Zaid files suit against former law firm partners over use of name

(FMT) – Former minister Zaid Ibrahim has filed a suit against the partners of his former legal firm to stop them from using the name Zaid Ibrahim & Co (ZICO).

He said he could not use his personal name to set up a new firm, as he intends to return to private practice.

In his suit, Zaid said he founded ZICO here in 1987 and was the sole proprietor.

From 1987 to 2008, he said, he built a name for ZICO, “particularly in obtaining empanelment with financial institutions and government-linked corporations”.

“I gradually expanded the practice with salaried partners joining the firm from time to time, including Chew Seng Kok (managing director) and Nik Norzrul Thani Nik Hassan Thani (chairman).

“I retained sole equity until 2008 when I joined the Cabinet,” he said.

Zaid said that in 2018, he wrote to Chew and Nik Norzrul, requesting them to cease using the name of ZICO and to return it to him so he could start his own firm.

“Despite repeated requests, they refused to cease using my name,” he said.

However, Zaid said that on Oct 5, the partners resolved the name issue with him, by inviting him back to ZICO as an equity partner and chairman.

“I was prepared to accept the offer to rejoin the firm as this would dispense with the need for me to start afresh,” he said, adding he returned to the firm on Nov 1.

More than a week after his return, he said, his position in the law firm was terminated on grounds of “unauthorised acts”, but the details were not specified.

“The purported termination as chairman and equity partner was wrongful and I reserve my rights to seek appropriate reliefs,” he said.

Zaid also contends that the partners’ use of his personal name would lead to people thinking that he provided services on behalf of ZICO.

He is seeking a temporary injunction against his former partners from using the name Zaid Ibrahim & Co (ZICO), pending disposal of the lawsuit.

“So long as they continue to use my name, I am unable to set up my own law practice in my name. This is causing me severe prejudice as it affects my very livelihood,” he added.