Aziz Rahman takes the time to explain his working day
When people ask what my typical working day is like, I’m afraid the answer is a simple one: there is no such thing. My work doesn’t allow for any two days to be the same. I place great emphasis on the need for routine and organisation but I have to be prepared to put aside plans and delegate activities at a moment’s notice to ensure I am available if a client has an urgent need for me.
A corporate wrongdoing case can involve a number of agencies or professional bodies, various countries in different time zones and communications from individuals and organisations anywhere in the world at any time of the day – or night. This is why my days (and nights) can be so varied. As an example, a client may contact us urgently if they have been arrested and / or the subject of a dawn raid. This will usually have taken place in the UK but it could have happened in any other country. This requires immediate discussions with both the client and the relevant authorities, regardless of where in the world they are. And when I say client, we can be representing a company, advising the board of the company or an individual; usually a senior business figure. We have a rapid response team in place specifically to manage such situations for clients – and these situations happen frequently. This response gives our clients the robust, specially-tailored representation they have come to expect and has gained us our reputation. But it makes it difficult to describe a “normal’’ day!
One thing that can be depended on is that I will be up early. The alarm will be set for the crack of dawn if I have an early start in the City, am travelling to one of our regional bases or am going to meet a client or one of the agencies that is conducting an investigation that I have an interest in. If it is a day that is down in my diary for not travelling, I may rise a little later. But I will still be at my desk before anyone else. It gives me a chance to stay on top of the administrative side of things before the steady trickle of emails becomes a flood and the phones start ringing. And I can have a quick breakfast at my desk; usually cereal and a green tea if I’m feeling healthy.
If a day in the office turns out to be just that, there will be scheduled meetings and conference calls with those we represent - including advising company boards - and some of Rahman Ravelli’s solicitors; depending where they are at that particular time and what issues or developments need to be addressed. Such days can be as structured and as routine as anyone else’s working day at their desk. Lunch can be a sandwich bought nearby or, if I have had a meeting, some outside catering that has been arranged for us.
Any day I’m in the office will always involve get-togethers with the solicitors who are there and phone calls to those who are elsewhere. One of the most important aspects of any case is the development of tactics and strategy. A lot of time is spent with colleagues and / or our specialist counsel, devising the most appropriate strategy for a case, agreeing the best steps to take to execute that strategy and thinking ahead to anticipate the possible responses from the other parties in the case. Whether it is a global corporate investigation case or a cross-border dispute involving matters such as, to name some examples, asset tracing, freezing orders or unexplained wealth orders, the importance of the right tactics cannot be over-emphasised. That is ingrained in all our lawyers. We make sure that our approach is always carefully considered and carried out.
I take the time to ensure clients are fully informed regarding what is happening. I explain anything they may be unfamiliar with and do what I can to ensure they do not feel under pressure. The importance of keeping a client in the picture regarding what is, after all, their case means that I seldom cancel phone calls or conference calls with them, regardless of where I have had to go at short notice.
As you may have gathered, any working day of mine is subject to change. Routine days at the office rarely follow the timetable. A development in a case or a new case coming to Rahman Ravelli can see me flying abroad (maybe with a colleague or two) to meet an existing or new client in order to micro-manage the challenges that their case presents. This is how it often is with the type of cases we handle. Things happen at a moment’s notice that require immediate attention. The plans can change at any time.
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of organisation and coordination. If I do have to, as the saying goes, drop everything then I make sure nothing is actually dropped. My colleagues are adept at working with me to manage matters that I was scheduled to handle. Delegating things to them is never a problem. As I’ve said, we are rigorous in our planning and strategising – and our strategies take into account the possibility of the sudden or unexpected occurring.
We would never claim to be able to predict everything that could happen with a case yet we can certainly assess and determine the possibilities. But being able to predict how any working day is likely to unfold is one prediction that we would never dare make.