Interview with: Hamad Al Yafei, Founder and Managing Director
Hamad Al Yafei Law Firm | View firm profile
What do you see as the main points that differentiate [Hamad Al Yafei Law Firm] from your competitors?
With the expansion and growth of the legal market in Qatar and the region during the past few years, most law firms have been focused on differentiating themselves from competitors. But what clients mostly look for nowadays is hiring lawyers based on both their specific areas of expertise and past experience in handling particular types of legal issues. With the depth of knowledge and proven exhibited experience and remarkable outcomes, specifically cornerstone judgements and arbitral awards, our law firm confidently combines advanced means of research and review, offering significant differentiation in its areas of practice, and credibly seen nowadays as a market leader in a large number of industries.
In addition to the depth of expertise, our law firm adopts an innovative approach to its services delivery, ranging from online application consultation, to e-reviews of contracts, and cost and time effective instant advices.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Qatar’s rapid infrastructure development and fast-growing economy has attracted hundreds of businesses, investors, and expatriates. Ahead of hosting 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP, law firms are still expanding their operations in matters of construction, contracting, and subcontracting. Lawyers tend to keep up with the challenges of multinational companies especially in matters of complex arbitration that are anticipated to be in line with both local and international standard practices.
Moreover, the combination of emerging international financial crises, and continuous innovation in protective regulatory standards, put the spotlight on matters of governance, cultures, and STANDARDS across many industries, which shall keep up with the latest rules and regulations governing their businesses. Law firms nowadays have a greater role in helping their clients asses and transfer their structures and processes to address the developing regulations and regulatory risks that they face, especially for foreign companies expanding into new and unfamiliar territories.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
In 2020/2021, the firm underwent a fundamental restructuring with the aim of becoming one of the leading law firms in the region. We have adopted a well-developed system for delivering our legal services and implemented a modern business model that involve the highest international standards, while taking into account the specifications of the State of Qatar. Hamad Al Yafei Law Firm is committed to actively promote cultural diversity, which pervades all aspects of practice, as we provide an environment which allows everyone to develop and grow regardless of their age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or disability, eliminating discrimination in any of its recruitment processes. The firm’s lawyers and paralegals originate from more than 10 countries worldwide, and have attended prestigious law schools in Qatar, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Portugal, Sudan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and Germany. We rely on a team of highly skilled experts with a remarkable abroad experience. Our associates and paralegals are able to work and correspond in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, and are members of foreign bar associations with remarkable history of international experience.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
The internet has widened the range of service delivery, and in times like this when physical meetings may compromise safety, or may be time consuming for our clients, virtual consultations have to be resorted to. Therefore, our clients can have their efficient, and cost-effective online consultation by submitting their enquiries and paying the consultation fees through an online portal. For contracts, clients get their reviews within hours of submitting their documents. For legal opinions, clients can either get their notice through an online consultation, or schedule an office meeting to get their notice of advice, at their convenience.
In addition to that, our firm is posting a legal alert or insight on a weekly basis consistently, in a bilingual form capturing the most important legal updates, including commentaries on remarkable judgments from Qatari courts. The purpose is to spread legal awareness amongst the public and further educate foreign investors and firms in Qatar of the legal updates and familiarizing them with the laws and legal news, through the alerts and insights posted.
Furthermore, from time to time, a brief commentary on remarkable judgments from Qatari courts is posted to keep the audience informed of the judicial approaches that may impact the conduct of their business.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Recently, several companies approached us for restructuring and reformation processes. Nowadays, regulatory compliance and corporate governance are no longer a voluntary retreat for companies. It is now a complex business challenge, especially with the pace at which new laws and regulations are being introduced. Hamad Al Yafei law firm was proud that it offered these legal services for several business in Qatar, one of which a client running around 15 companies. We managed to amended their articles of association, shareholders agreements, and executive management regulations, of which a holding company was established, and the 15 other companies transformed to subsidiary companies under the holding company umbrella. We have put an immense volume of reforms for internal regulations policies, and day to day operations as well, to ensure that the business is conducted according to the requirements of applicable laws and best international business standards of practice.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
No matter what area of law you practice, every lawyer needs to be deeply empathetic towards his clients and their needs. Clients are often confused and nervous when dealing with something they’re unfamiliar with. Therefore, as an expert, it is the lawyer’s job to lead innovation and changes in legal practice. Think about “What will this mean for my client?”, without jeopardizing his legal position. Our law firm keeps our clients’ needs top of mind which ensures the best outcome no matter how the legal industry changes and evolve. With our implemented expansion plan, and the talented, multinational, highly educated working team that we proudly have, we do perceive ourselves as one of the leading law firms, not only in the Qatari market, but also as a GCC and MENA region recognized international law firm.