Afshin Hakim has the broad range of legal experience that is absolutely necessary to be an exceptional transactional attorney. Mr. Hakim has been trained in top tier international firms, both as a litigator and a corporate attorney, and has served as General Counsel of a privately held company. His clients have ranged from startups to publicly traded international companies, in industries including technology, fashion, real estate, consumer goods, and professional services.
What should you look for in a transactional attorney? Simple – broad range of experience. While there are basic overarching tenets to every contract or business transaction, there are always nuances that can be crucial to the outcome of a negotiated contract. What may seem like a boilerplate provision on the last page of a contract at the outset may well be turn out to be one of the material terms of the contract when a dispute arises. How does one spot and negotiate these key terms that may seem innocuous to the untrained attorney? Again – the answer is experience. Experience is important not just relating to how long an attorney has been in practice, but the various areas of practice that attorney has been involved in. Again, contrary to today’s focus of the niche specialty areas, which have their place in the law, a formidable transaction lawyer typically has practiced in various areas of the law. For instance, a transactional lawyer who has litigation experience, will know the importance of choice of law and venue provisions, or whether an arbitration provision is in the best interest of the client under the circumstances. A well versed contract lawyer should also have strong writing skills that will help alleviate as much ambiguity in a contract as possible so that if a dispute arises many years later, the parties have a clear understanding as to their rights, obligations, and remedies. A strong transactional lawyer will also have the ability to pinpoint business issues that the parties have failed to address as part of their contract negotiations. Once again, in addition to skill and education, experience is the differentiating factor when it comes to drafting a solid business contract.