TMT in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

At Al Tamimi & Company, practice head Martin Hayward handles various government technology, data protection and IT outsourcing matters, as well as having expertise in 5G telecoms infrastructure projects. Abdullah Mutawi is a key name for venture capital and emerging companies and, as the firm's head of sports law Steve Bainbridge, advises on bringing a number of prestige events to the region. Among the firm's senior counsels, Australian-qualified and Dari-speaking Haroun Khwaja handles software licencing matters among other matters and Andrew Fawcett has particular expertise in the Internet of Things. Krishna Jhala in Abu Dhabi is a notable senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Abdullah Mutawi; Steve Bainbridge; Haroun Khwaja; Krishna Jhala

Testimonials

‘This is the best law firm in the region. What makes it unique is the internationally qualified and competitive lawyers, the network of law firms in the region able to give incisive legal advice in a number of jurisdictions, and the combination of a regional law firm with international aspirations and qualifications ’

‘A special mention to Abdullah Mutawi who is brilliant and creative and utterly committed to his clients. He is a leader in M&A, telecoms and media, and digital and has a keen understanding of the business. He is able to advise not simply on the legal matters but to put them in a broader business context ’

‘The depth of knowledge the team has across the relevant industries, combined with sharing and incorporating the very latest information and developments needed to provide a holistic picture.’

‘Having the breadth of experience across the industry allows Abdullah Mutawi to provide consistent clear and concise counsel. His subject matter expertise and eye for detail demands a level of trust only a few individuals can deliver.’

Key clients

Jaguar Land Rover

Image Nation

Nomura International

Ciena

SAP

Microsoft

Bain

Vice Media

Rotana

Amazon Studios

Arabian Radio Network

Work highlights

  • Advising a central bank in relation to the development of a future-ready financial markets payment infrastructure (including instant payments platform).
  • Advised alongside Bain and Accenture on the foundation and design phases of a multimillion-dollar regional business-to-business ecommerce platform, to be based in the UAE.
  • Advising a Japanese telecoms operator on the laws relating to telematics in the GCC region, in the context of the contemplated launch of a connected car solution.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper provides a full service across all three columns of TMT, spanning from digital transformation through to media law. Paul Allen heads the media and technology practice, contributing expertise in fintech as well as business-critical IT outsourcing matters. Jamie Ryder contributes media and entertainment expertise, and Eamon Holley handles varied work including data protection, telecoms and the internet of things. The firm acts for notable businesses spanning sectors including broadcasting, aviation and telecoms, with many clients publicly owned or government-linked. Michigan-admitted Rami Zayat is a notable legal director.

Practice head(s):

Paul Allen

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Ryder; Eamon Holley; Rami Zayat

Testimonials

‘In my experience this team has demonstrated outstanding customer service, flexible service delivery and a high level of technical expertise in specialist areas such as GDPR and the digital visitor experience. They seem to be able to attract and retain high quality overseas European-trained staff well-suited to advise increasingly globalized operations based in the UAE. ’

‘Jamie Ryder is an outstanding relationship partner. He puts in huge amounts of overtime when needed to meet client demands. Listens carefully and is responsive. Mobilises the right resources for the job. A great asset to the DLA team.’

‘DLA has a team that put itself in the shoes of their clients, understands the way they think, act and speak and thereby provides a unique client centric service.’

‘Paul Allen: the one stop shop ambassador of DLA, have the right person at his finger tips if he cannot assist in the matter himself. Paul is able to discuss in every client language the client concern.’

Key clients

Al Futtaim

Etihad

GFH (Gulf Finance House)

OSN

Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC)

Vodafone

Work highlights

  • Advised a regional bank on developing its GDPR compliance programme.

Allen & Overy LLP

At Allen & Overy LLP, Tom Butcher in Abu Dhabi handles a range of work, spanning buy-side software licencing and cloud computing deals, data protection, cloud computing, fintech and telecoms. He is regularly supported by senior associate Rachael Ashley.

