Five minutes with ... Munir Suboh, partner at Taylor Wessing
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career
Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s new series, ‘Five minutes with’, where we learn more about IP lawyers on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Munir Suboh, partner at Taylor Wessing in Dubai.
Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?
I will proudly and happily answer that I am an intellectual property and media attorney.
Talk us through a typical working day.
I always start the day early with exercise or personal training classes, then I'll sit down and enjoy some breakfast time chatting with my kids and wife before heading to work. At work, each day is different depending on the tasks we have, but generally we solve new challenges while celebrating success we achieve as a team. After a hard day of work, I'll go home and spend the rest of the day with my family. When possible, I spare one or two days per week to hang out with friends, clients or connections in the evening to exchange thoughts and stories from our daily lives.
What are you working on at the moment? Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?
Settling down at my new home, Taylor Wessing Middle East as I've just joined the team recently. My main priority during this period is to ensure clients' interests are protected and maintained, and also getting to know partners and wider team members across 28 offices from all over the world, which is very exciting and something I'm looking forward to.
Usually, I cover a mix of both handling big projects and juggling multiple tasks. I think it’s in the nature of IP and media practice to have the flexibility and diversification of responsibilities and be able to move between matters, questions, emails and to prioritise urgent work that pops in, whilst dedicating time to focus on big projects. As a partner, I need to ensure that the team is working smoothly with support until the final submission, document or advice is properly finalised and shared.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful?
To me, being an IP and media attorney is in itself exciting because I love what I am doing, and I try to enjoy every task, case, problems and opportunities that come my way. External factors such as corporate culture, clients, and colleagues also play a significant role in determining lawyers' passion to work and ultimately their excitement in their role, which is why I decided to join Taylor Wessing as I believe this is where I can be excited about my role.
Nothing makes me more stressful than seeing discriminatory, irresponsible behaviour. As lawyers, we are approached by clients to handle the most sensitive and important elements of human life, such as wealth, freedom, and liberty among other personal rights. We are expected to act with care and handle the same responsibly and fairly.
Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer.
Experience and knowledge are important, but what sets a successful IP lawyer apart is the ability to multitask and be flexible, such as adopting innovative solutions in handling matters as some of the subjects IP lawyers deal with are at the forefront of innovation. In addition, being part of the international IP community and supporting activities and causes led by international organisations, such as INTA, AIPPI and many others, is one of the key elements to make an IP lawyer successful as you stay on top of all the latest developments in the industry and make connections globally.
What is the most common misconception about IP?
This varies between regions; in the Middle East and North Africa, the most common misconception is the impression that IP services generally mean the registration of intangible assets. The inability to understand IP leads to misconceptions by business owners, particularly SMEs, on the importance of IP to the community and businesses as something that can be disregarded.
What or who inspires you?
Many people inspired me personally and professionally such as family members, law school professors and others as I always focus on people's strengths and learn from their success stories. One person who particularly stood out is the late John Whitehead (1960-2022), Group General Counsel to MBC Group for more than 27 years, who I had the chance to work with for more than 12 years as external counsel to the group. He positively improved my career development, supported my ambition, and stood firmly for fairness and equality. John made a great impact on his team, colleagues, and the entire legal community and many of the leading lawyers in the region will remain grateful to his contributions for decades.
If you weren’t an IP lawyer, what would you be doing?
A pilot for sure! I might look to take some classes in the future when I have the time to.
Any advice you would give your younger self?
Don’t look back because you are not heading that way. Every situation or incident is valuable, even the hard ones and especially the hard ones, so learn from it and carry on.