Meet the Board: Shams Rahman
“I think there’s a misconception amongst the wider public community that lawyers are ‘fat cats’. But if you look at the work done by The Solicitors’ Charity to help those in need of our support, that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
A Board member for the past six years, Shams brings his considerable legal experience to support the charity. He is a Partner in the Property & Trusts litigation department at Edwin Coe in Lincoln’s Inn, London. Shams has expertise in all aspects of property litigation, including commercial and residential and is also a specialist in international trusts litigation and dispute resolution.
“I joined The Solicitors’ Charity as a Trustee because I wanted to give something back to the profession that has given me so much.
“At the time, I was a Partner at the law firm and had done well, and I wanted to find out which parts of our solicitors’ community was suffering, how they were being supported and what we could do to help.
I was motivated to be involved in a national organisation where we could actually help others.”
“One of the emerging issues, post-covid, has been the impact on lawyers’ mental health. For instance, Partners in law firms have been affected because of the enormous pressure on them and there has been an uptake on our wellbeing support services at a senior level.
Likewise, the current cost of living situation is resulting in a rise in younger solicitors turning to us. They are really vulnerable at the early stage of their career and often feel helpless about the challenges they are facing.
We are proud to be able to help those people pick themselves up.”
Shams is also on The Solicitors’ Charity Awards Committee. He says:
“It is really quite harrowing to see the type of cases we deal with. I find it extraordinary that a successful solicitor, who has invested a lot of time and money in his or her career, should suddenly find themselves unable to work because of a physical or mental problem and their world quickly turns upside down.
I am really touched by that because it teaches us all the value of humility and having empathy for colleagues and their families.
The awards from The Solicitors’ Charity can make all the difference. We have received thanks from an award beneficiary, saying ‘Thank you for helping me get the support I needed, it really turned my life around and I’m confident I’ll soon get back to work.’
That, to me, says more about the work we do than anything else.”
Shams says the Board has evolved since he joined to bring in a more diverse range of Trustees, from younger practitioners to retired lawyers and also some trustees from outside the profession.
The Trustees have been looking at The Solicitors’ Charity strategy for the future to “do things differently and better.” Shams explained:
“One of the big changes is the realisation of the importance of diversity, which I’m a big champion of. We want to reach out to solicitors nationally in different communities who might not want to reach out to us.
The last few years have broken barriers and helped us to identify a wider group of beneficiaries we can help. This is what the charity is about.”
“I feel I make a positive contribution as a Trustee, particularly with my commercial expertise and my specialism as a leading London Litigation lawyer. My experience is helpful for making pragmatic points and giving commercial advice to the Board. My whole focus is on moving things forward, looking at bigger projects and the bigger picture.”
“This profession has been extremely kind to me and my peers and it’s our simple duty to help others as these life situations can happen to any of us at any time.”
Shams is also a school Governor and Trustee and, off-duty describes himself as a ‘petrolhead’ and an audiophile – enjoying high end reproduction of music. His other interests include current affairs, history and cricket.