ARMED WITH BROAD LEADERSHIP EXPERTISE SPANNING OVER 20 YEARS, ABDUL MALIK ANWAR DEEN WAS PREVIOUSLY CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AT A LEADING, INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRM
NON-LEGAL PROFESSIONALS SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO BE AT THE OWNERSHIP TABLE IN ORDER TO BETTER MANAGE LAW FIRMS AND AVOID SCENARIOS WHERE THEY MIGHT NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY OTHER LAWYERS. THIS ALSO ALLEVIATES THE STRESS POINTS WHERE SENIOR PARTNERS NEED TO HOLD KEY ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS COUPLED WITH THE ADDED BURDEN OF RUNNING VIABLE PRACTICES
In an unprecedented move by the equity partners of Oon & Bazul LLP (“Oon & Bazul”), Abdul Malik Anwar Deen (“Malik”), aged 45, incumbent General Manager and Head of Business Development of Singapore’s largest conflict-free law firm, has been invited to equity. Malik previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at a leading, international law firm, and rose through the ranks as analyst and regional head in the energy and tech clusters across Southeast Asia. This is a significant development as it represents a non-legal professional in a management position being elevated to ownership in Singapore where traditionally, only lawyers are equity partners. Other non-legal professionals in Singapore who are equity partners are often patent attorneys or economists.
Malik’s elevation to ownership was conceived by Managing Partner, Bazul Ashhab (“Bazul”), who felt that it was extremely important to send a signal that the future ownership of successful law firms must not only rest with lawyers. If Oon & Bazul is to function efficiently and grow exponentially, non-legal professionals should be entitled to be at the ownership table. This will aid non-legal professionals to manage effective change programs within a law firm and avoid scenarios where they might not be taken seriously by other lawyers. This also alleviates the stress points where senior partners need to hold key administrative positions; coupled with the added burden of running viable practices.
Bazul also feels strongly about the execution of ideas and the benefits this brings to the firm. A meaningful result of this arrangement is that a non-legal professional who is an owner will be in a stronger position to execute these ideas on behalf of the Managing Partner and this will only reap real benefits for the firm. Non-legal professionals also bring different perspectives on the management of law firms and often they have strong experiences across different industries that lawyers can tap on.
Malik supports Bazul in running the legal business on a day to day basis. A good example of this partnership was during the COVID-19 period where through Bazul’s leadership and Malik’s execution, the firm managed to operate efficiently, enjoying minimal technology disruption, whilst enjoying a significant growth in revenue.
The firm has also invested in technologies like tesseract.io and was recently the first firm in Singapore to work with Clarilis, a leading legal automation tool utilised by the top 25 law firms in the UK. This was only possible through a combination of strong leadership, planning and careful execution, a trademark of the working cohesiveness and executive leadership of Bazul and Malik.
Oon & Bazul has grown from 2 lawyers to 60 lawyers in 18 years. The firm has ambitions to extend and flourish significantly over the next three years in Singapore. In November 2020, Oon & Bazul was included in The Straits Times inaugural ranking of “Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2021”. The firm was elected star rating in nine out of 15 categories including 5 stars for its Insolvency & Restructuring and Maritime & Shipping practices. Oon & Bazul was awarded 4 stars for its Banking & Finance, Civil Dispute Resolution (Litigation, Arbitration & Mediation), Company & Commercial, Inheritance & Succession and Private Wealth Management, Manpower & Employment, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Real Estate (Commercial Property, Construction & Funds) practices. Bazul and Malik are available for joint interviews.