TMT in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company has a full-service practice that covers technology, media, telecoms, data privacy and cybersecurity. The practice has a broad client base with a particular emphasis on government-affiliated clients. Practice head Martin Hayward has a strong background in cloud computing and telecoms. Abdullah Mutawi focuses on corporate finance and cross-border M&A in the technology and telecoms sectors. Telecoms regulatory specialist Andrew Fawcett is based in Abu Dhabi. Senior associate Krishna Jhala is also noted and focuses on privacy and data protection, IT and telecoms. Haroun Khwaja left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Abdullah Mutawi; Andrew Fawcett; Krishna Jhala

Testimonials

‘They have a good mix of private practice lawyers and former in-house lawyers who know the market and industry very well. That works very well for clients as the advice needs to be practical, support in negotiation strategy and get to the crux of the matter.’

‘Easy to approach, they can explain complex topic in easy language. Andrew Fawcett and Martin Hayward are excellent advisors.’

Key clients

Rotana Media Group

Ciena Communications, Inc.

Lals Group

Global Ventures and Proximie Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Ciena, a US publicly listed telecoms solutions provider, across the Middle East on all its high worth commercial transaction work with its telecoms operator and government clients.
  • Assisted Lals Group with its digital transformation and its mandate to bring its world class shopping experience to consumers online.
  • Provided a global cloud service provider with insight into data localisation and sovereignty issues in the cloud sector across Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has an active presence in the technology, fintech, telecoms, media, sports and entertainment sectors and advises clients on contentious and non-contentious issues. Paul Allen is as the global co-chair of the intellectual property and technology practice. Jamie Ryder heads the intellectual property and technology practice in the Middle East; he has particular expertise advising major broadcasters, media organisations and international film studios. Eamon Holley and legal director Rami Zayat are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Paul Allen; Jamie Ryder

Other key lawyers:

Eamon Holley; Rami Zayat

Testimonials

‘The team has excellent up to date knowledge on legislative position and legislative developments in GCC region.’

The team brought clarity and thorough insight into working within the Gulf region.’

‘Always willing to discuss matters and find pragmatic solutions.

Eamon Holley is a committed and highly professional legal expert in his field.

‘Eamon Holley: very knowledgeable in respect of telecoms and data protection law in the GCC states; excellent at understanding and providing contractual scenarios; excellent at making complex contractual set ups accessible using diagrams; creative thinking in relation to technical regulatory and contract issues; extremely responsive. flexible; easy to deal with; great contacts in GCC region.’

Key clients

Etihad

Gulf Finance House

OSN

Arab Bank

Zip Co

Work highlights

  • Advised a Middle East utilities company on its strategic investment in a global leader in operational technology and internet of things security solutions.
  • Advised digital retail finance and payments company Zip Co on its strategic investment in Spotii, a buy now, pay later (BNPL) interest-free payments platform.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP combines its finance and M&A expertise with its in-depth TMT sector knowledge. The practice also advises non-TMT sector clients on outsourcing, technology procurement and e-commerce. Practice head Tom Butcher has a broad TMT practice and advises clients on complex technology and implementation projects, outsourcings and e-commerce matters. Senior associate Ravinder Mattu is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Tom Butcher

Other key lawyers:

Ravinder Mattu

Testimonials

‘The team is very knowledgeable and good to work with.’

‘Tom Butcher is a leading individual and for good reason. He is able to quickly and accurately distill the major issues to ensure transactions progress without undue cost being incurred. He’s also a great person to deal with.’

Key clients

Mubadala

MTN

Hub71

Rubicon Technology Partners and Cin7 Americas

Saudi Aramco

Abu Dhabi Global Market

NEOM

Group 42

Technology Innovation Institute

Finance House

Khazna

Lean Business Services

Injazat Data Services

Emirates Global Aluminum

Etisalat

TAQA

Work highlights

  • Advised Mubadala ion its acquisition of a 20% stake in Group 42, an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company which focuses on the evolution of AI industries across a number of sectors.
  • Advising Malaffi on various data protection and commercial matters relating to its mandate as a health information exchange for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, Hub71 on a broad range of TMT-related legal issues.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird advises government agencies and international clients on a broad range of commercial, projects and regulatory-related matters in the field of TMT. Dubai-based David Bintliff heads the TMT practice and is a go-to adviser for digital transformation.

