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Legal Award 2015
• Partner, Ashurst, 2013 to date
• Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, 2010-13
• Solicitor, England and Wales, 2002
• Legal Practice Course, College of Law, 1998
• Common Professional Examination, College of Law, 1997
• MA (Joint Hons), University of Glasgow, 1996
• Highers and GCSEs, Lochgelly High School, Fife, Scotland, 1990 and 1991 (State School)
Hammad is one of a very small number of British (South) Asians to have become a partner at one of the leading global law firms. Significantly, in 2010 during the height of the global financial crisis and when he was only 35 years old, Hammad was promoted to partner at leading international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills.
Hammad is now a senior partner in Ashurst's award winning and market leading corporate department in London. Ashursts is ranked number eight by Legal Week UK Top 50 law firms.
Hammad specialises in advising financial institutions, principally insurance companies and private banks, on significant complex transactions such as disposals, acquisitions and reorganisations.
In recent years he has advised on some of the most significant transactions in the market. Notably, he led the Ashurst team that advised Royal London on a £22 billion reorganisation of its life insurance business in late 2013 to the end of 2014. This was the biggest and most complex such transaction in the UK in recent years. In this case, Hammad and his team were responsible for persuading the UK courts to make a decision on a matter that had been unresolved for decades and which others were reluctant to argue. The UK courts were fully supportive of his arguments and endorsed them by ruling favourably which was an unprecedented result.
This significant achievement has been widely acknowledged – earlier this year Hammad and his team were shortlisted for the The Legal Business 'Insurance Team of the Year' award and have also been nominated for The Lawyer's 'Corporate Team of the Year' award.
Hammad has advised on other significant transactions such as the €1 billion acquisition of KBC's multi-jurisdiction private banking business, KBL epb, and Resolution Life on its proposed £8.6bn merger with Friends Provident, £4.9bn recommended takeover by Standard Life and £5bn takeover by Pearl Group.
Hammad's increasing market prominence is recognised by the leading legal directories. He is described as "… very personable and commercial, with a strong all-round technical knowledge", Legal 500, 2014 and his clients include many of the world's largest financial institutions such as Aviva, Royal London, Reinsurance Group of America and Zurich Insurance.
Hammads' professional achievements are significant and unique in that he has a proven track-record of providing effective solutions to highly technical and sensitive problems where others have tried and failed. Hammad’s background and culture is a platform on which Hammad proudly stands in order to effectively, articulately and persuasively deliver such professional services whilst others may historically shy away from their Asian roots.
Hammad has successfully combined his experiences as a state school educated East of Scotland boy from an Asian community with all of the good standing and value that blue chip organisations offer to provide a truly unique service to clients which is received extraordinarily well. Hammad has carved out a niche in his approach to providing legal services and deserves to be recognised for his achievements so far. Having been promoted to Partner at 35 years old, which is substantially earlier than the average promotion to Partner level, this is only the beginning in Hammads' professional journey.
Hammad makes a significant contribution to the development and implementation of Ashurst's global diversity and inclusivity strategy. He formed, and continues to chair, the firm's multiculturalism network, All At Ashurst. He is also a founding member of the firm's global Diversity and Inclusivity Group and a key founding member of the inter-law firm multiculturalism network, Noticed, and continues to be an active member of it.
Hammad is actively involved in the management of Ashurst's business and has overall responsibility for graduate recruitment in the northern hemisphere at Ashurst. The firm recruits 40 graduates each year in its London office alone.
Hammad is one of 12 senior partners who sit on the firm's committee that interviews both internal and external candidates for partnership. He is also responsible for lateral solicitor hire into the Corporate transactional team in London.
Other management roles Hammad undertakes include him being one of three non-executive members on one of the firm's major global change projects.
Inside of Ashurst, Hammad mentors a number of solicitors. Outside of the firm he mentors students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help improve access into the legal profession. He is also currently leading the firm's focus on social mobility.
Hammad has presented at a number of events in the City and regularly presents at industry conferences and seminars. For example, he shared his views on career success in the City to an audience of over 120 from ethic or disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds at an event hosted by UBS as well as recently presenting at the Institute of Actuaries Life Conference last year, which is unique in that very few lawyers are selected to present.
Hammad is a role model, mentor, friend and a source of support for a variety of people across the spectrum. He actively facilitates, strategizes and connects people with others to make their goals a reality and all of this without requesting anything in return. In fact he goes out of his way to do so.
Hammad has played an important and critical role in improving diversity at a graduate level within the large city firms. As one of the first British Asians to join a city law firm as a trainee solicitor he fully recognises the need to broaden the appeal of the career and access into the profession. To that end, Hammad played a critical role in widening the scope of Ashurst's graduate recruitment infrastructure to help capture the best talent regardless of background.
Hammad is passionate about dispelling myths about South Asian and in particular Pakistani culture. He is open, honest and frank in his discussions about family life, all of the members of which he is immensely and very publically proud. Hammad’s attitude is highly unique in that he is who is he whether it is at home, in the office or at a corporate event with a group of clients. Despite his immense success, Hammad remains grounded and true to his family’s moral and richly cultural teachings. He transitions across cultural borders with ease making all those who cross his path a friend. Hammad does this with humour (almost always directed at himself) and empathy – characteristics that are not often found in highly successful people.
Hammad’s charitable work is extensive but very difficult to comment on as he generally keeps these efforts to himself. Please also see question 12 above which summarises some of his altruistic achievements.
Hammad has an enviable collection of old and new unique cars. His secret passion is possibly to be a Top Gear presenter along with the old guard of Hammond, Clarkson and May, and he could also give Sting a run for his money.
In the media:
Please see above regarding recognition of Hammad's market status in the leading legal directories. Hammad has recently been interviewed by 'the gateway' for an article on careers at City law firms and by the Guardian UK 300 for 'a view from the top'.