You are a prominent corporate lawyer and very active in providing guidance and assistance to novices and start-ups. For the uninitiated, please shed light on your work and tell us about your success story. I am Lawyer and founder of Dominus Law Firm, based in Lahore with offices in Karachi and Islamabad as well. Our main area of expertise is Intellectual Property Laws, Company Laws, Contract Laws, Taxation Laws and Civil Litigation. We provide legal services to start-ups and new entrepreneurs who are either planning to enter the market or are already established but looking for legal consultancy. Our services our required during the initial setting up stage, during the operations or either at the time of winding up or liquidation of our clients’ businesses. We give legal advice to our clients regarding the formation of their businesses, for example, we make an assessment of the type of business a client intends to engage in, the capital that they are investing, whether there are more than one initial investors or whether they are planning to add investors at a later stage, what are the income tax, sales tax and federal tax implications, are there employees or vendors or other third party stake holders, what are the products or services they are offering ad how to protect their IPs (brands, logos, domains etc). We then draw up an action plan for our clients which may include services for business registrations, NOCs or Licenses from Government Departments, Agreements between Founders or Investors, Employee documentation and legal writing along with Trademark registrations of their commercial IPs. I graduated from the University of London in 2015, and I started my legal practice by interning for a Law Firm and spent my initial years learning the art of Litigation in the Civil Courts located at the Awan-e-Adal Lahore. At this stage, I developed an interest in Contract Writing and Intellectual Property Laws. In 2017, I was employed as an Associate at another Law Firm in Lahore that dealt mostly in Taxation related matters and it was there that I learnt how daunting Tax Laws and Government Compliances can be especially for Startups with limited Capitals or Fundings, Capital they would rather be spending on their operations than legal compliances. In 2019, I started my own practice by offering legal services to Startups and new entrepreneurs, at little to no fees but mostly in exchange for referrals and by 2020, I founded Dominus Law Firm and have been working full time with my Firm since then. We have Clients working with us in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and many other cities across Pakistan. We are working Service Providers, Retailers, Wholesalers, Manufacturers and Non-Profit Organizations and we also have a portfolio of International Clients who have contracted us for Legal Writing, Vetting and Review of Contracts and Agreements. The Advancement of the Internet has made research, client documentation, meetings and electronic filings very easy and we have taken full advantage of the Internet in order to expand the scope of our services. How big a part has your education played in shaping you up as a professional? My educational background has played a huge part in my Profession. I am a Law Graduate from the University of London and before that I did my A Levels and O Levels from Cambridge University, so naturally, my writing and research skills along with my vocabulary were honed from a very young age and I believe this is was enabled me to excel in Legal Drafting and speak with confidence when meeting with clients both physically and virtually. What kind of problems and challenges do clients come to you with? Are you always able to assist them? During my tenure of my legal practice, I have observed some similar problems and challenges that clients come to me with. The most common cases involve non delivery or incomplete delivery of work or products that my clients paid a third party for. In such cases there is usually a lack of proper documentation like a contract or even a lack of proper KYC/KYB (Know your customer / know your business), this becomes a challenge for us as due to non-availability of any written Agreements, it becomes difficult for us to seek out the impeaching party, however it is our job to meet the challenge and we work with the material we have on hand plus our research leads to us taking the appropriate action to mitigate the loss of the Client. This may involve taking legal actions against the third party through the appropriate Courts but my main concern is to advise the Client on how to deal with third party vendors and independent contractors by executing formal Agreements in writing so that future incidents may be avoided. Another common case involves either a third party passing off or infringing a Client’s IP (Domains, Brands, Logos, Business Names etc) or a client who has received a Legal Notice for Passing Off or Infringement. In the former case, we take the appropriate action by sending a legal notice to the infringing party to cease and desist the use of the mark and further actions if required, However, in the latter case, we make an assessment of our Client’s Mark and the third-party Mark and advise the Client accordingly. The challenge occurs when our client refused to alter the mark or give up use of the mark and we meet the challenge by defending our client’s use of the mark in the appropriate Courts. Again, my main concern is to educate the client on fair market practices and to always apply for a Trademark Search at the Trademark Registry to ascertain whether their proposed mark has already been registered or applied by anyone else. In this day and age of social media and fast