MUJIR MUNEERUDDIN

PARTNER & HEAD OF

BUSINESS LAW GROUP

Mujir appears in the 

Top 40 Under 40  Magazine

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Mujir Muneeruddin

 

Your career path was unique. Tell us a little bit about your background.

I started my practice during the Great Recession of 2008. In law school, I always thought I would do litigation, but as I moved forward, I realized I enjoyed deal-making, strategizing and the art of structuring and closing deals. I loved transactional work and securities law. A lot of people tried to tell me not to do it, but I got my masters degree in securities, and when I came back to work, the economy was still really bad for associates in that field, so I started to do outsourced due diligence work helping smaller firms, who didn’t have the ability to do it internally, compete with bigger ones. I built my practice from there. Over time, I’ve found this story really resonates with entrepreneurs. I then joined Abrahams LLP about eight years ago.

How did you build your practice, as a new attorney?

It’s hard to start from scratch in this field. When you look at the typical trajectory for securities law practitioners, most start at big Wall Street types. From an industry perspective, securities regulation is a specialized niche usually practiced in a big firm setting, and that’s who clients look to call first. So from a client development perspective, there is a sort of high threshold of trust for people who are not at one of these larger, established downtown firms, to get client work. There’s almost an assumption that only “Big Law” does it. I got my foot in the door by doing outsourced due diligence for smaller practitioners. That required a legal, analytical mind, but not necessarily always a senior (more expensive) one. A lot of times, I found that at the smaller firms, someone who may have had a 40-year background and the rolodex to bring in the work, did not have the time or ability because that senior lawyer was either too “busy” to be bothered or too expensive to justify doing basic due diligence stuff for clients at their higher hourly rate.

The solution I brought to these smaller practitioners was being their “junior associate”, doing the due diligence at a cost-effective rate. This allowed them to better monetize their contacts. Initially, it was pure word-of-mouth. I had mentors across town who referred people to me, which was how I established relationships with clients and got around the obstacle of not having practiced at a large firm. I continued to grow and got more contacts, and it snowballed from there. The growth has been organic. I haven’t done a ton of marketing. I’m now doing some, such as speaking engagements and social media content generation, but in the past, it was really just by focusing on doing great for clients — your best marketing is your product, your service. My focus was always top-notch service and advice. What I found in the legal services industry was that it wasn’t enough to just to know the law – most competent lawyers with any number of years of experience could do that. To be a great lawyer you had to be focused on showing clients how to navigate the law like they did any other obstacle and limitation in their journey.

How does your dual perspective as both entrepreneur and lawyer help your clients?

I think my story resonates with entrepreneurs. There’s a different skill set and tenacity required. There’s a metaphor that I like to use—it’s like crossing a field with land mines. My clients don’t need me to call them and say, “There’s a mine, avoid that field.” They want to be told how to go [through the field], not where not to. They like that I’m cut from the same cloth—I’m business minded, solution-oriented and embrace obstacles. I help people navigate these obstacles not only from just a legal perspective, but a lot of times, coaching them on everything from keeping the right attitude to being strategic. Things are often more tactical than matters of pure legal substance—something like dictating an email for a client can change the dynamics of a negotiation or regulatory hearing way more than a perfectly drafted contract clause or pleading ever could. I think that’s how I’ve tried to distinguish myself: focusing on navigating clients via a very tactically-sensitive approach, while using the law as a medium.  

Tell us about the firm you work for now, Abrahams, LLP, and your role.

The group and partners were practicing in areas where they were servicing a lot of international entrepreneurs. They were looking for someone to build out the business law side of the firm. At that time, in 2012, I had my own practice, and thought the opportunity was a great potential next step in building my own practice. Now, the firm has built into helping entrepreneurs get to the next level, from any stage in the business life cycle.

In my division, we do general corporate, commercial work and have people in different offices that can help with a wide-range of things, but our specialty, and my practice, is more focused on when companies, especially emerging high-growth ones, go to bring in that first round of outside investment. My usual entry point is to come in and help get them ready for that next ever-important stage.

What do you love most about this area of law?

First, it welds together my two passions. I love finance, business, and entrepreneurship, but, also, I was hardwired to be a lawyer and have a passion for law. Second, I’m never bored. I get to experience and deal in various facets, which creates a balance and which allows me to maintain a healthy passion for what I do.

What makes you unique among other attorneys?

I think my story, my background, the approach, and my attitude, and the fact that I am very passionate about what I do. There will always be someone “bigger, stronger, and faster” so to speak, but if you have the passion, you will find a way to grind out and beat your competition. That’s the mentality I’ve always had. I love what I do and obsess over it.

Mujir Muneeruddin

Abrahams, LLP

http://www.abrahamsllp.com/

LinkedIn: Mujir Muneeruddin

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