be maintained in the chambers.

In addition, I have also established a result-oriented practice so that our clients are served with the appropriate remedy within the frameworks of law without incurring unreasonable delay and unnecessary costs. This is done by allocating expert team members and resources in accordance with the issue in hand.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

For a firm like ours which has its clients all over the world, technology is a staple. In the last few years, in our chambers, the impression that technology is a facility has been superseded and now it is more of a necessity. Our chambers has a state-of-the-art communication facility with clients and we do accept almost all sorts of communication for our clients' convenience. Our day-to-day conducts are entirely dependent on e-mail correspondence and we do have to update our own database from time to time. We have almost all the latest equipment present at our chambers which help us interact with our local and international clients in real time via audio or video conference. We also encourage our associates to use technology to its fullest potential to keep the clients always updated about the progress of their case or to answer any queries they might have regarding the case.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

Being involved in the drafting of certain crucial Statues has given me an exhaustive knowledge about the intricate workings of the provisions enshrined in them. For example, my involvement in the drafting phase of Bangladesh Telecommunication Act provided me with a clear understanding of the spirit of the statute itself and also the interest of the government and regulatory bodies, owing to which I was able to provide my clients at the telecommunication sector with symmetrical advice which helped them to avoid legal backlash. The same could be said about my clients in the energy/power sector who have benefitted from my grasp in Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act that resulted from being involved in the construction phase of the statue. I have been the lead consultant of IFC in drafting the new Companies Act for Bangladesh and was involved in drafting the upcoming Broadcasting Act, and as such I do understand the intent and spirit of the legislature very well to advise my clients in these matters.

To be precise, my close liaison with the regulatory body has helped my clients giving them a clearer picture of the broad spectrum of possibilities and know-how of the legal aspect of their business within the framework of law.

As I have said, we do have a client-oriented approach, and by saying so, I mean we do explore the various ways in which the ultimate goal of our clients could be achieved in a cost-effective yet speedy manner.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms? Where do you see the firm in three years time?

Yes, of course, the clients would look for practical advice including stability and strategic direction from the law firms. In recent times the role of law firms is not only limited to giving legal advice, rather clients often seek advice and direction regarding risk management and other business infrastructural solutions too. This is mostly owing to the fact that, over the years we have developed a tenacious liaison with our clients, and they trust us to be knowledgeable regarding all the ins and outs of their enterprise.

Although we are situated in the heart of Bangladesh, in the coming years Tanjib Alam and Associates will definitely need another office in an international location owing to growing client demands. Our increasing affiliation with pro-bono work has inspired us to have a separate office in our chambers dedicated only to pro bono cases. On the other hand, excelling in the ICT/Technology and Power/Energy sector is an aim which is quite obvious to mention as we are already a pioneer law firm in that arena.

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