Practice head(s):

David Bintliff

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has in-depth knowledge of international data regulations and advises its international client base on compliance and emerging regional legislation. The firm advises leading technology, IT software and telecoms companies, as well as non-TMT clients on digital innovation. Practice head Dino Wilkinson has a well-established presence in the region and advises clients on IT and outsourcing, data protection, cybersecurity, e-commerce and TMT advisory and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Dino Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:

Masha Ooijevaar

Testimonials

Clydes provides uniform quality of advice across the GCC.

Having expertise within multiple GCC countries is extremely valuable for companies with a cross GCC presence.

Masha Ooijevaar – is very patient and explains complex topics well. She is very responsive and provides practical as well as technical legal advice.

Dino Wilkinson – is very knowledgeable in his field and provides practical, easy to understand advice.

Masha and Dino are also very good at presenting complex topics to non lawyers.

Key clients

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority

Salama Insurance (Islamic Arab Insurance Co PSC)

Wall Street Exchange Centre LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Dubai International Financial Centre on the drafting of its Data Protection Law (DIFC Law No.5 of 2020) together with associated regulations, guidance and policy papers.
  • Advised a Dubai-based multinational direct-broadcast satellite provider on the development of a business-wide data protection compliance programme.  
  • Advising Wall Street Exchange Centre LLC on negotiations with a vendor for the design, build, implementation and maintenance of a new core IT system.  

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Simmons & Simmons Middle East has a team of 'genuine professionals' within its full-service TMT offering. The practice handles compliance, private equity and venture capital transactions, M&A and intellectual property. Technology is a key sector of focus, with other areas of expertise including media, telecoms, video gaming and satellites. Practice head Raza Rizvi is a TMT specialist and has a strong interest in fintech. James Coleman works closely with Rizvi and advises on TMT-related corporate transactions. Managing associate Nick Roudev is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Raza Rizvi

Other key lawyers:

James Coleman; Nick Roudev

Testimonials

‘The team works harmoniously together addressing every request, enquiry or advice with an attitude that goes beyond the expected understanding, timing and professionalism.’

‘In short, they make your life easy by simplifying things for you while addressing every matter with required knowledge and experience in addition to a professional attitude.’

‘You feel you are special to them and that your request is promptly addressed because they really care.’

‘They are genuinely entirely engaged to make you feel always special and protected and that your request is always adequately addressed and followed up accordingly.’

‘Great genuine professionals.’

Key clients

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company

MTN

DXC Technology

Honeywell Inc,.

Dyson

Toyota Connected

UAE Banks Federation

Sarwa Digital Wealth Limited

BlackRock

Ripple Labs

eWallet

C2FO

Monimove

Postpay Technology Limited

Bigo Tech Pte

Makeen Advisors

Amazon Prime Video

American Express

ADNOC

Work highlights

  • Assisted DXC Technology with end-to-end legal, commercial and regulatory support relating to the design and build of the region’s largest and most ambitious payments project.
  • Advised Honeywell on its ‘connected’ business unit and its ambitions around ‘industrial’ Internet of Things (IoT).

The Bench

The Bench has extensive TMT experience with considerable expertise in the fintech and e-commerce space. The practice also has strong in-house experience. Founding partner Joby Beretta has a strong TMT background in both private and in-house work. Chris Appleby is also noted and has a standout IT practice with expertise in large-scale systems integration, outsourcing and government procurement. Other key names to mention include Ahmed Thabet, Jouhayna Amr and Kelly Tymburski.

Practice head(s):

Joby Beretta; Chris Appleby

Other key lawyers:

Ahmed Thabet; Kelly Tymburski; Jouhayna Amr

Testimonials

‘Flexibility in accommodating ad hoc work.

‘Provide sound legal work at competitive prices and innovative billing models.’

‘The Bench is unique in that they provide accurate advice at a competitive rate while maintaining a high level of industry and market awareness.’

‘Joby Beretta, founder and managing partner of The Bench provides timely and accurate advice that reveals his knowledge of the industry and the latest market trends.’

‘Joby Beretta is personable, professional, and quick to add value without taking too much unnecessary time.’

Key clients

Virgin Mobile Middle East & North Africa

International Hotels Group (IHG)

International Payment Systems (IPS)

Nomad Media Group

VentureFriends

Monimove

LifeOnScreen

Endace

Accor Hotels

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

Work highlights

  • Advised Beside Group on the launch of the first Diesel e-commerce store in the region.
  • Advised Athens-based VentureFriends on a successful investment in the UAE-based online mortgage platform Huspy.
  • Advised Monimove on various fintech agreements including a partnership with Emirates NBD to support SMEs with their innovative supply chain solutions.