Practice head(s):

Tom Butcher

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Ashley

Work highlights

  • Advising Malaffi on the implementation of a health information exchange system in Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising MTN on purchasing technology from Oracle.
  • Advising Alipay on regulatory issues regarding its payment services business in the Middle East.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's David Bintliff heads a practice covering a broad range of work, including matters concerning cloud computing, both elite and mass participation sporting events, entertainment on demand, data protection and telecoms. At senior associate level Christopher Eklund and Lena El-Malak, who was previously in-house at Microsoft, are key names.

Practice head(s):

David Bintliff

Other key lawyers:

Lena El-Malak; Christopher Eklund

Clyde & Co LLP

The key name for technology work at Clyde & Co LLP in the Middle East, Dino Wilkinson's work includes advice on transformative software and outsourcing deals, as well as data protection and media regulation work in the UAE and elsewhere in the region. He frequently works with senior associate Ben Gibson.

Practice head(s):

Dino Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:

Ben Gibson

Testimonials

‘A great and large team’

‘Dino is great asset to Clydes in the Middle East region.’

Key clients

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA)

Martrust

Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)

Nissan

Majid Al Futtaim Holdings

Abu Dhabi Terminals

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD)

Accenture

EY

PwC

McKinsey

Barilla

Work highlights

  • Sole external counsel to the DIFC Authority in relation to the planning, public consultation and drafting phases of the new DIFC data protection law.
  • Advising Nissan on the contractual arrangements for the licensing and deployment across its third party dealership network of the Carma Car app software and applications necessary to provide an online pay-as-you-use car rental service.
  • Advising Barilla on engagement terms for influencers in the Middle East, requirements for advertising notices on social media, licensing of social media influencers and general content restrictions under UAE laws

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

Raza Rizvi is the key contact for hi-tech matters in the Middle East at Simmons & Simmons Middle East. His recent instructions have covered the regulations concerning the internet of things, novel e-payment projects (including ones focusing on remittances), cloud computing and digital assets. Nick Roudev is a notable managing associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Raza Rizvi

Other key lawyers:

Nick Roudev

Testimonials

‘They provide good practical advice without compromising on the legalities involved.’

Key clients

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du)

MTN

DXC Technology

EA Sports

Honeywell Inc

Dyson

Toyota Connected

VEON

VMWare

BlackRock

Ripple Labs

The Bench

The Bench, spearheaded by its founder Joby Beretta and structured on a consultancy basis, handles a range of work across the TMT space, covering artificial intelligence, software as a service, radio spectrum, telecoms regulation and other matters. Senior consultants Ahmed Thabet, Chris Appleby, Kelly Tymburski and Jouhayna Amr have led notable mandates, often concerning payments and data protection.

Practice head(s):

Joby Beretta; Chris Appleby

Other key lawyers:

Ahmed Thabet; Kelly Tymburski; Jouhayna Amr

Testimonials

‘The Bench team have true IT industry knowledge with many of the team having substantial in-house experience which we like.’

‘My main contact at the firm is Joby Beretta who has a global perspective having worked in the UK, Middle East and Asia Pacific. He was previously a General Counsel at an IT company and has a masters in IT/Telecom law so understands the tech without the need to dumb it down.’

The most beneficial aspect of The Bench is that they have good experience in the UK/UAE and NZ, but are small enough to leverage that combined knowledge.’

‘I have know Joby Beretta for some time, and trust his advice, opinion & reliability.’

Key clients

Virgin Mobile Middle East & North Africa

International Hotels Group (IHG)

International Payment Systems (IPS)

Nomad Media Group

Accor Hotels

Monimove

LifeOnScreen

Endace

Block Solutions

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

Work highlights

  • Advised JK58 FZE on the production of a major 24-hour live streamed fund-raiser “One Humanity Live”, which included performances by among others Dua Lipa, Jason Derulo and CeeLo Green.
  • Advised Virgin Mobile on mobile financial services agreements and other commercial agreements.
  • Advising Nomad Media Group on sports licence agreements.

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP

BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP's practice, headed by Nadim Bardawil, advises on a broad range of technical regulatory work, for local start-ups and global clients through international firms, covering matters as diverse as new media platforms, fintech, cloud-based products and online content regulation.

