Sarah Malik, the CEO and International Disputes Counsel of SOL International Ltd, tells us how she started her career journey and where her company is going. With over 23 years of experience as Counsel, Sarah is leading her company towards immense growth. Started in 2018, SOL International Ltd is a multi-award-winning law firm, and Sarah was awarded “Litigator of the Year 2022” at the GCC Women In Law Awards, as well as receiving an honorable mention as “Law Firm Leader of The Year.” Learn more about Sarah Malik’s entrepreneurship journey and the business pathway of SOL International Ltd through the interview below.
Starting The Journey
We asked, “Which career path led you to where you are today?”
She said, “From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. From the age of seven, I loved public speaking and debating, and I was always very outspoken and opinionated. The natural path was to become an advocate.”
We were also curious about the idea behind SOL International Ltd, so we asked Sarah, “What inspired you to develop the idea for your company?”
“I saw a niche in the market for a boutique legal consultancy set up which provided the same commitment to excellence but with an innovative, disruptive, and forward-thinking ethos,” says Sarah.
Business Priorities & Challenges
Every business has its priority. We wanted to know how it is for SOL International LTD. So we asked Sarah, “How have your priorities in terms of business evolved since you first started?”
She continues, “As a start-up, the foundation is key in having the right systems and people in place. Thereafter business development, recognition, and interaction with external and internal stakeholders are vital. Consistency, reliability, commitment, and transparency are key priorities in our business.”
Different businesses have different types of challenges. So, we further asked, “What are the most challenging situations your company overcomes?”
“We overcame the COVID pandemic successfully. During the pandemic, we left our offices and worked remotely. We were fortunate and able to hire and increase salaries and retain all the workforce in difficult circumstances.” she says.
What’s the key strength to overcome it?
Sarah added, “Teamwork, openness, trust, collaboration, and everybody working towards the same goal.”
Factors Adding To The Uniqueness
We further asked, “What makes your company stand out from all the other businesses in your industry?”
“We are disruptive and often say out loud what others only think. We challenge norms of what lawyers should be like. I have never been afraid to voice my opinion and say things others might find controversial. I believe in having a voice and standing alone if need be but speaking with conviction. We are not afraid of telling clients exactly how it is and often tell them what they don’t want to hear. We keep it real and authentic and provide more than just a legal service. We are vested in our clients’ matters.” said Sarah Malik.
Key Performance Indicators & Business Plans
What KPIs do you use to measure your business success?
She added, “Team growth, well-being, success, external and internal reputation.”
When we asked Sarah to share about her services and what her company is working on, she continued:
“We are a boutique dispute resolution practice, working on high profile litigation matters within the UAE and internationally, and also in international arbitration. We also provide advice to ultra high net-worth clients and have an offering in sports, fashion, and entertainment law. We train Academies, common judiciary, arbitration centers, and governments worldwide in various disciplines.
Voice Of the Team
Along with tackling challenges, changing priorities, and business ideas, teamwork is also essential in a business. To know more about the teamwork in Sarah’s company, we asked her, “How do you build trust with your employees and boost productivity without causing burnout?”
She continues, “Openness, transparency, communication, everybody has a voice, and everybody brings something to the table, trust and a fun working environment. The team works together and has each other’s back, further strengthening productivity. We work as one and not against each other.”
Adapting To Technology & Advice For Beginners
Currently, technology is leading the modern world. More and more businesses are adapting to technology to align with market trends and grow exponentially. In this regard, we asked Sarah, “How do you stay on top of new technologies and trends in your industry?”
She continues, “We are proactive and always look for innovation. We act as external GC for international tech companies and explore ideas that some lawyers might think are impossible, such as metaverse, NFTs, and the effect they have on the legal landscape. We like to learn, we stay ahead of the game, and our disruptive nature means we are often at the forefront of different ways of doing things. We adapt to changes quickly, and we take on board what the future will look like for both lawyers and clients.”
Lastly, we asked, “What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?”
“If you have a dream or passion, follow it. Do not let anybody tell you, ‘You can’t do it.’ Start small and grow organically. Keep an eye on your overheads. Always do what you say and say what you do. Never break trust with your stakeholders. Integrity, delivery, and reputation are everything. Be authentic, be yourself, and believe in yourself. Surround yourself with the right people who believe in you, and ensure you are all on the same page with the same ethos where you assist and celebrate each other. Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone,” she concluded.
Connect with Sarah Malik on LinkedIn.
Find SOL International LTD on LinkedIn and Instagram.