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP advises across the full range of TMT and represents a number of multinational technology and media companies, including the likes of Delivery Hero and Discovery Channel. The practice is led by Nadim Bardawil, who advises clients from start-ups to government entities on IT procurement, tech M&A and e-commerce.

Practice head(s):

Nadim Bardawil

Other key lawyers:

Rima Mrad

Testimonials

‘The TMT team at BSA are very responsive, innovative in their legal solutions and provide first-class quality legal services.’

‘Partner Nadim Bardawil is very-well versed in technology files and is always up to date on the latest developments in the sector.’

Very proactive and pragmatic in their advice and able to hold their own even amongst global firms. They are available and diligently pursue their client’s interest and they have strong regional roots which they celebrate.’

Nadim Bardawil – highly astute, able and approachable. Nadim is our first call for TMT and corporate matters. He is incredibly hard working always available to us. We consider him a trusted and valued advisor.’

Rima Mrad – an excellent M&A and regulatory advisor. We have consulted Rima on a number of occasions and we are always impressed by her. Rima delivers direct advice on what is possible not theoretical and she has been very helpful in assisting us with establishing our firm in the region.’

Key clients

Delivery Hero SE

Discovery Channel

Eleks Software

Tokio Marine

Talabat

SH Capital

Novo Cinemas

Rising Giants Network

HCL Technologies

X-Trade Brokers

Baraka Financial Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel for Delivery Hero SE on the $360m acquisition of InstaShop Ltd.
  • Advised Discovery on all legal requirements to create and launch an OTT-SVOD platform in the Middle East and assisted with a regulatory due diligence in the UAE, KSA, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • Assisted Eleks Software with its strategic entry into the Middle East by establishing a presence in the UAE.

Cedar White Bradley IP LLP

Cedar White Bradley IP LLP's key clients in the TMT sector includes radio broadcasters, telecoms providers, professional sports leagues and software developers. Fiona Robertson , who joined the firm in 2021 from Al Tamimi & Company, advises across the full spectrum of media and entertainment law.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Robertson

Testimonials

Fiona Robertson – our go-to lawyer for media, entertainment, and IP issues in the Middle East.

From her base in Dubai, Fiona Robertson’s able to assist our clients with legal issues that arise across the Middle East.

Fiona Robertson is an excellent substantive lawyer, a wise and practical counsellor, and an excellent collaborator.

Work highlights

  • Advised ESMAA on undertaking the first public performance licence for music in the UAE, in a multi-layered, multimillion-dollar deal with Expo 2020.
  • Advised Vice Media on a multimillion-dollar content deal in Saudi, navigating the local laws and, in particular, government procurement issues in IP contracts.
  • Provided advice on IP holding entities and drafting angel investment agreements with a mandate to provide full advice on production and distribution of a feature film to be produced in the UAE with an Emirati director and writer.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has an active presence in the TMT space with in-depth expertise in media, entertainment and events. The team represents media companies, broadcasters, sports bodies and individuals, actors and performers and celebrities. Practice head Mark Hill has extensive TMT experience and advises a broad range of clients in the media, art and luxury, sports and communications space. Senior associate Lara Haidar is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hill

Other key lawyers:

Lara Haidar

Testimonials

CRS LLP is an international law firm of excellent reputation and performance.’

‘Other than their soundness in handling matters in an extremely professional manner, the team’s strengths are in communication, understanding local culture, and their ability to help the client in overcoming complicated international and local legal matters. They are keen to provide honest feedback and practical advice.’

The individuals that I work with are legally sound, they conduct their work professionally, and are always there for us. Mark Hill is definitely one who has always been in support and service for us. Lara Haidar has also been great with us.’

Key clients

Image Nation Abu Dhabi

Sacha Jafri

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)

Creative Technology Middle East

Patricia Millns

Racing Green Pictures Limited

Historylies Limited

CSM Middle East

Republic of Design Events LLC

International Cricket Council (ICC)

Ajman Independent Studios

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)

Immersive Group

Mediapro Group

Back 9 Solutions

SM Productions

Caviar Creative

Voltage Pictures

TRA Bahrain

Growl Media

Boomtown Productions add above

Downrange Production

Emblem Consulting DMCC (MBLM)

Republic of Design Events LLC

Work highlights

  • Appointed as a panel firm for the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 (Q22).
  • Advising Sacha Jafri, a contemporary British artist, on intellectual property issues relating to his artwork.
  • Advising a high-profile international rock star on a range of TMT issues.

