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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Arab Emirates > Investment funds > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Investment funds
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Ch√©zard Ameer - Gibson Dunn
    • Zubair Mir - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • James Stull - King & Spalding LLP

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Geoffroy Hermanns - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • Adrianus Schoorl - Allen & Overy LLP

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Dechert LLP's Philip Sacks and senior associate Ed Brown, who was a new hire from Al Tamimi & Company, are advising Abu Dhabi Financial Group on the launch of Etihad REIT. Other work in this space includes assisting Sphere Capital with creating a $400m DIFC-domiciled REIT. Credit funds and venture capital funds are other areas of expertise. Previously a senior associate at the firm, Saber Farooqi is now general counsel at Dalma Capital Management. Philip Dowsett was a new arrival from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in August 2019.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's team is 'able to explain the regulations in simple terms'. Zubair Mir is 'probably the most experienced funds lawyer in the Middle East' - he and senior associate Geoffroy Hermanns, among other retail funds work, advised Mashreq Capital on forming a sub-fund under its existing shari'ah-compliant DIFC public fund based on a pre-existing UCITS. In other work, the team assisted Gulf Petrochem with restructuring a planned DIFC-headquartered fund investing in Indian real estate. Clients for limited partner work include Mumtalakat, which it advised on an investment in a venture capital fund-of-funds.

King & Spalding LLP's James Stull handles fund matters including pioneering work in Saudi Arabia; he led a team advising Riyad Capital on forming its first REIT to list on the Tadawul in Saudi Arabia, also assisting the same REIT with a capital increase and issuing a sukuk, the first by a listed REIT in the jurisdiction. In other highlights, Stull advised the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector on forming a $1bn African infrastructure fund unusually domiciled in Labuan, an island of Malaysia that operates as a financial free zone. He also assisted Gulf Islamic Investments with establishing a DIFC-domiciled REIT, the first officially classified as such by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Nabil Issa and Stull acted for Swicorp on developing a real estate fund approved by the Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority, which will invest in buildings in Mecca. Jawad Ali advised KFH Capital on forming a Guernsey-domiciled fund investing in real estate assets in the United Kingdom.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 'knows its stuff and works well as a team'. 'Great relationship builder' Ayman Khaleq 'possesses great knowledge of fund structuring that makes matters efficient'; he advised NBK Capital Partners on forming a shari'ah-compliant real estate fund. Separately, he assisted Greenstone Equity Partners with securing a new licence to act as a placement agent. The group advised Sico Trucial on creating a new fund investing in American real estate assets. Other areas of work include advice to sovereign wealth funds on their LP commitments. Philip Dowsett joined Dechert LLP.

Allen & Overy LLP's 'innovative and pragmatic' team is, for one client, 'the first choice for funds work that has not been tried before in the UAE'. Of counsel Adrianus Schoorl heads the firm's Middle Eastern financial services regulatory practice. Counsel Kamar Jaffer is another notable name. Clients include Alabbar Enterprises, QInvest and Samba Capital, which the team advised on an investment into the Acwa Power Powervest Fund. On the sponsor side, the firm assisted Havenvest Private Equity Middle East with forming its third Cayman-domiciled fund. The 'approachable, intelligent, commercial and focused' Nick Smith relocated to the firm's London office.

Gibson Dunn's Chézard Ameer advises fund managers and investors on real estate and other funds. Other clients include sovereign wealth funds.

At Simmons & Simmons Middle East, James Coleman handles work including advice on retail investment products and venture capital funds, including start-up accelerators. Muneer Khan handles regulatory work.

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