apply for vacationplacements, but I was behind the curve. I went to a few interviews and, looking back, my answerswere sooff themark, I hadnext tonocommercial understanding.” Not allowing that toholdhimback though, Mohammed took a year out toget somework experience “so I could learn tobemorepolished – something they didn’t really teachme at school.” Taking control of a law career Mohammed’snewlygainedofficeexperience proved invaluable.Hewent to theCollege (now University) of Lawandapplied for a training contract andwasofferedaplaceatDavies& Partnerswithadmission for thesameyear. “That washowI startedmy legal career,with that training contract –and I remember usingLawCareers.Net for allmymanyapplications.” Once the training contract was completed, Mohammed went to work for Gowling. “I really enjoyed the experience, but I found it very difficult being a full-time carer along with long office hours. My brother required support during the night and it really had an impact on how I functioned the following day.” The firmwas very good about his personal circumstances and offered Mohammed the opportunity to take time out or work part time, but he chose instead to move to Shakespeare Martineau on a four-day basis with shorter working hours, so that he could continue to care for his brother. “To be honest, I found part- time working a bit of a struggle. Now that I am an employer myself, I recognise the struggle in others and relate to those on part-time working patterns with responsibilities outside work.” Mohammed inevitably ended up working on his day off, but it gave him time to think about what it was that he wanted to do with his career. “I amMuslim and I had some difficulties being involved in certain transactions, for example, I was volunteered to work on a pub refinance transaction. I was really uncomfortable with this, but I never had the courage to say so.” As a “good Muslim boy”
Theterm‘Islamicfinance’referstoasystem ofbankingthatisconsistentwithsharialaw. In particular, interestisprohibited,asisinvestingin businessesconsideredunlawful,suchasthose whichtradeinporkoralcohol.AlthoughIslamic financewasinitiallyimportantpredominantly tocommercialfirmswithinterestsintheoil-rich countriesoftheMiddleEast, itisnowapractice areaineverymajorinternationalfirm.Banks, financial institutions,sovereignsandcorporates worldwidestilltakeagreatinterestintraditional IslamicfinancemarketssuchasMalaysia, theUnitedArabEmiratesandSaudiArabia, buttherearealsosignificantIslamicfinancial centresinLondon,HongKongandSingapore. This,combinedwiththegrowthofIslamic financethroughoutAsiaandAfrica, isleadingto anincreasedneedforlawyerswhounderstand Islamicfinance. The sonof aKashmiri immigrant to theUnited Kingdom, MohammedSaqubwas raisedamong humble surroundings inBirmingham. Hedidn’t really knowwhat hewanted todoafter sixth form, but at thebackof hismindwas the idea that he’d like togo toCambridge. Lawwas really an afterthought: “I went touniversitywithout any real experience; all I knewabout the lawwas from movies like MyCousinVinny and TheFirm .” But it provednobarrier andMohammedwas the first of his family tograduate fromuniversity. Work experience After completinghis lawdegree, he returned home toBirmingham, “partly because that’s where I’mfrom, andpartly tocontinue tohelp care formy brother.” Lookingback, Mohammed realises that although he hadbeen his brother’s carer froma young age, it waswhen he returned fromuniversity tocare for himduring this second phase that he really began to findhimself. “I consideredmyself fortunate that I was in a position tocare, as it gavemepurpose – having purpose has been at the centreofmy approach to law. On returning toBirmingham, I was unemployed and foundmyself at the jobcentre – I didn’t really knowwhat else todo. I knew I had to
For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.
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