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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 > Islamic finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  1. Islamic finance
  2. Leading individuals
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Allen & Overy LLP is ‘at the top – it is at least equal to its peers if not better in a number of areas’. Anzal Mohammed (‘a good team leader, who makes sure that the right people in the firm are engaged’) advised banks including Arab Banking Corporation and JPMorgan as lead managers on a $1bn Bahrain sovereign sukuk. Bilal Ahmad, who provides ‘good legal advice with an eye for the commercial’, is another name to note.

Clifford Chance handles a range of Islamic transactions, including sukuks, commodity murabahas, ijaras and hybrid shari’ah-compliant and conventional multi-tranche facilities. Qudeer Latif heads the firm’s global Islamic practice, with Mohamed Hamra-Krouha in Abu Dhabi and Stuart Ure also key contacts. Clients include Emirates NBD and HSBC. Senior associate Ahmed Choudhry joined from Dentons.

Dentons’ regional Islamic finance practice is led by Qasim Aslam, whose work includes shari’ah-compliant acquisition and development finance transactions. The ‘responsive, knowledgeable and sensible’ Paul Jarvis in Abu Dhabi advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank as lead arranger on an AED325m syndicated ijarah to finance a Zaha Hadid-designed office and residential complex. In an illustration of his track record in sukuk transactions, Alex Roussos advised Africa Finance Corporation on its first sukuk.

Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP is ‘responsive, sharp and well respected’. Practice head Rahail Ali ‘has a fantastic market reputation; clients know they have a market leader when he is on their side’ – he and senior associate Ahmet Kalafat advised HSBC on a $236m commodity murabaha provided to Ziraat Participation Bank. Other key figures include Imran Mufti, who is a name to note in the sukuk space; Anthony Pallett, who advised Ominyat Holdings on an ijara financing for a real estate project; and Rustum Shah, who is ‘highly respected for his technical and problem-solving abilities’.

King & Spalding LLP advises a range of banks on shari’ah-compliant capital markets and debt transactions. Rizwan Kanji advised the joint lead managers on Africa Finance Corporation’s debut sukuk. Jawad Ali is noted for his expertise in shari’ah-compliant fund matters.

Linklaters has strong expertise in finance and capital markets matters using shari’ah structures. Jonathan Fried advised the lead managers, including Dubai Islamic Bank and Citigroup, on Oman’s debut dollar-denominated, Regulation S-governed sukuk. Sarosh Mewawalla handles Islamic project finance work.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Ayman Khaleq is noted for his ‘commercial savvy and funds expertise’; his wide-ranging expertise encompasses commodity murabahas, shari’ah-compliant funds, project finance and sukuk issuances, among other matters. Khaleq advised FWU AG on a $100m sukuk issuance backed by life insurance. Philip Dowsett advised Alameda International Financial Business on a shari’ah-compliant $35m acquisition financing.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s work in the Islamic finance space covers lending and capital markets matters. Mohammed Paracha advised HSBC as arranger on a $65m commodity murabaha provided to a Turkish clothing retailer. Capital markets expert Gregory Man advised Tenaga National Berhad on its $750m sukuk issuance. Other clients include Emirates NBD.

Afridi & Angell acts for a number of Islamic banks and ‘places an emphasis on long-term objectives and building lasting client relationships’. In addition to his workload involving wakalas and sukuks, Bashir Ahmed advised Ajman Bank on a $250m facility provided by a syndicate of other banks through a commodity murabaha. Other clients include Al Hilal Bank and Noor Bank. Rahat Dar is a senior associate of note.

Al Tamimi & Company’s Jody Waugh advised First Abu Dhabi Bank on a €40m loan to Egypt Electricity Company via a commodity murabaha. Waugh also has a track record on shari’ah-compliant capital markets and asset finance transactions. Sakhsi Sethi is a key senior associate.

At Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Gordon Prestige advised Arab National Bank on a $200m fund financing transaction structured as a murabaha, Sandeep Puri has shari’ah real estate finance expertise.

Clyde & Co LLP’s Islamic finance practice, led by Adil Hussain in Abu Dhabi, primarily advises banks on debt financing of business. The team advised Natixis on a $50m loan to a Saudi fashion retailer, and assisted Costra Group, a venture capital firm, with an AED44m loan for a real estate development via a murabaha.

At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Chris Skordas advised Standard Chartered on a syndicated $250m murabaha provided to a government facility. In the investment funds space, Zubair Mir advised Arqaam Capital on launching an open-ended DIFC-incorporated shari’ah-compliant fund.

K&L Gates’ Islamic finance practice handles work ranging from loans through to shari’ah-compliant investment funds. Natalie Boyd, who divides her time between Dubai and London, advised Citibank on a shari’ah-compliant project financing.

At Latham & Watkins LLP, Harj Rai, working with the firm’s offices in London and Washington DC, advised the Saudi government on a $9bn trust certificate programme.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s Amir Ahmad advised China Machinery Engineering Corporation as sponsor on a shari’ah-compliant financing of a coal-fired power station and coal mine in Pakistan. The firm also acts for banks in the corporate lending space.

White & Case LLP, headed by Debashis Dey as global head of Islamic finance, has a particular strength in work with Saudi elements. Dey, working with the firm’s other offices, advised HSBC, JPMorgan and Citi as managers and bookrunners on the $9bn Saudi sovereign sukuk, Claire Matheson Kirton advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on an AED887m ijara facility lent to Manazel Real Estate.

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