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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 > Shipping > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Who Represents Who

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Al Tamimi & Company, which strikes a balance between contentious and non-contentious work, impresses with its ‘great knowledge of the law and the workings of local administrative bodies’. UAE transport and insurance head Omar Omar has ‘broad shipping expertise’ and recently acted on several vessel acquisitions. Yazan Al Saoudi is ‘very responsive’. Clients include Drydocks World Dubai and United Arab Shipping Company.

Clyde & Co LLP’s signature shipping practice is well represented in the UAE, where it advises on a comprehensive spread of regulatory, transactional and contentious work. Following the departure of Christopher Jobson to Hong Kong, Robert Lawrence now leads the MENA international trade and transportation group — he is highly regarded for dispute resolution and arbitration. Trade and commodities expert Patrick Murphy and transactional specialist Ian Chung are also recommended.

HFW is noted for its ‘breadth of expertise across wet and dry shipping and insurance matters’. The department’s client roster is equally comprehensive and includes shipowners, charterers and operators, P&I clubs, cargo owners and banks. Group head Yaman Al Hawamdeh is a key contact for litigation, while ‘recognised expert’ Tien Tai is sought after for ship finance. Richard Strub, who heads the Middle East commodities practice, is also a senior figure.

The ‘top-tier shipping practice’ at Ince works alongside the firm’s offshore, insurance and trade practices to cover all the bases in maritime law. Managing partner Rania Tadros is a ‘market leader’ and advised Abu Dhabi National Tanker Company and National Gas Shipping Company, as the owners and managers of several vessels, on the bankruptcy of OW Bunker. Pavlo Samothrakis, whose practice spans shipping, trade and offshore matters, and litigator Mohamed El Hawawy are also noted.

Stephenson Harwood scores highly for its ‘good knowledge of the local environment’. Dubai managing partner Rovine Chandrasekera handles shipping disputes and his expertise encompasses asset recovery, trade and offshore energy. Edward Newitt, ‘a brilliant lawyer and one of the few who can cross the wet/dry divide’, advised Maersk Line and Standard P&I Club on UAE matters related to the fire on the Maersk Honam. Nijoe Joseph and James Willn are also key contacts.

In 2018, Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla boosted its team with the hire of UK-qualified senior associate Kirsty Cattanach, who is particularly well versed in dry shipping issues. Maritime and insurance specialist Tarek Saad leads a group that acts on a mix of litigation, casualty and transactional matters.

Fichte & Co. impresses with its ‘deep legal knowledge’ and ‘commercial approach to resolving disputes’ — it also advises on transactional matters. Jasamin Fichte and Alessandro Tricoli are highlighted together as ‘hands-on and responsive’. The team also includes shipping litigation head Ravi Jawani. Gulf Energy Maritime and National Bank of Fujairah are among its clients.

At Hadef & Partners LLC, shipping and insurance-related disputes provide the bulk of instructions. Among its recent cases, key contact Adrian Chadwick was appointed arbitrator on a significant cargo claim. Court litigation head Omar Al Shaikh and high-profile litigator Richard Briggs are also names to note. The group also handles regulatory, transactional and environmental matters.

Highly regarded for its transactional prowess, Watson Farley & Williams bolstered its contentious capability with the hire of Charlotte Bijlani — formerly international arbitration head at Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla. Finance specialist Andrew Baird heads the group and advised Gulf International Bank Bahrain, as agent, and a syndicate of banks on a $180m ship financing.

Afridi & Angell’s group is led by Bashir Ahmed — ‘a well-rounded lawyer with thorough knowledge of the maritime industry’. Maritime disputes are the mainstay of the practice but it also handles regulatory, transactional and environmental matters. Clients include Steamship Mutual – P&I Club and National Bank of Fujairah.

Dentons’ focus on ship finance pays dividends and it secures plum roles on many of the market’s most significant deals — for both local and foreign lenders including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and RBS. Department lead Paul Jarvis is a sought-after transactional specialist.

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