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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


Index of tables

  1. Investment funds
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Chézard Ameer - Gibson Dunn
    • Zubair Mir - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • Nick Smith - Allen & Overy LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Saber Farooqi - Dechert LLP
    • Adrianus Schoorl - Allen & Overy LLP

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP handles a range of work for managers, including formations of offshore and Saudi-domiciled funds. Nick Smith, who is ‘genetically incapable of providing anything other than a Rolls-Royce standard of service’, acted alongside of counsel Adrianus Schoorl for Havenvest Private Equity on establishing and managing its $500m fund. Counsel Kamar Jaffer is also a key contact. Other clients include Mubadala and The Abraaj Group.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team is praised for its ‘unique industry knowledge’. Zubair Mir has ‘a unique skill-set, having worked on many of the region’s landmark funds’ – he and senior associate Geoffroy Hermanns, who is noted for his ‘open and client-oriented mind’, advised Mashreq Capital on the establishment of a DIFC-based fund using a GP-LP structure rather than being set up as an investment company.

King & Spalding LLP is ‘a top-tier firm and a leader in establishing investment funds’, with a particular strength in real estate fund work. James Stull is ‘a top-performing lawyer with expertise in Saudi-regulated funds’ – he advised Riyad Capital on the creation of the first Saudi-regulated and Tadawul-listed REIT. Nabil Issa handles fund formations and acts for investors.

Dechert LLP’s Phillip Sacks is ‘a subject matter expert and a well-respected lawyer with significant experience working on offshore and DIFC funds’. He and senior associate Saber Farooqi advised Aspect Investment Partners on establishing a $100m shari’ah-compliant credit fund. Other clients include Abu Dhabi Financial Group.

Gibson Dunn’s Chézard Ameer advised Gulf Capital on the formation of its second credit and mezzanine fund, which met its $250m target. Other work includes advising institutional investors on their limited partner commitments. The firm also acts for Waha Capital.

At Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP, Warren Thomson advised Royal Capital Holdings on the formation of a Cayman-domiciled distressed asset fund. Imtiaz Shah and Andrew Tarbuck are also recommended.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ practice includes Ayman Khaleq, who is advising NBK Capital Partners on the formation of a GCC-focused shari’ah-compliant fund with a target size of $150m. Also recommended are Philip Dowsett, who ‘has huge experience’, and ‘amazing’ associate Carolyn Abram.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP is praised for its ‘excellent knowledge, advice and response times’. The practice advises on a range of private equity and other fund types. Muneer Khan advised SEDCO Capital on its fleet of exchange-traded shari’ah-compliant funds. James Coleman’s work includes venture capital and hedge fund matters.

K&L Gates’ Owen Waft advised Emirates NBD on the redomiciliation of a shari’ah-compliant REIT from Jersey to the DIFC. He also handles work regarding tracker funds and listed funds. Natalie Boyd, who divides her time between London and Dubai, is also a key contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright is rated for its ‘very good level of service’. Jane Clayton (who ‘takes a very practical approach and is very transparent and personable’) advises fund sponsors and investors.

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