The Counsel

interview wih Ijaz Ahmed & Associates

What are your education and professional qualifications?
I have done my LLB from the Punjab University Law College, Lahore, followed by a Masters in Urdu literature, however, the latter qualification was without formal instruction. Thereafter, I attended the University of London for an LLM at  the School of Oriental and African Studies. This was after I had been offered scholarship and after I had practised for a few years.
As for professional qualifications, I have recently applied membership for the Supreme Court Bar Association and am also a member of the Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Sindh High Court Bar Association.
I have also participated in SAARC Law forum and regional forums such as the Asia Pacific Jurist Association.
I joined Zafar Law Associates in 1992 (headed by Mr. S.M. Zafar), which was later renamed as Mandviwala & Zafar Law Associates (M&Z). 

What got you interested in the legal profession as a young man?
My becoming a lawyer was purely by accident. I have no family connections in the legal profession as my father was a soldier and my grandfather was a farmer. Initially my father objected to my career choice as he was of the view that lawyers lied for a living.  But I eventually persuaded him that this is not the case as lawyers, like all other professionals, have a choice to do the right thing. Read more here...

interview wih Saira Nishtar
General Counsel and Company Secretary, ICI Pakistan Limited

What are your education and professional qualifications and work experience?
It has been 11 years since I completed my LLM from University of Cambridge.  Having achieved a Gold Medal and highest marks ever in the history of Peshawar University during my LLB, I was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Cambridge and completed my LLM in 1999. I also studied a Public International Law Course at the Hague Academy of International Law in the Summer of 2004.
My work before ICI involved working for international law firms such Fulbright and Jaworski and Afridi and Angell and local firms of repute such as Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim & Co.  However, my first experience as in-house was as Legal Advisor to NEPRA from 2002 to 2004.  I have also worked at the University of Peshawar where I helped to set up a Human Rights Studies Centre affiliated with the University of Oslo as well as having lectured at the University of Oslo. I have been with ICI for over 2 years now as General Counsel and have recently been appointed Company Secretary as well.

You are amongst the highly respected Chief Law Officers (CLOs) in the industry. There is a perception that CLOs are ‘business persons’ providing legal services to their companies. How accurate is this description?
The perception that General Counsels are business persons providing legal services is generally held by private legal practitioners. Businesses on the other hand, generally perceive in-house counsels as lawyers and not much else. However a good in-house counsel is one who serves business interests while being a sanity check for the over-exuberant businessman. Lawyers by training are risk averse and successful business persons are generally risk-takers. Successful in-house counsel must therefore be able to balance both. Read more here...