Azizur Rahman founded Rahman Ravelli back in 2001 in Halifax. Today, the leading firm of solicitors has offices in London and Birmingham and operates across the globe. BQ found out more about what his day-to-day work includes...
Give us an insight into what you do...
Rahman Ravelli has bases in Halifax, London and Birmingham. We handle large national and international cases for professionals from all walks of life; including business, medicine, sports, science, military and academia. Through recruitment, case direction and strategy, I make sure the client receives the best possible representation. We have an enviable reputation as the best business crime solicitors in Yorkshire and excellent rankings in legal guides for being strong, passionate representatives of those who look to us for help. I develop more ways to build upon that reputation and continue our upward trajectory.
What is it the company does?
Serious and corporate fraud, white-collar crime such as bribery and corruption, regulatory and complex crime and civil recovery are our specialist areas. As a result, we have handled (and won) a number of the largest, most high-profile business crime cases this century. The most recent edition of The Legal 500 called us “unbeatable’’, which was very pleasing.
We defend clients against allegations made by bodies such as the Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency, Financial Conduct Authority, City of London Police and international organisations such as the FBI and SEC. The firm is an acknowledged expert in all aspects of commercial fraud and business crime defence services, including cases involving tax fraud, bribery, international corruption, money laundering and financial crime. Our corporate fraud department is expanding rapidly, as we gain a reputation for strong defence of senior executives. We advise executives, professionals and large organisations on civil fraud, compliance – how to prevent illegality in their workplace – and how to investigate and proceed if they suspect wrongdoing.
The nature, scale and variety of our work means that, at any time, we will be managing tax cases that cross borders and include many investigating agencies, investment fraud allegations spanning continents that involve millions or billions of pounds and bribery investigations that could relate to some of the world’s most significant international deals. At the same time, we will be advising corporates on how to proceed on commercially sensitive matters such as internal investigations and private prosecutions.
Where did you start your career?
Very early in my legal career, I was made a partner at a large, regional law practice. It helped me decide very quickly that I needed to run my own practice. From that point, I worked to make Rahman Ravelli a reality.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A clear goal, a strategy for reaching it, determination and an ability to respond quickly and appropriately if things don’t go to plan. They are probably the main attributes of any good leader.
But you also have to be good at what you do – and what you ask others to do. The Chambers and Partners UK Guide recently said that we “get the right people for the right job and fight very hard’’, which seems a fair summary of great leadership.
Add in people skills, an ability to anticipate things, patience and understanding then I think you’re on your way to greatness. I am proud to all that in my staff when they successfully manage the most notable business crime cases and largest corporate fraud investigations.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
The biggest challenge facing myself and everyone else at Rahman Ravelli is making sure that we do our utmost for our clients so they obtain justice and retain their freedom and their assets. In our field of work, that is the only challenge that matters.
Whether it be high-ranking business executives or senior figures from any profession, our challenge is to put their case for them and tackle the allegations against them. We were successful in defending the UK’s largest investment fraud prosecution, were the first to go to the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights to protect a client’s livelihood and have helped many high-profile figures obtain justice.
Winning every case is our challenge.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
My work is stimulating and varied but not stressful because we have such a good team of people here. But it is good to leave the office, put the gloves on and box.
Whatever your line of work, it’s important to be able to take time for yourself and switch off. So whether it’s reading, watching a film, seeing friends, travelling, diving or just taking it easy for an hour or two, I always feel the benefit of a break.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was growing up, I had no great plan to be a lawyer - or anything else, particularly. But as I reached my teens, I realised that the law appealed to my sense of logic. It was also something that anyone could use – however rich or poor – to stand up for themselves against anything from tyranny to petty bureaucracy. From then onwards, I knew what I wanted to do.
Any pet hates in the workplace?
No, I don’t think so. Life’s too short and I’m a little too busy to be getting wound up about silly little things.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
From now until 2021, I want us to add to the success we have achieved. I think we’ll continue to increase in size and stature. We’ll be taking on even more international work and attracting more large corporations. Our corporate investigations arm is becoming bigger month on month.
If all that continues between now and 2021, I will be happy. But I don’t think it is wise to make big predictions.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Most things are not worth worrying about. If you have a problem, focus on it, tackle it in the best way you can and then accept that you have done all you can. And read the poem “If’’ by Rudyard Kipling; especially the lines about trusting yourself when others may doubt you.
If you are an aspiring business leader, I do believe that you need to think long and hard about what you need to do to make that aspiration a reality.