Omair Jaffer 2005

  1. Why did your family moved from Karachi to Athens?

My father (pictured above) was an Operations Manager for an international bank and accepted a position to manage 200 employees in Greece to modernise the bank’s operations in Treasury, Trade & Custodial Services. What was supposed to be a two-year assignment ended up being five years.

  1. What does Campion mean to you and what makes it stand out compared to other schools?

It is an international school that is welcoming to all expats and gives opportunities to pupils to celebrate multiple cultures as well as Greek. The school is rich in creative subjects (Art, Music, Drama) and extra-curricular activities. When the school hosted, or encouraged students to attend international competitions (including EMAC & Forensics), this was one of many examples where students could embrace cultural exchange.

Learning the customs of my friends in Campion who all came from different parts of the world (Australia, South Africa, Korea, the Middle East, etc.), helped me succeed in my legal career today, where I am having to constantly work with a global team.

I will always be fond of the facilities available at Campion (Library, Theatre, Labs). I was especially happy to create slide specimens in the Science Labs and see the cells under the microscope. It was a different level of knowledge that I couldn’t wait to achieve. I am glad Campion School gave me that experience.

  1. What made you decide to become a lawyer and what IB subjects were useful?

I came across a John Grisham novel when I was 12 in my home library called The Client which inspired me to consider a career in Law. Every two years I would research the legal profession, while also considering a career in chemical engineering. The office/work environment of the former appealed to me more.

Following Law as a subject in high school is not a requirement; more important is an excellent grade in a subject that is more research focused, followed by a written four-figure essay. I feel the IB Subjects of English Lit., Economics, Ext Essay and Theory of Knowledge were the most useful in developing those skills.

  1. Career highlights and is it anything like the TVs shows/movies?

I would say up to 50% of what you see on popular legal dramas/movies tend to be true in the legal profession. The hours, complexity of the tasks and helping clients come to terms with the outcomes, all tend to be common.

Pro Bono work: I assisted in a tort claim against a multinational that produced a freezer which sadly caused a fire that claimed the lives of 6 out of 8 family members in a London household. A product design defect was proven and the multinational agreed to enter a settlement with the two surviving family members.

I also volunteered for IRAP during President Trump’s enactment of Executive Order 13769 where we advised travellers on their legal rights on how to re-enter the United States after having visited relatives in sanctioned Middle Eastern countries.

Private Practice: After graduation, I was highly active in litigation following the 2008 Financial Crisis due to the number of offences that arose, such as the Madoff Ponzi scheme. I worked on:

  • discovering anti-competitive practice amongst global banks during the LIBOR scandal;
  • assisting Standard Chartered Bank in responding to an OFAC probe concerning staff members who had been laundering money to Iranian sanctioned entities; and
  • assisting with the trial preparation of R v Stefanos Kallakis & Otr, where the defendants were sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for defrauding AIB Plc of £700m in loans.

In-House: After some years in private practice, I was offered a post in British American Tobacco’s Legal department. This suited my career ambition and since then I have mainly worked in-house, including at Tesco and HCA Healthcare.

At present I am a New York attorney, as well as an English solicitor, and I am working as the UK/European Counsel for a light electric vehicle company, where every day I get to re-live my Campion School days by working with a cosmopolitan team.

  1. Personal Life

I reside in London with my wife and children. Remote working in today’s work practices have been a blessing in maintaining that “work-life balance”, especially when doing parental/household chores and making time to achieve those personal yearly goals. Of course, I am still a cricket enthusiast and enjoy attending Pakistan’s cricket matches at Lord’s.

  1. Any tips for students

On Studying: Organise your day – it’s a great way to measure your productivity and commitment. If you want to be great at something, ask yourself how many hours a day are you dedicating to your subject against all those other activities you do during that same day. Then you will see how many hours a week, month or even a whole year you are dedicating. I found this method very helpful when I was studying for the New York Bar Exam.

On Gaining Legal Experience: Volunteer and it doesn’t have to be strictly legal. It can be contesting a penalty with a municipal office, claiming a refund or helping an asylum seeker with his application form to claim benefits/security.

On Exploring: Please don’t visit a country to mainly do the same thing you would do at home. Please step out and explore how the community in that country lives their daily lives, whether that is their love for an uncommon sport (Buzkashi), a religious practice, the way tea is served (Samovar) and how words in our vernacular have a foreign origin (Algebra (Al-Jabr), Checkmate (Shah-Mat)). I’ve always found these discoveries very valuable when exchanging greetings with a person from distant parts of the world.

On Success: Please do not be disheartened if you do not succeed on the first attempt. Yes, there are people who became a success in their fields at an early age (Zuckerberg, Carlsen, Raducanu) but you will be astonished to discover that others became just as successful at a later age (JK Rowling, Morgan Freeman, Ray Kroc).


This Alumni post is dedicated to my late father – Rooman Essa Jaffer (1954 – 2020), who made the rare decision to move from Karachi to Athens for the betterment of his family and to enrich the knowledge of his three sons.


Omair during his school days in Athens.