United Arab Emirates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Legal market overview
The UAE’s economy continues to be shaped by developments in energy, oil and gas. The government’s ambitious renewable energy targets for 2020 could see more than $50bn worth of investment made in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) solar power sector by 2020. Several large projects, notably in the petrochemicals sector, are now underway, which is also helping to drive economic activity. However, governments, financial institutions and corporates across the Gulf region have had to adapt to the fall in oil prices and subsequent drops in revenue. This has reshaped M&A activity, with local investors increasingly looking to the wider region and beyond – especially to Africa – for investment opportunities.
The UAE legal market is highly competitive and hosts many international law firms. There were new arrivals to Abu Dhabi, including Fichte & Co. opening an office there in November 2016. Other significant recent developments include Mayer Brown hiring corporate and securities partners from Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla and opening its Dubai office in 2016, while Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP recruited Charles Fuller, Andrew Tarbuck and Anthony Pallett from Latham & Watkins LLP in November 2015. Law firms are also expanding into new practice areas. The growing role of the Middle East as a hub of international trade combined with the gradual opening of the Iranian market has prompted several law firms to establish corporate and financial institutions investigations practices, which are advising on sanctions-related issues.
Firms in the spotlight
Al Safar and Partners Advocates and Legal Consultants
Al Safar & Partners advocates & legal consultants was established in 1981 by advocate Mahdi Al Safar and has completed 33 years among the best of UAE’s law firms. The firm provides general legal advice to its clients. In the year 2008 senior advocate Ms Kavitha Panicker, managing partner of the firm, undertook the mission of growing the firm to its current status and the setting up of operational processes for quality management, which secured the firm its rare ISO 9001:2008 certification, a very valuable characteristic to a firm operating on international standards.
Mohammed Al Dahbashi Advocates and Legal Consultants
MAD Advocates was founded by Mohammed Al Dahbashi in 2015. It began with two lawyers but quickly tripled in size within the first year. The main practice areas to date have been the commercial and corporate sector as well as the dispute resolution and litigation sector. MAD Advocates is a full-service law firm based in the United Arab Emirates specialising in a wide range of practice areas comprising corporate, commercial, dispute resolution, employment, family business, government regulations, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, real estate, and general services and advice in relation to UAE laws.
Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants
Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants is a full-service law firm committed to delivering sound judgement to its clients on their most difficult and important matters. Established in 2003, the firm was first known as Advocates Without Frontiers before it expanded and was recently renamed Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants, the company’s licence owner, with a head office in Dubai and a branch office in Abu Dhabi.
Law House Advocates and Legal Consultants
Established in 2007, Law House is a full-service law firm advising and supporting local, regional and international corporations, financial institutions and individual clients in the UAE. Within the Middle East, Law House is strategically positioned in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and is connected to a network of correspondent offices in the GCC, Europe, Asia and USA. Other than a wide experience in local customs, laws, regulations and practices, the firm’s highly qualified teams of lawyers are also experienced in several international jurisdictions, equipped with global knowledge and skill-sets to best serve clients.
The In-House Lawyer
International comparative guides
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Legal Business: country analysis
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