Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

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.
Click here for more details

United Arab Emirates > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Real estate clients in United Arab Emirates using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Al Tamimi & Company’s team is praised for its ‘strong local knowledge and understanding of the wider Middle East region’. Jeremy Scott, who made partner in 2017 and ‘has good overall appreciation of clients’ requirements and options available’, advised Jabal Omar Development Company on sales and hotel management contracts related to a $3.2bn development project next to the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Tara Marlow heads the real estate, hotels and leisure practice.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP advises on deals, financing and related matters across the UAE and the Middle East. Key figures in Abu Dhabi include Mohammed Kamal, who advised Apple on the opening of a store in the Dubai Mall, David Nunn, who advised Al Tamouh Properties on an AED310m shari’ah-compliant construction finance facility, and Scott Antel. Dubai-based senior associates Monica Pukall and Stephen Greyling are also recommended.

DLA Piper Middle East LLP is noted for its ‘excellent service, commendable response times and strong industry knowledge’. In Dubai, practice head Tom O’Grady and legal director Helen Tapadar Hangari advised Al Asseel Developments on condominium arrangements for 500 serviced apartments in the Address Jumeirah Gate development. Duncan Pickering, who is based in Abu Dhabi, has ‘vast experience in real estate transactions and is very approachable’.

Hadef & Partners LLC advises developers, real estate funds and high-net-worth individuals on transactions, including real estate financings. Michael Lunjevich and newly promoted partner Ashraf Sayed advised ENBD REIT on the purchase of the Binghatti Terraces building for cash consideration and an existing tower in Sharjah. Executive partner Basil Siddiqi is also recommended.

King & Spalding LLP is ‘very knowledgeable in real estate development matters, providing practical legal advice based on deep knowledge’. The team advised Aldar Properties on off-plan sales of its development on Reem Island. Moustafa Said is ‘very experienced and a strong technical lawyer’ – he advised Jabal Omar Development Company on buying three hotels in Mecca. Stephen Kelly and Sarah-Jane Mahood joined Dechert LLP in July 2018.

Afridi & Angell has a track record advising local and international investors on projects in the UAE. Shahram Safai advised China Lesso on the AED1bn purchase of a plot of land for the construction of a shopping centre. Other highlights concern leasing and real estate funds.

Allen & Overy LLP’s real estate team handles work ranging from transactions through to new developments. Ian Bevan advised Aafaq Holding on a mixed-use development around Al Ain Club’s stadium.

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla is praised for its ‘excellent response times and industry knowledge, and for its ability to act and think from an in-house lawyer’s point of view’. Practice head Steven Henderson advised Dubai Real Estate Corporation on the construction of an MGM and a Bellagio hotel in Dubai. Senior associate Keri Watkins is another name to note in the practice, which also advises Benchmark Group and Centara International Management.

Clyde & Co LLP’s practice covers transactions and developments across the real estate space. Alexis Waller is ‘always there to assist clients’ – she advised Binghatti Group on various developments. Senior associate Sarah Khalifa has ‘a very solid understanding of hotel-related transactions’; she and Waller advised Arab Hotels and Resorts on agreements for International Hotel Group to manage its hotel in Jeddah.

Pinsent Masons LLP is praised for its ‘strong sector knowledge and proactive attitude’ to work concerning a range of real estate assets. The ‘tenacious and detail-focussed’ Philip Corfield-Smith advised Bhatia Group on negotiating a hotel management agreement with Marriott. James Rayner is a key senior associate.

Key figures at Addleshaw Goddard include Louise Vun, who handles a range of matters, often concerning complex strata law issues. Clients include Multiplex Constructions and China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

CMS established its real estate practice in the UAE with the recruitment of legal director Geoff Smith from Afridi & Angell. Smith (who ‘has strong market knowledge and is a reasonable negotiator; he wants to get the deal through rather than score points’) advised Global Student Accommodation on a sale and leaseback arrangement with Emirates NBD REIT regarding Dubai’s first-ever student housing project.