Practice head(s):

Nadim Bardawil

Key clients

Novo Cinemas

Azur Digital FZ LLC

Pico International

Discovery Channel

Globacom Technologies LLC

MDX Technologies LLC

Delivery Hero

Panthera Capital Investments LLC

Verizon

Work highlights

  • Advised Globalcom Technologies, an Emirati fintech start-up, on the successful sale of one of its assets to SS&C Technologies Holdings.
  • Advised Panthera Capital, a private equity fund, on its Series A investment in Seccurency, a developer of institutional-grade blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology.
  • Advised Discovery Inc, on the the planning and rolling-out of a brand new SVOD product in the UAE and across the Middle East through one of its subsidiaries Takhayal Television FZ LLC.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP grew its practice in this space through its recruitment of the team from The Rights Lawyers. Mark Hill heads the practice, which advises a number of government-linked and fully private clients, covering sectors including entertainment, live events, sport, software as a service and the internet of things.

CMS

At CMS, Rob Flaws advises on a broad range of technological matters, digital infrastructure in some of the region's frontier markets, data protection, high-value broadcast rights, software outsourcing and SaaS deals.

Practice head(s):

Rob Flaws

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Nasser Ali Khasawneh - global co-head of TMT at Eversheds Sutherland LLP - advises on a range of technical matters, including financial services regulation, digital service providers' co-operation with law enforcement, social media regulation and blockchain-based tools. Erica Werneman Root, a senior associate who sits as part of the firm's disputes practice, has notable expertise in digital-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Nasser Ali Khasawneh

Other key lawyers:

Erica Werneman Root

Gowling WLG

Tony Fielding is Gowling WLG's head of technology in the UAE. His work of late has included blockchain matters, content regulation in the region, software development agreements and artificial intelligence. Alexandre Brazeau is a notable, Ontario-qualified, principal associate.

Practice head(s):

Tony Fielding

Other key lawyers:

Alexandre Brazeau

Key clients

Mashreqbank PSC

Google Middle East

Group 42

SID Consulting

DISC

Work highlights

  • Advising Mashreq Bank and the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) on a blockchain-based “know your customer” system.
  • Advising Group 42 on a procurement agreement with Huawei  concerning AI and “smart city” products.
  • Advising Google on cross-jurisdictional reviews of various key legal and regulatory issues affecting its regional expansion plans and new service implementations.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP's Brian Meenagh focuses on advising on technology transactions covering heavyweight outsourcing transactions, often concerning government projects across the region and international fintech platforms. Technical aspects of regional megaprojects are also a notable area of activity.

Practice head(s):

Brian Meenagh

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)

Banque Saudi Fransi

Sehati

Newbridge Fintech

STC Ventures

Swvl

Tendrd

Bayzat

Kitopi

Work highlights

  • Advising SEHA, the largest healthcare network in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on a joint venture with the Mayo Clinic to operate Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for patients with serious or complex medical conditions.
  • Advised Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) on the drafting and negotiation of a framework services agreement and license agreement with Tata Consultancy Services for the implementation of a core banking solution as well as providing support and maintenance services to BSF.
  • Advising Newbridge on the development and rollout of www.deposit-book.com.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Saleem Adam , head of Trowers & Hamlins LLP' Abu Dhabi office, is the firm's key contact on the ground in the UAE for TMT work. ADNOC is a cornerstone client of the practice in this space, although the firm handles a broader range of data protection, social media marketing and business process outsourcing work for a range of international businesses.

Practice head(s):

Saleem Adam

Testimonials

‘Their application of industry knowledge in the IT sector and their commercial approach is exemplary and extremely helpful in day to day transactions.

Relaxed and informal approach is very refreshing, making them a pleasure to deal with. Incredibly responsive.’

‘Saleem Adam has impressive industry and IT expertise. His ability to distill complex legal issues and market specific positions into clear, concise and commercial advice is second to none.

‘They are very efficient, quick to respond and pay attention to detail. They understand how we work, so we do not have to brief them every single time – they do the needful naturally and every service is tailor-made to our requirements.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Emirates Safer Internet Society

Noor Bank

Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority (twofour54)

Osool Bahrain

Various international conglomerates and law firms

Bahrain Development Bank

Al Futtaim