Zarina Gani

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This was a BLD interview with Debo Nwauzu in September 2009. Read more about Zarina Gani in the Directory

Our Lawyer of the Month is Zarina Gani, principal of the law firm Gani & Co who was named as the Criminal Defence Lawyer of the Year at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards in December 2008. 

Zarina is the Principal of Gani & Co Solicitors, a leading criminal defence practice based in Brixton, South West London.  Her dedication and commitment to criminal clients over the past 19 years was praised by clients, colleagues, staff at the local court and barristers. Colleagues inspired by her wrote very movingly in support of her LALY nomination and a client described her as “righteous, kind, polite, gracious and respectful”.

She established Gani & Co in 1999 and has undertaken many high profile cases of serious crime and commercial fraud, including those prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, HM Revenue and Customs and the Financial Services Authority. Her firm is a member of the Serious Fraud Panel and Very High Cost Cases (VHCC)  

Zarina is married with 2 children.

Below is our interview with Zarina.

BLD: Why did you choose a legal career?
ZG:  After doing a Law degree, Masters in Law and my Solicitors’ finals – I had no choice but to follow it through!

BLD: If you were to choose another role/profession other than law, what would it be and why?
ZG: I wanted to be a psychologist as I was interested in the study of human behaviour – but because my mother had never heard of an “ology” subject she pushed me into law.

BLD: What was the best career advice you were given?
ZG: In my day we never had the benefit of any careers advice at school – it was left very much to the pupils, or in my case my mother!

BLD: What career advice would you give to others?
ZG: Get some work experience first in the chosen field – and believe in yourself.

BLD: Who is the person you most admire (dead or alive) and why?
ZG: Barack Obama – he is a living example of what can be achieved in life in terms of personal goals and aspirations.

BLD: What are you most passionate/happiest about?
ZG: When my clients’ innocence is proved.

BLD: What are your dislikes?
ZG: The way criminal solicitors are portrayed by the media as “fat cats” – they do not clarify the facts between barristers and solicitors. If they did they would take a different view.

BLD: What was your worst moment as a lawyer?
ZG: When I was helping a client out in a civil matter and missed the deadline – and paid the penalty for it. Never again!! 

BLD: Tell us about your professional high point(s).
ZG: Setting up my own practice and still surviving.
BLD: What was the most famous/interesting case(s) you have handled to date?
ZG: Representing the Chief Press Officer of the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) for an allegation of the rape of the Lord Chancellor’s private secretary and representing a youth in an alleged rape case of a teacher at Westminster College.

BLD: Any professional regrets?
ZG: I wish I had qualified 30 years ago and then I would not have to face what the criminal practices are facing today.

BLD: If you could rule the world for a day what would you change/do?
ZG: Get all the politicians and senior officials from the Legal Services Commission to do police station and court duty for one week – at the rates they give us now – and let them see if they can carry on financially in running a criminal practice.

BLD: Could you tell us more about your family life?
ZG: I am married with a great supporting husband and two beautiful daughters aged 13 and seven.