MUSCAT: Maimuna al Sulaimani, a prominent Muscat-based legal practitioner has become the first Omani to be featured in The Legal 500 powerlist.

Currently the legal head of Alizz islamic bank, Maimuna has been named among the best 100 Legal Counsel in GC Powerlist: Middle East 2015 that identifies the most influential and innovative in-house legal counsels in the region.

On the achievement, Maimuna said, “There is pride and as well as responsibility towards elevating the legal profession and being a role model for anyone in the legal profession in Oman.”

An award-winning corporate counsel, Maimuna studied in Oman and Jordan. She holds a Master’s degree in commercial law (LLM) from Glasgow University in Scotland.

She is also regarded as Oman’s first woman private sector legal head, and was notable in spearheading Omani banking sector’s first corporate legal training and establishing a combined legal, risk and compliance policy that set a precedent.

In a career spanning 16 years, Maimuna has represented diverse clients such as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Bank Muscat and Omantel.

Selection for the The Legal 500 usually begins with an anonymous nomination of the counsel by clientèle. Opinions of law firms and partners across the Middle East are taken into account while preparing the list, which highlights the names of corporate counsels who are game changers within their company and industry.

“Our aim for the GC (General Counsel) Powerlist series is to highlight those in-house lawyers who are bringing a material difference and change to the legal market, and importantly, are contributing to the growth of business,” said David Burgess, publishing director at The Legal 500 series.

Maimuna is inspired by the impact law can have on society and is highly influenced by Omani change makers Dr Amer al Rawas and the late Sheikh Khalfan al Aisri.

In 2010, she established ‘Law and Life,’ a social initiative that uses media platforms such as radio, television and print where a common Omani citizen can get to learn about his legal rights. She attributed her entry into the powerlist to these community-centric initiatives.

“There are two main priorities for me. First, to create a community that knows its rights and obligations so that it can be more productive. Second, access to legal information for every Omani, regardless of age, language, gender or social standing.”

There are gender stereotypes when it comes to women legal practitioners in the region and according to Maimuna, the best way to break these barriers is to embrace the challenges without letting them become a setback. “We have the responsibility as women to manage this process, change the stereotype and shift the mindset by being professional and persistent,” she says and credits much of her achievements to her upbringing in Oman.

“My country allows equal opportunities to its citizens without any discrimination, irrespective of gender or social standing.”