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LexTalk World Talk Show with Dr. Abdulhafeez Osman, General Legal Counsel at Shomoul Holding Company



Dr. Abdulhafeez Osman, holds a PHD degree in law from Al Neelain University, Sudan in 2022. In addition, Dr. Osman is holding Master’s degree in Commercial Law and Master’s degree in Translation (Arabic- English).


Dr. Osman started his career in 1991 as a lawyer before all courts in Khartoum, Sudan until 1998, when he moved to Saudi Arabia to work in a law firm as a legal advisor and translator until 2000. In June 2000, he moved to work as a legal advisor and translator at King Abdulaziz Port – Dammam until December 2004. In 2001, he joined Al-Fozan Group, one of the major family businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a general legal counsel. He spent ten (10) years with Al-Fozan Group and let the Group in January 2015 to join Al-Naghi Group, which consider as the major automotive agent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with more than ten (10) car brands, in the position of the Group Executive Legal Director. He spent one (1) year with Al-Naghi Group to return once again to Al-Fozan Group in 2016 as a general legal counsel for Shomoul Holding Company, a joint venture company between Alshaya Group, which considered as one of the major retailer companies in the Middle East, and Al-Fozan Holding Company.


Dr. Osman has over 30 years in litigation, arbitration, corporate law, real estate development, property management, investment, international contracts construction contracts (FIDIC Forms of Contracts) , board of directors secretary and legal translation.


Interview:


Host: What are the different challenges and opportunities that you have or had faced while working in this field?


Abdulhafeez: At the beginning of my career as a junior advocate before courts in my home country (Sudan), it was very hard to attend court hearing alone and represent clients without any help from any person, the matter which encouraged me to develop the related skills for address the courts and other public gatherings. Further, when I moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it wasn't easy to start dealing with new legal system and different job description and responsibilities, but it gave me the opportunity to enhance my office work skills. When I moved to work with Al-Fozan Holding Company, one of the major family businesses in KSA, I faced some difficulties because of the wide range of the company's business, but it motivated me to obtain the Masters degree in the Commercial Law to overcome such difficulties.


Host: What kind of solutions would you like to advise others, especially those who want to take up this profession?


Abdulhafeez: As a corporate lawyer, I would advise others who want to take up this profession to study the business of your company carefully before providing any legal opinion on any of the commercial or technical issues, and to discuss the draft of your legal opinion with the technical and commercial team before issuing the final legal opinion. Further, the corporate lawyer should consider himself as a business partner rather than a mere lawyer.


Host: Relating to your experience in this field, have you worked on any essential projects?


Abdulhafeez: Sure. I worked with many essential projects in the different field of law. As I have participated in the establishment of more than 150 new companies in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman, and converting more than 10 companies legal entity from limited liability companies to closed joint stock companies (CJSC), in addition to the conversion of two companies from CJSC to joint stock companies.

Further, I have participated in the financing and the construction of more than three real estate projects with amounts of more than ten (10) Billions USD.


Host: The pandemic saw some courts begin moving towards more remote proceedings and availability. Is this sustainable, and a possible way to increase access to justice, in your opinion?


Abdulhafeez: I strongly believe that courts remote proceedings are not increasing access to justice. As appearing before the courts is more suitable for achieving justice, by enabling the judge to observe the behaviour of the parties and allow the lawyers to present their cases perfectly and exchange the experience with the courts and other lawyers.


Host: In the era of legal technology, what are the most commonly used tools for you?


Abdulhafeez: In the era of communication technology, mastering the use and dealing with the various means of communication technology becomes one of the necessities that a lawyer must be familiar with in order to communicate with all relevant parties.

In the business, I used to communicate with others in writing via email, where I exchanged messages containing legal documents and discussing the pending issues. Further, I am using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype to hold video meetings. As for other communications with the business community, I communicate through LinkedIn and other social media such as WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. In the field of legal research, I use Google. However, for managing and following up the existing cases of the company before courts and at other competent authorities, I am using the assigned websites for courts, and relevant ministries and other governmental departments.


No doubt that the legal community has benefited from the communications technology revolution, which contributed effectively in the facilitation of communication between the various parties, exchanging knowledge, the matter which helped in shortening the time and efforts that were being made in the past.

 

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