Firm Profile > Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP > Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
United Arab Emirates

Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations Tier 1

US sanctions are the core strength of the team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, covering compliance advice and whistleblower-triggered investigations ranging from the post-JCPOA climate on Iran through to the more recent blackballing of certain Chinese telecoms companies. Mac Fadlallah, who also has FCPA expertise, is a key name in the practice in Dubai, which acts for some of corporate America's biggest names as well as European companies in sensitive sectors, and Natasha Kohne in Abu Dhabi. Associate Johann Strauss has sanctions expertise in this space.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah


‘Practical and straightforward advice.’

‘The team has in-depth knowledge of the relevant subject matters, including OFAC sanctions and how they impact US and non-US companies. In addition to knowing the law, they also know the practice around it and know how other market players are dealing with the matters. Such knowledge is invaluable.’

‘Mac Fadlallah is focussed, precise, prompt and, above all, very helpful.’

‘Mac Fadlallah has a deep and broad knowledge about US sanctions and how they affect both US and non-US companies.’

Key clients

Emirates Global Aluminium

Al Yah Satellite Communications

Capital markets Tier 3

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP established an impressive debt capital markets practice with the hire of highly regarded partner Rizwan Kanji and experienced counsel Hamed Afzal from King & Spalding LLP in 2019. The team has a focus on high-end work, including market firsts, with an emphasis on sukuk issuances, and is noted for its 'quick turnaround times' and 'solutions-driven approach'.

Practice head(s):

Rizwan Kanji


Quality of advice, availability, quick turnaround times, ability to think outside the box and provide a solutions-driven approach.

Key clients

Islamic Development Bank

Al Bilad Capital

Ashmore Investments Saudi Arabia

Emirates NBD Capital

Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi A.S.

BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Limited

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector

Bank ABC


Warba Bank K.S.C.P

Maisarah Islamic Bank

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 3

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has carved out a niche for advising government entities on sensitive corporate and commercial matters in the UAE. The Abu Dhabi-based corporate practice is headed by Wael Jabsheh, who, since March 2019, has also occupied the position of managing partner of the Abu Dhabi office. Natasha Kohne is a key member of the team. Chadi Salloum left for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

Wael Jabsheh

Key clients

Image Nation Abu Dhabi FZ LLC

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC)

Farah Experiences LLC

Firm overview: Recognised for its sophisticated clients and capabilities as well as its outstanding team of legal professionals, Akin Gump is a global law firm, with 20 offices and more than 1,000 lawyers and advisors, advising across a wide range of practices and industries. The firm is well known for its commercial approach and its commitment to client service. With its innovative leadership, the firm has made a swift rise to the top of the profession.

Global Offices
Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi office includes lawyers with broad experience in fields ranging from traditional strengths including corporate, energy and public policy to more contemporary experience including renewable energy, intellectual property, cybersecurity, investment funds, information technology, national security and dispute resolution.

Beijing: The Beijing office advises Chinese companies and foreign investors in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and other transactional matters, as well as helping clients to obtain necessary approvals for foreign investment into the United States, China and elsewhere. Akin Gump lawyers are well-equipped to help clients navigate both U.S. and Chinese law and assist clients in relation to both inbound and outbound transactions and investments.

Dubai: Akin Gump in Dubai focuses on advising public and private sector clients across a range of practice areas including energy, oil and gas, antibribery; economic sanctions and other international trade controls, debt and equity capital markets, Islamic and conventional finance, corporate mergers and acquisitions, public policy, investment funds, dispute resolution, construction and engineering, entertainment, as well as other economic activity in the region.

Frankfurt: Located in one of the most active centres for finance activity, Akin Gump’s Frankfurt office focuses on high-profile financial restructurings, corporate and finance transactions and regulatory matters throughout Germany, Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe.

Geneva: The Geneva office serves as a platform for the firm’s international trade practice in relation to the World Trade Organization and other Geneva-based international organisations. Akin Gump’s lawyers in Geneva also offer a wide range of international legal services in relation to financial, regulatory, international arbitration and litigation matters.

Hong Kong: The firm’s Hong Kong office advises international and pan-Asian US and international clients with interests in China and greater Asia. The firm’s lawyers have extensive experience counseling Asian and other international clients on corporate M&A, investigations and anti-corruption, finance and financial restructuring, global energy transactions, international trade and compliance, investment funds, litigation and dispute resolution.
*The firm’s legal entity in Hong Kong is Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a firm of solicitors which is regulated by the Law Society of Hong Kong.

London: The London office is the main hub for Akin Gump’s international practice. Core strengths include financial restructuring, corporate (including M&A and joint ventures) and private equity transactions, finance (including debt finance and project finance), energy, debt and equity capital markets, financial services regulatory, disputes, international arbitration, investment management (including hedge funds and private equity funds), international trade, EU competition and tax.

