Han Jahae was admitted to the Amsterdam Bar in 1986. After heading the criminal law section of a medium-sized firm, he started his own business crime firm in 2008. In 2015 he co-founded JahaeRaymakers. Han is former president of the European Criminal Bar Association (2003–2008); member of the advisory commission on criminal law at the Dutch Bar Association; and representative at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (2006–). Han is a board member of the Amsterdam Bar Association (2014–).
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?
When the authorities step in and hold either a private person or a company accountable for things they may or may not have done, that person now suddenly finds itself in a situation where it is helpless. Being quite often an esteemed professional in their own world of expertise they now suddenly lack all the necessary skills and tools to deal with the situation. The consequences are potentially severe, their reputation is on the line and they don’t know what to do. Called in to help, to manage that problem and above all to find the best, shortest and most importantly fairest way out of the problem is the greatest possible challenge.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING CASE TO DATE AND WHY?
There have been so many and I am sure the most interesting case is still to come. Getting the best result when the stakes are high, financially, emotionally, reputation-wise or otherwise never ceases to bring out the best in us. Quite often we have been able to avoid cases going to court and to avoid reputations being destroyed. Cases in which you can make that difference are for sure the most interesting and we have been very fortunate to have been able to do just that quite a number of times.
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AS CHAIRMAN OF THE EUROPEAN CRIMINAL BAR ASSOCIATION ENHANCED YOUR PRACTICE?
Working with lawyers from a different cultural and legal background will teach you that often there are different solutions to a problem and different ways of looking at things. And of course I ended up having a network of excellent lawyers that I know really well on a personal level throughout the whole world.
WHAT WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN SETTING UP YOU OWN FIRM?
Finding the right people that share my views on how to practice law is a constant challenge. I am very fortunate that I can work with so many excellent lawyers today.
HOW DOES JAHAERAYMAKERS DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM COMPETITION IN THE MARKET
I think that judges, prosecutors and colleagues trust us. We don’t play games.
They know us to be reliable and are therefore often open for alternative solutions to the problem.
We can make a difference. If you come to us early we will prevent you from getting into trouble but if you come later we will get you out of the problem as soon and as good as possible. And we will not forget about you once your problem is over.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY QUALITIES NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS FIELD?
In the end it’s all politics so apart from knowing the law, which is an obvious skill you need to have, you need great social and psychological skills. You need to know exactly when to be tough and when to give leeway. I think that ultimately your reputation is key to your success. Prosecutors and judges need to be sure that you do what you say and say what you do. If they trust you quite often different avenues for solutions become available as experience has shown.
AS FOUNDING PARTNER, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR THE FIRM’S DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
It’s our priority to keep getting better and better at what we are doing. The world around us is changing rapidly and we want to stay on top of our game. That will be the challenge for the coming years. If you stand still you will fall behind.
YOU HAVE ENJOYED A VERY DISTINGUISHED CAREER SO FAR. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACHIEVE THAT YOU HAVE NOT YET ACCOMPLISHED?
I am very happy to be where I am now and there is not much more I really crave; but it would make me happy if our firm is still around long after I’m gone, and still the place where people’s work makes the difference.