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Sameer Sattar, Head of Legal

Barrister Sameer Sattar, the rising star of Bangladesh!

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Sattar & Co. from your competitors?

Honesty, integrity and client commitment are core factors which differentiate Sattar&Co. from its competitors. One of our strongest differentiating factors would have to be the sincerity or integrity with which we carry out our client work. We never fail on our client deliverables and clearly, we do not give clients any impracticable advice. All our opinions are rendered through extensive legal research and practical experience.   Given that these principles are followed strictly, it is not a surprise that Sattar&Co. has gained momentous growth within the shortest time fame in Bangladesh. We are now ranked in Band 1 by Chambers and Partners and recommended highly by Who’s Who Legal and Legal 500. 

part from that, in order to maintain the high standards of our work, we focus mainly on quality of work as opposed to the quantity of work. We will never stretch ourselves to take new matters which we cannot deliver on time. These instructions are clearly conveyed to our associates as well. We have an excellent team of talented individuals that represent a diverse mix of backgrounds, some hailing from the top local public Universities, as well as others who are educated under the British legal system, working together in close teams to deliver work tailored to our clients’ needs.

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

In my view, the practices that have greatest potential for growth in the near future in Bangladesh are Acquisitions, Joint Ventures and Dispute Resolution. The drivers behind this would be the growth of the Bangladeshi economy as a whole, encouraging more foreign companies to invest here. There are also special economic zones being set up for investors, and we are also seeing increasing amounts of cross-border transactions.

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

Due to growing demand for our work, we are constantly trying to employ the most talented individuals and grow our team aggressively. The fact that we have moved into a bigger office space in Gulshan is also a testament of this fact. Our office is now located in Gulshan, which is an area of great commercial importance as it is becoming the next commercial hub of Bangladesh. This directly benefits our clients, as one of the persistent problems that plague our local populace is the traffic jams they must endure daily. By being conveniently located very closely to our clients, we save them this time, which they can therefore focus on the things that matter most to their businesses.

Another change we’ve made is in the hiring and training programs. As alluded to earlier, we are highly selective in our intake of trainees, picking only those who have both the technical expertise, as well as who will be good cultural fits, leading to teams which have the technical prowess as well as who can function smoothly together. We believe in investing in our trainees, and developing them though training and example, to become sharp lawyers of both great capability and integrity.

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

The Bangladeshi legal market, in general, is at a nascent stage in so far as the usage of technology is concerned. However, we would like to be at the forefront of useful technologies. This is reflected in our workplace – which is equipped with the necessary technologies for legal practice in Bangladesh. For us, accessibility is a significant factor as exemplified by our office location, as well as the technologies with which we equip all our lawyers enabling them to be most effective and as accessible as possible. We understand that clients often come for legal advice when they are facing difficulties, and thus we maximize our effectiveness and accessibility keeping our lawyers fully trained in their usage of technology.

Especially given our international clientele, for whom confidentiality is paramount, we are constantly using latest software to protect our system from viruses etc. Also, we encourage and have decreased our use of paper, thus being better for the environment as well. This is significant as the legal sector moves infamously slowly, even more so in Bangladesh, with some of the more established practices here being reluctant to use such tools and still being entirely paper-based.

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

We try to find elegant solutions to complex legal scenarios, and what makes us most satisfied is when we are able to craft strategies that result in a win-win for all parties involved. For example, recently we worked on a project where our client was from Bangladesh, and the other party from Singapore who together were seeking to build a hotel in Bangladesh. The Singaporean party wanted the place of arbitration to be in Singapore should any dispute arise, while our client wanted it to be in Bangladesh so as to minimize his costs. Through our extensive experience in arbitration, we knew that in Bangladesh, the arbitration legislation is lacking in the sense that interim injunctions are unavailable locally when the place of arbitration is abroad. Thus by negotiating the place to be in Bangladesh, we minimized the potential costs for our client, whilst helping the other party to achieve a meaningful arbitration clause as well. This particular example also showcases our integrity at work – as we could easily have omitted this vital information in order to purely benefit our client, at the expense of the Singaporean party.

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

In a sense, yes, as our clients, particularly foreign ones, want to operate in a legally sound and sustainable way in an environment that they are not accustomed to. Therefore, apart from the black-letter law, there are often other unique aspects of operating in this country specifically that clients would be greatly benefitted to know, and which we deliver as well. Certain aspects such as how to deal effectively with local firms and entities, along with other local or cultural factors are understandably new to such clients. Such clients often compliment our unique ability of having a deep understanding of the local legal and social environment as well the needs of international clients.

Similar to our approach to technology, in terms of the market as well we like to stay at the forefront of upcoming changes. I would like to see this firm further developing as a whole-service firm with our services encompassing the whole spectrum of corporate services. What we are starting to do is having our associates deeply specialise in various aspects of corporate law, and then work together in interdisciplinary teams so as to deliver the richest service possible. We would certainly keep our focus on maintaining integrity and expertise, and look forward to what challenges may come. Thank you.

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