Moscow: The Moscow office is the base for the firm’s practice in Russia and the CIS. Lawyers from the Moscow office work closely with Akin Gump lawyers and policy advisors in other offices around the world to advise clients with respect to transactions in Russia and worldwide; mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures (often in relation to energy and telecommunications), project finance, international arbitration and litigation and complex public law and policy matters.

Singapore: The Singapore office advises US and international clients doing business in Singapore or through its markets and across South and South East Asia. Lawyers have deep experience advising international clients in project finance, investment management (including hedge fund and private equity funds), as well as regional and global energy related transactions.

Department Name Email Telephone
Dispute resolution, arbitration and international litigation Natasha Kohne
Commercial, corporate and M&A Wael Jabsheh
TMT Wael Jabsheh
International Trade Mahmoud Fadlallah
Sanctions and Export Controls Mahmoud Fadlallah
Compliance and Investigations Mahmoud Fadlallah
Capital Markets Rizwan Kanji
Debt capital markets Rizwan Kanji
Banking and Finance Rizwan Kanji
Islamic finance Rizwan Kanji
Energy and infrastructure Julian Nichol
Iraq Julian Nichol
Construction Hamish Lal
Dispute resolution, arbitration and international litigation Hamish Lal
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Dinmukhamed Eshanov  photo Mr Dinmukhamed Eshanov
Mr Wael Jabsheh  photo Mr Wael Jabsheh
Ms Natasha Kohne  photo Ms Natasha Kohne
Firmwide lawyers and advisors : 1,000+
UAE lawyers : 10+
Other offices : Beijing
Other offices : Dallas
Other offices : Dubai
Other offices : Fort Worth
Other offices : Frankfurt
Other offices : Geneva
Other offices : Hartford
Other offices : Hong Kong
Other offices : Houston
Other offices : Irvine
Other offices : London
Other offices : Los Angeles
Other offices : Moscow
Other offices : New York
Other offices : Philadelphia
Other offices : San Antonio
Other offices : San Francisco
Other offices : Singapore
Other offices : Washington DC

Diversity and Inclusion

At Akin Gump, we believe that the various perspectives and experiences of our lawyers and staff help us achieve exceptional results for our clients and bring important insights into all aspects of the firm. Our diversity strategy includes the following goal areas: leadership commitment, recruiting and diversity pipeline, professional development and inclusive workplaces, and strategic partnerships.

Firmwide Resource Groups

Our firm sponsors seven firmwide resource groups (FRG) for lawyers focused on Abilities, Asian, Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Parents/Caregivers, and Women. These FRGs compliment the firm’s efforts related to recruiting, professional development, and fostering inclusive workplaces. They are voluntary and open to all attorneys.

Firmwide and Local Inclusion Councils

Akin Gump has a firmwide Inclusion Council to guide the execution of the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy. We also have local inclusion councils in each U.S. office, as well as in London. Inclusion councils offer a forum for lawyers and personnel to proactively communicate ideas to firm management and to recommend additional initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion at the firm.

Family Friendly Policies

Akin Gump recognizes the importance of supporting our lawyers through policies and programs that enable them to effectively manage and integrate work, family, and other responsibilities. The firm has a Reduced Work Schedule Policy, which allows all lawyers to work reduced schedules and remain on partnership track. In particular, we have a significant track record of promotions of women who have availed themselves of the policy.

We also have an Agile Work Program that recognizes that agile work arrangements play an important role in providing excellent client service at the highest levels while also providing flexibility for our lawyers.

The firm has partnered with Bright Horizon’s Family Solutions to offer our employees care for children and dependent adults.

Pro bono

Our lawyers defend human rights by representing asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and the nongovernmental organizations that assist them. Our pro bono matters include significant public interest litigation, legislative counseling, poverty law and transactions, both large and small, in every one of Akin Gump’s offices.


The London office of Akin Gump has long sought to establish and sustain a diverse work environment where all members of the Akin Gump community can thrive and grow. In addition to our London inclusion council, we have chapters of our firmwide resource groups to support our LGBT, BAME and women lawyers and to ensure that our initiatives support family and caregivers and that we maintain a culture that sees differences as strength. Through our FRGs we host events to build awareness among our lawyers and staff, such as panels on resilience in the practice of law and neurodiversity in the work place. We also host social events through these groups to provide our lawyers with the opportunity to get to know each other better.

We also work with local professional, social and cultural organizations on a grassroots basis. We are proud sponsors of City Year UK as well as the Social Mobility Foundation, Aspiring Solicitors, and Vital Voices.