CMS

CMS has a 'very pragmatic approach' when handling TMT matters and its practice covers fintech, corporate TMT, outsourcing, software licensing and development. Fintech specialist Karim Fawaz heads the practice. Legal director Ben Gibson, who joined the firm in January 2021 from Clyde & Co LLP, specialises in commercial technology projects and data protection.

Practice head(s):

Karim Fawaz

Other key lawyers:

Ben Gibson

Testimonials

Very pragmatic approach, able to give a good perspective on issues from both a local regional and international viewpoint.’

Ben Gibson has been very helpful and has given very thorough, accessible and practical advice and guidance, covering all the points I was looking to address and within a reasonable fee quote.’

Key clients

STC Pay

Amazon

Al Rajhi Bank

Mobily

Bytedance / Tiktok

Aldar Properties

Etihad Rail

Nuvei

Ripae Tech Consult

Mamopay

Binance

166 2nd

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Misty Robotics

ekar

FTI Consulting / Delta Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising Saudi Digital Payments Company (STC Pay) on its transition to become a digital bank and on the investment by Western Union with a post-money valuation of SAR 5bn.
  • Advising Amazon UAE on all aspects of the legal compliance of its consumer engagement model (including e-commerce, technology, product liability, tax, data protection, payments regulation).
  • Advising Delta Partners on the MENA Hub project by Saudi Telecommunications Company.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Eversheds Sutherland LLP has a global TMT offering that is ‘agile, efficient‘ and delivers with ‘exceptional speed‘. The team has a broad practice; from assisting multinationals with corporate TMT, to advising government entities on the regulatory framework. Practice head Nasser Ali Khasawneh has a ‘deep understanding‘ of the TMT sector, with experience advising a regional central bank on aspects of cryptocurrency regulations and governance. Principal associate Christine Khoury and associate Ricardo Christie are also noted. Erica Werneman Root is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Nasser Ali Khasawneh

Other key lawyers:

Christine Khoury; Ricardo Christie

Testimonials

‘The firm truly understands our business despite it being niche.’

‘They are able to deliver concise advice and with exceptional speed on any matter be it corporate, commercial, IP etc.’

‘They possess a great team working ability, i.e. able to efficiently liaise with different branches globally.’

‘Christine Khoury is our main contact point for all matters handled by Eversheds. She has all the qualities of a great lawyer in private practice. Responsive, meticulous, technically astute and proactive are just a few of her merits.’

‘Christine Khoury is different because she will never compromise on the quality of work or her integrity no matter how ridiculous our requests were. A definite value adding counsel.’

Eversheds team is always available, ready to help, agile, efficient and able to deliver a great work product.’

‘We often work against very tight deadlines and I am always impressed to see how Nasser allocates the right resources at very short notice and gives his personal time to make sure we move fast and deliver very high quality input to our stakeholders.’

‘They are curious to understand our business model, provide practical and concise advice that I can literally “plug and play” which alleviates a lot of strain on our in-house team.’

Key clients

Dimension 14

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG has a range of expertise that covers digital payments, cyber security, digital transformation projects, e-commerce, AI, blockchain, fintech, telecoms regulatory and data protection. Practice head Alexandre Brazeau can be 'relied upon' for digital transformation projects and technology procurement matters. Senior associate Sanjita Roy is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Brazeau

Other key lawyers:

Sanjita Roy

Testimonials

The Gowling team really spend the time getting to know the clients and how their business works so that they can advise the team seamlessly.’

‘The team is very approachable and responsive to all questions.’

‘They take the time to make good relationships with the business teams.’

Alexandre is a very personable member of the team. He can be relied upon to understand the business and offer workable commercial solutions.’

Key clients

Museum of the Future

Dubai Future Foundation

Infinity Art Museum (Infinity des Lumières)

Nuvei

Work highlights

  • Advised Dubai Future foundation on technology procurement projects to support its innovation strategy.
  • Advised the Museum of the Future on technology projects, including software development and licensing, hardware procurement, systems integration projects and technology transfers.
  • Advised Infinity Arts Museum on its compliance with the applicable data protection laws in the Middle East and its commercial requirements.

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

At Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, Kellie Blyth heads the firm's data and technology practice and advises clients in the technology, telecoms and healthcare sectors. Blyth specialises in strategic IT projects and advises clients on the development, commercialisation and implementation of digital and technology solutions.

Practice head(s):

Kellie Blyth

Key clients

Solutions (by STC)

Google (Alphabet Inc.)