Dentons’ real estate practice in Dubai is led by senior associate Joe Carroll, who advised Al Ain Hospitality Investments on hotel management agreements for a new mixed-use hotel and apartment development near Dubai marina. Other work concerns real estate finance and real estate finance.

Gowling WLG’s Andrew Thomson is ‘commercial, responsive and experienced in the UAE market’; he and principal associate Melissa Younan advise Regus on its serviced office portfolio across the UAE, and acted for Premier Composite Technologies on a shari’ah-compliant sale and leaseback of four warehouses.

The Bench has a particular strength in hotel management work. Senior legal consultant Joby Beretta is ‘legally very sharp and extremely commercial, all while staying personable’; he advised Atlas Hospitality on the renewal of a hotel management agreement regarding the Radisson Blue Dubai Media City.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in United Arab Emirates

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • New Promotion Regime for Domestic Funds

    In late November 2018, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced that they had reached agreement on facilitating the licensing of domestic funds by each authority for promotion across the UAE. 
  • Federal Penal Code Amendments

    In the latest development in an eventful year, Federal Decree-Law 24 of 2018 introduces amendments to the Federal Penal Code, originally enacted as Federal Law 3 of 1987. 
  • New Anti-Money Laundering Law

    The new anti-money laundering ( AML ) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. 
  • Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus

    The UAE federal government has recently issued a raft of important legislation, addressing and in many ways updating areas of law that are key to businesses in the jurisdiction. Amongst this legislation is Federal Decree-Law 14 of 2018 concerning the central bank and the organisation of financial institutions and activities (the New Banking Law ) and Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 concerning anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing (the New AML Law ). Both the New Banking Law and the New AML Law repeal and replace the previous legislation on their respective subjects. Importantly, the New Banking Law and the New AML Law have together enhanced the protection afforded to confidential information under UAE law, in particular where financial and legal service providers and their customers and clients are concerned. 
  • Get 100% Foreign Ownership Today in Dubai

    Freezones have always been the topic of discussion in the U.A.E. Amongst the various benefits, 100% foreign ownership is one of the advantages which is enjoyed the most by investors in these freezone companies. In the below article, our Company Setup Specialist, Neelesh Pillai talks about everything that you need to know about setting up a Freezone branch in Mainland.
  • Overview of the Bankruptcy Proceedings and Preventive Measures in the UAE

    Before the approval of the UAE Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2016 (the “Bankruptcy Law”) by the UAE Cabinet on 4 September 2016, the bankruptcy proceedings were regulated under the Commercial Code and were limited to court-driven proceeding addressed to liquidate companies rather than assist in restructuring their debts. This new law puts some light on the regulation on how companies should deal with their financial issues. In below article, our Associate from the Dispute Resolution department, Ahmed Salih talks about the bankruptcy proceedings and the preventive measures in the UAE. With over 10 years of experience in the UAE and Sudan , Litigator Ahmed Salih specializes in Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Civil Claims, Labour Disputes, Shari'a Law, personal status cases, Real Estate Claims, and Bankruptcy.
  • Time-bars, time limits and deadlines for legal cases under UAE law

    Under UAE civil law – like in other civil law systems – not all time-bars are mentioned and dealt with in one particular statue. Our Partner, Alessandro Tricoli , and Senior Associate, Shehab Mamdouh explains the different time bars, time limits and deadlines for legal cases under UAE law.
  • Seven Things to Know About Filing a Bankruptcy Petition in the UAE

    The absence of a legal framework for bankruptcy has long been a hindrance to UAE business. In the absence of proper bankruptcy laws, even a bounced cheque could land an entrepreneur in jail. The implementation of the relatively new bankruptcy law in the UAE is a huge step forward in improving the country’s economic and regulatory environment.
  • UAE Shipping Companies Seek VAT Exemption

    The UAE has climbed to sixth place in 2017 from seventh in 2015 on the list of the future leading maritime capitals.
  • Digital Directions

    Digital assets are the foundation of the new economy, and the developments of it continue to hit the headlines regularly. Our Partner & Head of Commercial & Technology, Irina Heaver explains different regulations depending on the nature of the specific assets.  This article was also published in LexisNexis - Middle East. 

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to