Interview with: Sarjeel Mowahid, Partner, Head of Corporate & Commercial

ABS & Co. Advocates and Corporate Counsels

Sarjeel Mowahid, Partner ABS & CO provides an insight of the firm practice.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate ABS & CO from your competitors?

What makes us unique is our experience of thirty years in law. We command a reputation of excellence, and our team comprises of some of the brightest legal minds in Pakistan and leaders in their fields be it the contentious side or the non-contentious side.

We take pride in the fact that our firm is the ‘go to firm’ for state level matters/disputes and consulted by the Federation for national and international issues.

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

The mushroom growth of tech startups with foreign direct investments signifies a digital revolution which would mean cyber security & information technology are an emerging area of law.

However, given the recession and inflation I foresee a growth in bankruptcy & Insolvency law as well.

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

I have tried to create a positive experience for our clients by:

  • Recruiting the right people
  • Training our staff to develop their skills thereby increasing efficiency
  • Improving accessibility & the turn-around time to existing clients
  • Employing SOP`s for the team to ensure the same standard of service.
  • Nurturing customer relationships
  • Ensuring the right person is utilized for the job at hand.

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

During the pandemic our firm evolved as a business. A lockdown was imposed by the government which led us to explore the option of working from home. Zoom & Microsoft Teams were primarily utilized by us for our client meetings. Surprisingly we found it easier to touch base with clients. The time saved on commute/travel or gathering attendees to an agreed location at an agreed city were no longer issues of concern. Remote meetings proved to be more effective and showed us and the clients as well that you could go through lengthy contracts, pleading, opinions etc out of the comfort of your home and save time as well.

Needless to mention we are steadily watching evolution of Artificial Intelligence in law which will have a significant impact on the profession and client services.

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

A state level entity had entered a contract with a foreign lender not realizing that the lender had been provided “step in” rights under the master contract. The foreign entity had couched the same with a reference of a future contract to crystalize the said right. We were able to ensure that the “step in” rights were curbed to the maximum through negotiations in Beijing, China thereby salvaging the relationship and ensuring the project would move ahead.

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

In my opinion local or foreign clients are always looking for a way forward. Simply put the legal practice is no longer just a hand holding exercise as a support function and occasionally lawyers have to take a leadership role i.e. structuring the transaction/project or determining the next course of action in a dispute.

As per the firm I see the same growing in the coming three years. We just started a start-up division for emerging tech companies and recently promoted three Senior Associates to Associate Partners based upon their performance. Needless to mention the firm intends to expand to Southern Punjab in the coming three years.