Dimensions Healthcare LLC, an IQVIA Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Dimensions as a defendant in a $380m DIFC-LCIA arbitration (seated in the DIFC) against MedImpact.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners has a broad TMT practice that covers M&A, commercial transactions, regulatory, e-commerce and data privacy. Victoria Woods has expertise advising on software development contracts, SAS arrangements, telecoms regulation and data security. James Dunne heads the firm's trade marks and brand protection offering.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Woods; James Dunne; Yasser Omar

Work highlights

  • Advised a UAE enterprise aimed at supporting businesses in the UAE on using cashless and digital payment solutions on UAE regulatory and commercial fintech advice on the roll-out of its new business model locally, and assisted with the preparation of a Master Services Agreement with a leading UAE bank.
  • Advised a US-based electric scooter rental company on a recently launched shared e-scooter service in the UAE and projects involving the RTA.
  • Advised a leading global payments and e-shopping service on establishing its operations in the UAE and expanding its footprint in the Middle East relating to e-payment, credit provision and the software supply regulatory framework of the UAE as part of its analysis of an optimal business model to adopt in entering the local market.

KARM Legal Consultants

A relatively young and 'creative' firm, KARM Legal Consultants is headed by founder, Kokila Alagh and Akshata Namjoshi. The practice is lauded for its 'knowledge of fintech in the region, including what's been happening lately in terms of regulation'. Its expertise ranges across a variety of specialist areas of newer digital technology: blockchain, crypto currencies, AI and data protection and it advises on Exchanges, OTC desks and crowd funding.

Practice head(s):

Kokila Alagh; Akshata Namjoshi

Testimonials

‘The team is exceptional. Kokila is a great lawyer and leader. The team is thorough, quick, precise and knowledgeable. The turnaround is quite great.’

Kokila is very knowledgeable and sharp. The team seems to have a lot of inside knowledge of fintech in the region, including what’s been happening lately in terms of regulation, startups, etc. This helps them to look at each case from different angles and think of creative solutions.’

‘I’ve seen honesty, creativity and desire to provide the best solution possible. The team is exceptional.’

Key clients

Italian Wine Crypto Bank

Distichain Limited

iOWN Group Limited

Project DIFX

Orion Investments Limited

Icecap Limited

Fun Times

Libra Impact Ledger Technologies

Work highlights

  • Advised Italian Wine Crypto Bank in setting up of a portal with associated advice on token issuance for trading and purchase of exemplary and fine Italian wine.
  • Advised Distichain Limited on procurement licence for operating a B2B e-commerce marketplace from UAE. Also advised on issuance of tokens through a corporate vehicle in Singapore and  advised on fundraising rounds from private investors and negotiated fundraising deals.
  • Advising the iOWN Group on obtaining a licence for operating a property based crowdfunding platform regulated by Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE. Also advised on compliance with applicable data protection laws.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP advises on a range of TMT matters, from data privacy and cybersecurity, through to telecoms infrastructure and fintech. Practice head Brian Meenagh is praised by clients for his 'pragmatism'; he advises on fintech, outsourcing, cloud computing, digital and telecoms technology.

Practice head(s):

Brian Meenagh

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Hendry

Testimonials

‘Brian Meenagh brings hands on pragmatism to any negotiation. The depth of his experience both on vendor and customer side smooths negotiations and brings common sense to the negotiating table.’

‘Alex Hendry is an upcoming star of the practice in Dubai.’

‘Latham & Watkin’s depth of experience in the TMT space across the MENA region makes them a cut above everyone else in the market.’

‘LW enjoys an unparalleled depth of experience advising international and regional enterprises as well as regulators and governments on the entire spectrum of TMT subject matter.’

‘In addition to being a subject matter expert, Brian Meenagh’s cool, calm and collected demeanor makes him particularly well suited as a source of level headed advice in the most sensitive and pressing of situations.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)

Saudi Arabian Football Federation

Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia

Air Products & Chemicals

Ernst & Young

TruKKer

Swvl, Inc.

Sary Yes

Sanabil Direct Investments Company

Lyve

Tamara

Newbridge Fintech

STC Ventures

Tendrd

Bayzat

Kitopi

Sehati

Work highlights

  • Advising AMC on the authorisation by MTS for CargoX to be the Blockchain Document Transfer (BDT) gateway for Egypt’s Advance Cargo Information System (ACI), by registering and transferring the shipping documents with Ethereum technology.
  • Advising the Saudi Arabian Football Federation on all aspects of its bid to host the 2027 Asian Cup and associated commercial arrangements.
  • Advised Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) on the procurement of a cloud-based SaaS enterprise resource planning and project management solution in collaboration with Kahua.