Employment in United Arab Emirates
Al Tamimi & Company
Al Tamimi & Company’s ‘knowledgeable and responsive group’ ranks among the largest employment practices in the region. Highlights included Ivor McGettigan advising GE Power on the Middle East employment aspects of its sale of GE Water & Process Technologies to Suez. On the contentious side, department lead Samir Kantaria represented Gulf Bridge International in a claim concerning dual employment rights. Gordon Barr is also noted.
Clyde & Co LLP
A ‘solid tier-one firm’, Clyde & Co LLP’s comprehensive employment practice impresses with its ‘very knowledgeable and solution-focused approach’. Sara Khoja, valued for her ‘ability to speak in business language’, recently advised Red Bull on employment arrangements in Iran. Rebecca Ford (‘a senior specialist’) and legal director Ben Brown (‘really worth his salt’) are also recommended.
Afridi & Angell earns praise for its ‘impressive response times’ and ‘accurate advice’. The team is particularly prized for its record in contentious work, with recent cases involving harassment, confidential information and unfair dismissal. It also handles transactional and advisory issues. Group head Charles Laubach and regulatory expert Stuart Walker are recommended.
The ‘very solid’ DLA Piper Middle East LLP is recognised for its broad regional offering, drawing on support from offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Neil Crossley, who heads the Middle East employment practice, advised a global medical devices company on regional employment matters, including all onboarding for a new entity in the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Free Zone.
Eversheds Sutherland LLP boosted its group with the hire of ‘very capable’ principal associate Sarah Anderson from Hadef & Partners LLC. Commercial head Geraldine Ahern, who handles a broad range of employment and immigration matters, remains the key contact and represented a global company in an employment termination case.
Hadef & Partners LLC
Hadef & Partners LLC, best known for its strength in contentious work, is particularly active for clients within the financial services, real estate, construction and energy sectors. In an example of its litigation sweet spot, it acted for Atlas Mara Management Services in the dismissal of its chief executive officer. In 2018, department head Jamie Liddington left for an in-house position at Amazon, while Sarah Anderson joined Eversheds Sutherland LLP. Rachel Hill, who recently arrived from Al Tamimi & Company, now heads the practice.
Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla’s practice, which acts for an impressive roster of multinational clients, houses two distinct advisory and litigation units. Senior associate Joanna Matthews-Taylor heads the department and advised Suez on the local employment aspects of its $3.4bn global acquisition of GE Water & Process Technologies.
A ‘stand-out employment practice’, Pinsent Masons LLP blends ‘impressive technical knowledge with pragmatism and commercialism’. In particular, department head — and newly promoted partner — Luke Tapp is ‘responsive, collaborative and solutions oriented’; he advised a global pharmaceutical client on restructuring its Middle East business.
Squire Patton Boggs stands out for its 'good regional coverage'. Middle East employment head Sarah Lawrence, who is 'responsive, practical and efficient', advises on a wide range of labour, employment and immigration law, with notable expertise in senior executive appointments and terminations, transactional support matters and cross-border issues. Clients include AXA Insurance (Gulf) and Rockwell Collins.
DWF Middle East LLP’s employment team has hit the ground running since its establishment in 2017 through the hire of group head Shiraz Sethi from Stephenson Harwood. The group, which handles an array of contentious and non-contentious DIFC and UAE law matters, recently advised Burgan Wealth on the removal of a senior executive officer.
Watson Farley & Williams
On the non-contentious side, Watson Farley & Williams covers transactional support matters, restructurings and compliance issues. In a recent example, Suhail Mirza advised Fyffes on the secondment of a senior management team in the UAE. Litigator Charlotte Bijlani is recommended for employment disputes.