Interview with: Mustafa Muayad, Managing Partner

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Muayad & Associates

Mustafa Muayad, founding Managing Partner of Muayad & Associates, announce a new chapter for his team under the banner of Muayad & Associates and unveils the firm’s mission to streamline entry into the Iraqi market for international companies through unparalleled local legal expertise paired with international standards, setting a new benchmark for legal services in Iraq.

 

1) Main points of differentiation:

Muayad & Associates distinguishes itself through its unparalleled local expertise blended with international legal standards. Our deep understanding of the Iraqi and Middle Eastern legal landscapes, combined with a client-centric approach, enables us to provide tailored, strategic solutions that truly set us apart from our competitors.

our distinctive approach begins with guiding clients through the complexities of the Iraqi market even before they enter, ensuring a deep understanding of the local legal landscape and identifying potential risks in their specific fields.

Our extensive knowledge of international legal frameworks, combined with our local expertise, allows us to craft clear, strategic legal plans. This focus on international and foreign companies means we offer personalized advice that simplifies their decision-making processes regarding operations in Iraq. Unlike others, we avoid one-size-fits-all solutions, tailoring our services to meet the unique needs and challenges of each client.

One of our firm’s strengths is our dedication to keeping up with all legal updates and changes. This ensures that we can offer timely advice to our clients about any changes in their sector, upcoming legal shifts, and compliance needs. Our focus on staying informed about the latest legal developments means our clients are well-prepared to handle the evolving legal requirements, keeping them compliant and ahead in their fields.

 

2) Growing practices:

In the next 12 months, we anticipate significant growth in our corporate structuring practice. Our firm has successfully assisted numerous clients in establishing their entities in Iraq, navigating them through the complexities of the Iraqi Companies Law No.21 of 1997 and its latest amendments by Iraqi Companies Law Amendment No.17 of 2019. This expertise not only aligns with the evolving legal and regulatory framework in Iraq but also positions us to better serve international companies looking to enter and expand within the Iraqi market.

In addition to anticipating growth in our corporate structuring practice, another area we see expanding significantly is arbitration and legal advice. This is particularly relevant after Iraq’s ratification and joining of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. With the enactment of the Law on the Accession of the Republic of Iraq to the New York Convention on 4 March 2021, which entered into effect on 31 May 2021, Iraq officially became a signatory, enhancing our ability to provide comprehensive dispute resolution methods through arbitration to our international clients. This milestone significantly bolsters our arbitration practice, offering a more efficient, predictable framework for resolving cross-border disputes, and aligns perfectly with the global standards we are committed to providing.

Another area where we foresee substantial growth is in construction and projects, especially with the surge in building new condominiums in Iraq. This expansion is supported by the Iraqi Investment Law No. 13 of 2006 and its amendments, including a significant update in 2015 with the Investment Law No. 50 of 2015, which have collectively laid a robust framework for investments in the construction sector. These legal provisions are instrumental in fostering a conducive environment for the development of major construction projects.

Our lawyers have been at the forefront, providing legal services to major companies specializing in this field. Our involvement ranges from advising on the legal aspects of project financing and development to navigating the regulatory requirements set forth by the Iraqi Investment Law and its amendments. Our firm’s expertise in this area not only supports the growth and development of the construction industry in Iraq but also ensures that our clients can execute their projects efficiently and in compliance with local laws, adding significant value to the burgeoning real estate and construction landscape in Iraq.

 

3) Main change benefiting clients:

When my colleagues and I embarked on a new path, our aim was to forge a law firm dedicated to unparalleled client service. Establishing Muayad & Associates marked our commitment to offering comprehensive, tailored legal solutions, especially designed for international firms in Iraq’s challenging market. Motivated by the desire to fill a gap in the market for specialized corporate legal services and driven by a passion for legal excellence and innovation, this venture has allowed us to deliver precise, strategic advice, underscoring our commitment to facilitating our clients’ achievements in Iraq. We have streamlined our operational processes to enhance efficiency and responsiveness. This transformation ensures that our clients receive timely, effective legal solutions that address their specific needs and challenges, ultimately benefiting their business operations and legal outcomes.

 

4) Impact of technology on client interaction and services:

Technology is revolutionizing how we interact with our clients and the services we offer. We’ve embraced digital platforms for communication and case management, improving accessibility and transparency. This digital shift allows for more efficient collaboration and service delivery, tailored to our clients’ evolving expectations.

Incorporating technology into our operations has been transformative. At Muayad & Associates, we leverage advanced digital tools for client communication and case management, enhancing our responsiveness and the transparency of our services. This digital integration ensures that we can offer more dynamic, efficient legal solutions that are in sync with our clients’ growing needs. From secure online platforms for document sharing to employing online communication tools to connect with our clients on daily basis, technology empowers us to provide faster, more effective legal support, allowing us to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving legal landscape

 

5) Practical example of adding value to a client’s business:

We recently advised a client on a complex corporate restructuring process, identifying legal and regulatory strategies to optimize their operations. Our guidance enabled the client to navigate legal hurdles efficiently, resulting in improved operational efficiency and a stronger market position. In addition, Our lawyers in Iraq office have assisted a variety of clients, including multinational corporations, telecommunication companies, contractors, investment banks, oil and gas companies and international law firms. Some of our more distinguished clients/projects include:

Assist major oil and gas companies in obtaining the necessary permits and licenses to operate in Iraq and otherwise assisting in negotiations with the Ministry of Oil/PCLD on DPSC contracts and Technical Service Agreements.

Advise major banks and financial institutions regarding compliance requirements with the Central Bank of Iraq and anti-money laundering laws and regulations.

Assist financial institutions on a large loan agreement by providing legal advice on sovereign immunity and taxation matters. Ensuring that the proper government clearances and resolutions were obtained and attended several meetings with senior Iraqi government officials and Central Bank directors to finalize said resolutions.

Advise international companies in Iraq on Banking Laws to assist them to withdraw their deposits from Dar-Eslam Bank (which was under trusteeship management) and attending extensive meetings with the Central Bank of Iraq to reach an agreement regarding the deposits of these companies.

Legal services extended to pharmaceutical companies on the pharmaceutical legal framework in Iraq and registration of various pharmaceutical products with Ministry of Health and advising on public tenders and the regulations of KIMADIA in Iraq.

Advising power and energy companies by drafting power plant agreements for projects in South of Iraq to rehabilitate and produce energy of existing plants in Basra.

Assisting media, communication, telecommunication and social network companies in obtaining sector-related licensing from the Commission of Media and Communication and otherwise advising on compliance matters.

 

6) Clients’ expectations and the firm’s future direction:

Clients are indeed seeking stability and strategic guidance. Muayad & Associates aims to be at the forefront of legal innovation, continuously adapting our practices to meet the changing needs of the market. In three years, we are focused on enhancing our legal services and presence within Iraq, aiming to extend our reach beyond Baghdad and increase our presence in cities like Erbil, Basra, and Kirkuk. This expansion will allow us to offer our cutting-edge legal solutions to a wider range of clients across the country, ensuring they receive the highest level of support for their success. Furthermore, recognizing the dynamic development in the Saudi market, we intend to set up our office in Saudi Arabia. This strategic expansion aims to bring our innovative legal solutions closer to our clients, ensuring comprehensive support across significant markets in the region.