Getting to know you: Sheraz Akram

What do you currently do?

I am the corporate and commercial director at leading South Wales law firm Douglas-Jones Mercer (DJM) Solicitors. Leading the team, I am responsible for overseeing the department’s continued growth and attracting further new clients. Our client base ranges from local sole traders to multi-national entities, operating globally.

What is your inspiration in business?

My inspiration has always been success rather than money, and business fascinates me. I really enjoy what I do and that helps me to be successful and meet the goals I set out to achieve.

My legal career at Douglas-Jones Mercer helps me apply my legal and business knowledge to assist clients with their own businesses. I don’t just offer legal advice based on the experience of working in a practice, I seek to improve businesses’ performance by applying my practical knowledge when advising clients on their actions.

Who do you admire?

My father is a real inspiration to me and his hard work and perseverance has always left me impressed. For a man with no formal education, he has shown me that if you want something badly enough you will make it work out. You just have to keep on striving for that goal.

Looking back would you have done things differently?

I don’t think I would change anything about my career or life for that matter. I have been extremely fortunate but that is not to say we have not been through our own tough times. I just believe that the difficult times make you stronger and for that reason I would not do anything differently.

What defines your way of doing business?

Through my outside business interests I have obtained a certain amount of commercial acumen and I like to think this is apparent throughout my work. In the context of my role at Douglas-Jones Mercer, that commercial knowledge is coupled with real technical expertise, which our clients value.

Many solicitors’ only experience of business is through their clients. Whereas, I am a businessman and a director of a very successful law firm. I think that gives me an edge.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

You will only get out what you put in and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. What differentiates successful people from others is that successful people are extremely hard working and take calculated risks.

They’re not afraid to put themselves on the line – whether that involves starting their business in economic uncertainty, changing jobs in a recession or taking on challenges outside of their comfort zone – they push themselves regardless of the risk of failure.