paced online marketplaces, due diligence is required when selecting a brand, logo, domain or mark in order to avoid legal battles at a later stage which may eventually lead to high costs of rebranding. Did the pandemic affect your work in any way? The coronavirus pandemic had an effect on a global level and it certainly did affect our work as well. Since the majority of our clients are small and medium sized businesses, many of our clients had a difficult time managing their operations and sales. This ultimately led to our clients having to reduce costs in order to survive this difficult time. We decided to offer services at very minimum rates and also reduced our retainer fees, even going so far as to offer services for free to our clients who were struggling the most. We drafted and got executed; new employment agreements and helped our clients to legally adopt the “work from home” model for their employees. We also worked with numerous clients engaged with other legal teams to renegotiate the terms and conditions of third-party Agreements in order to keep business relations preserved. Since most of the government departments had already shifted to electronic filings, we faced very little difficulty in making compliances for our clients. The most significant affect the pandemic had on our work was the shift from physical stores to online market or ecommerce. Since the pandemic led to a huge decrease in physical sales, many of our clients who owned small businesses needed to close their establishments as they could no longer afford to pay rents or even pay salaries to their employees. We worked closely with the HR personnel to ensure employees are let go without any legal ramifications and also helped our clients to legally adopt the ecommerce models for their businesses. How did you bounce back? By 2022, the world saw a significant decrease in Covid-19 related cases and thankfully, things gradually started getting back to normal. Our Firm dedicated our time during the pandemic in helping our clients to mitigate their financial losses in any way we could. Our clients greatly appreciated the fact that we ignored the need to collect fees for our services and showed genuine concern for them during the difficult time. I believe that the efforts we put in is what ultimately led us to bounce back as we saw a significant increase in new clients who were referred by our current clients. The credit for this goes to the hard-working team of Dominus Law who showed immense loyalty and dedication. What are you currently working on? Currently, we are working on a number of projects, the most significant of which include a major manufacturing and export unit based in Karachi who have contracted us to perform multiple trademark related jobs for their products and drafting and negotiating Agreements with their international buyers. We are also working with a major Information Technology Company also based in Karachi to revamp and update their employee related documentation as well as their ownership structure. I am also currently in talks with some Organizations and Groups for conducting sessions for promoting awareness of legal requirements and compliances of various laws for new startups and entrepreneurs. How rewarding is your work? My work involves me meeting and corresponding with professionals and government officials. I have had the opportunity to work with aspiring entrepreneurs, HR Professionals, Chartered Accountants, Auditors, other Legal Practitioners, Engineers, Doctors, Architects, IT Professionals, Property Consultants and Business Owners. I have engaged with Government officials of various departments that include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Intellectual Property Organization, the Federal Board of Revenue, Labour Department, Chamber of Commerce, Excise, Pakistan Software Export Board, Drug Regulation Authority and other various departments. I have always strived to make the most of my engagements by building my personal relations and extracting the most knowledge I can from these engagements. My work is still at its infancy and I learn new things every day and create opportunities for myself by keeping up with the market speed. A new client is not an opportunity to get paid rather it is an opportunity to learn, invest and assist and at the end of the day the work performed to the complete satisfaction of the client is the best reward. What according to you has been your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement so far has been a case that involved my client procuring international funding of 1 Million Dollars for his IT based project and successfully launching it. I call this my biggest achievement so far as this case allowed me to work closely with lawyers representing different venture capitalists from different countries and draft legal instruments with them. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about Tech Law, FinTech, Smart Contracts, Equity and international rules and regulations and this case opened new doors for me and motivated me to continue my work. Who influenced you the most to pursue your current line of work? I had always been indecisive about my career prospects but my father, who suffered the same dilemma, always advised me to increase my PR, not to segregate myself to a single group of individuals and to engage with confidence and belief in my capabilities. I took this advice to heart and decided to pursue a career in law. I started Dominus Law Firm from the ground up and my resilience and confidence is what led to people with much more authority and influence to attach themselves with me and their word of mouth is what ultimately led to me succeeding with my venture.