Recently viewed firm profiles
Recently viewed lawyer profiles
The Legal 500 is conducting its first global survey of how corporate counsel and law firms use The Legal 500. We would be grateful if you could spend 10 minutes answering the survey questions to aid us in improving our research and how we deliver it. Click here to give us your feedback.
Legal market overview
As other Middle Eastern countries continue to feel the effects of civil unrest and political instability, the UAE is increasingly being viewed as a stable platform for doing business across the region. The broader GCC region continues to be a key focus, with opportunities in Iraq in particular providing a regular flow of work, especially for law firms with robust oil and gas practices. Locally the retail and property sectors are also improving.
Mirroring the view of the UAE as a regional hub, and despite the general perception that Dubai (and, to a lesser extent, Abu Dhabi) is a saturated legal market, new entrants continue to establish a presence in order to support or exploit new opportunities. For example, Bird & Bird LLP opened its Abu Dhabi office in 2011. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which has been active in the market for some time, opened an Abu Dhabi office in 2012 and installed partner Gamal Abouali and associate Chris Macbeth to handle a broad range of corporate work. Addleshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP also opened an office in Dubai in 2012, recruiting Andrew Greaves from Trowers & Hamlins to head up the office. In another noteworthy move, Natalie Boyd joined K&L Gates from Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP.
Of the established international firms, Allen & Overy LLP, Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co LLP have the longest track record in the region and enjoy reputations for top-quality work. Key local firms include Al Tamimi & Company, which has benefited from its expansion into the broader GCC region, as well as Hadef & Partners and Habib Al Mulla & Company.
Note that the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) acts as a free zone within the UAE, and is governed by a separate set of rules and regulations to UAE law.