“I didn’t think I would struggle so much to find a job after graduation.”
Hamdan AlShamsi, Founder and Managing Partner at Hamdan AlShamsi Lawyers & Legal Consultants, found himself struggling to find a job when he graduated with a law degree amid the financial crisis of 2008.
The 37-year-old was convinced by his elder sister, who is also a lawyer, to get into the profession. “I grew up in Dubai, did my schooling here, and then graduated from University of Warwick (UK)," AlShamsi told Gulf News on the sidelines of the 'Doing Business in the UAE' seminar on Tuesday.
The Emirati entrepreneur ultimately found a job with renowned UAE-based legal firm Al Tamimi & Company. He then joined Abu Dhabi-based investment mammoth Mubadala in their infrastructure division.
Starting out as a freelancer
The path to entrepreneurship for AlShamsi started with a stint as a freelance consultant but soon he decided to set up a firm. In 2011, the lawyer started his own company in Dubai and as to why he decided to incorporate the practice, AlShamsi said “It was a simple point – I needed to bill clients and people didn’t necessarily feel comfortable receiving bills from a personal capacity.”
“Today, we are at 35 employees, with over 20 lawyers,” AlShamsi said. The company deals with all major aspects of the law from family law and litigation to business law and company formation. As Managing Partner, AlShamsi added that he deals with all aspects of the business with a focus on litigation.
Speaking about the latest laws issued by the UAE on family businesses AlShamsi commented, “There has to be education for the family members before the actual succession or before someone passes away. The focus should be on the interest of the business and not the interests of individuals, and to avoid disputes with other family members.”
Family businesses in the UAE make up 90 per cent of the private sector. Since many of these corporations were founded in the 1950s and 1960s, a generational shift is expected over the decade – and this is why the government has amped up regulations and launched initiatives to support the succession process in these firms.
A word of advice
AlShamsi advised aspiring entrepreneurs to not waste time and to avoid disputes with employees and/or partners. He, however, felt that starting a business was not the only path to being successful.
He explained, “Become valuable, that would be my advice. You can become valuable in a company, grow in that company, lead that company – so get all the knowledge to become valuable to your organisation or your clients, or to people in general – that is the key.”
AlShamsi loves sailing, he said, and most recently sailed across the South Atlantic sea.
“It was a bucketlist item, and sailing is something I intend to continue enjoying.”
The entrepreneur added that he stays active with sports including basketball, tennis and football.