Maha Bin Hendi re­veals just how much can be packed into a bou­tique law prac­tice, and the sim­ple, but ef­fec­tive method of mak­ing it all work

Villa 88 - - Contents -

Maha Bin Hendi talks law and open­ing a bou­tique firm in d3

“OUR COUN­TRY HAS AL­WAYS TREATED women with the ut­most re­spect and we are equal in all pro­fes­sional fields,” says Maha Bin Hendi, a UK- and Us-ed­u­cated lawyer who runs her own law firm. “My driv­ing force for open­ing my own firm was the fact that I did not see enough fe­males want­ing to be in­volved in this ca­reer.”

Her or­ga­ni­za­tion, Maha Bin Hendi Law Firm, is the first es­tab­lished law firm that op­er­ates out of Dubai De­sign Dis­trict (d3). The firm han­dles le­gal mat­ters re­lated to a wide range of in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing fash­ion and art, em­ploy­ment, dis­pute res­o­lu­tion, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, bank­ing and fi­nance, and real es­tate. Maha Bin Hendi Law Firm is as­so­ci­ated with firms in the United King­dom (Lon­don) and in the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia (Riyadh and Jed­dah).

How­ever, de­spite such an ex­ten­sive bou­quet, Maha’s team is small. “We op­er­ate as a bou­tique law firm,” she elab­o­rates. “Our aim is to grow or­gan­i­cally with the right can­di­dates. I be­lieve in qual­ity rather than quan­tity.”

Maha Bin Hendi was one of the first batch of stu­dents to re­ceive the EDAAD schol­ar­ship from His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice-pres­i­dent of the UAE. She com­pleted her Bach­e­lor’s de­gree in law from the Uni­ver­sity of West­min­ster and her Master’s in law from Ford­ham Uni­ver­sity, New York. Her goal is for her firm to be “well-sea­soned in the fields that are of­ten ne­glected by le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

To achieve this, her meth­ods are sim­ple, but ef­fec­tive: “We have devel­oped a sys­tem at Maha Bin Hendi Law Firm: ‘ You teach me yours and I will teach you mine’,” she says. “We work to­gether on cases that may be un­fa­mil­iar to one of us, and come out with more knowl­edge than be­fore, ben­e­fit­ting our­selves and our fu­ture clients. What makes us dif­fer­ent is our will­ing­ness to aban­don set strate­gies that sim­ply no longer work in our day and age.”

Un­der­stand­ing the client is para­mount, par­tic­u­larly given their ever-chang­ing needs. “Any­one can know the law, many can ap­ply it well, but to ad­e­quately strate­gize for our clients, we im­merse our­selves in their busi­ness in or­der to best rep­re­sent them,” she ex­plains. “That is why it is im­por­tant that we use our ex­pe­ri­ence for our clients’ suc­cess.”

She also knows that adopt­ing new tech­nol­ogy is im­por­tant. “Lawyers must find a way to make use of cer­tain tech­nolo­gies, es­pe­cially when it comes to deal­ing with clients and their le­gal is­sues,” she notes. “In­no­va­tion is key. If lawyers slack off on deal­ing with these changes, it will be dif­fi­cult for them to sur­vive with to­day’s gen­er­a­tion.”

Two such emerg­ing ar­eas are fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy – ‘fin­tech’ – and blockchain, which are fields the firm plans to gain ex­per­tise in, thanks to one of her team mem­bers who has ex­ten­sive knowl­edge in IT, me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tion prac­tices in the UK and Europe. This would be es­pe­cially cru­cial given Dubai’s plans of be­com­ing a smart city as per its Vi­sion 2021. Two other niche ar­eas Maha’s firm spe­cial­izes in in­clude art and fash­ion; they work reg­u­larly with artists, de­sign­ers, haute cou­ture la­bels and lux­ury goods busi­nesses to help them with in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, brand pro­tec­tion and li­cens­ing.

With an eye to the fu­ture, Maha plans to ex­pand her firm’s of­fer­ings: “We have so many emerg­ing mar­kets that re­quire le­gal con­sul­tancy. Within five years, I hope Maha Bin Hendi Law Firm is able to cater to their needs,” she as­serts. “I want to con­tinue to pro­vide qual­ity to my clients, with pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ethics, and be­come a prom­i­nent, re­spected or­ga­ni­za­tion amongst my peers.” Maha Bin Hendi Law Firm +971 4 2405888

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