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

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates > Dispute resolution: compliance and investigations Tier 1

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a broad internal investigations practice that covers securities fraud, accounting irregularities, price-fixing, sanctions and export controls violations. Managing partner Mac Fadlallah heads the practice and is praised by clients for being ‘extremely knowledgeable‘ and ‘technically strong‘. Natasha Kohne is the co-managing partner of the Abu Dhabi office and has an extensive international cybersecurity and data breach investigations practice. Counsel Johann Strauss is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah; Natasha Kohne

Other key lawyers:


‘Mac Fadlallah is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and most of all pragmatic. He is real pleasure to work with.’

‘The team are genuine experts and are viewed as the “go to” team in the region for export controls and international sanctions work.’

‘Both partners and associates have excellent reputations and are creating impressive track records in these increasingly key sectors.’

‘They are well supported by their international offices and, unlike some other firms in the region, are able to leverage a strong integrated international team.’

‘Mac Fadlallah is excellent. Not only technically strong, but also very commercial, he puts his clients’ needs at the forefront of everything he does and is never not available.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a Fortune 500 company in a highly complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation spanning three continents.
  • Acting as primary export controls and sanctions counsel for a leading global freight forwarding and logistics company.
  • Advised Careem on developing and enhancing its internal compliance framework.

United Arab Emirates > Capital markets Tier 3

United Arab Emirates > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 3

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a team of ‘skilled professionals and is particularly recognised for its strength in the area of sovereign investments. Managing partner Wael Jabsheh is ‘highly respected in the corporate space and is a go-to contact for Abu Dhabi-based clients. Associate Mazen Baddar is also noted and his clients include sovereign investors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Dinmukhamed Eshanov left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Wael Jabsheh

Other key lawyers:


‘Akin Gump has a strong team of specialist corporate lawyers who know the ins and outs of multimarket and single market businesses and the factors which affect their legal status.’

‘The team has extensive experience in protecting company’s risk, making appropriate arrangements to suit the needs of companies and handling takeovers, mergers and acquisition.’

‘By working closely with Akin Gump’s team of skilled professionals with expertise in the corporate field, you can be certain that your company remains compliant at all times and that all legal matters are handled appropriately with minimal risk and maximum protection, both financially and legally.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is one of the outstanding lawyers in the region. Thoroughness and proficiency on all types of corporate, commercials and M&A issues.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is always accessible to answer the many questions we have and ensures we are kept informed of any regulatory updates related to our business.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is without a doubt, reliable and very expeditious.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is a top-notch attorney who is highly respected in the legal community.’

Key clients

Ethmar Holdings

Brookfield Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advising NEOM Company on the creation and development of the NEOM project, a $500bn megacity free zone.

United Arab Emirates > Dispute resolution: arbitration and international litigation

The firm: Akin Gump is a global law firm with more than 900 lawyers and advisors who pride themselves on dedication to their clients and their communities. With 20 offices worldwide, the firm is renowned for numerous market-leading practices; its strengths in complex transactions and restructurings, high-stakes litigation, and public policy and regulatory matters; and its unyielding pro bono commitment.

Akin Gump partners with clients from both established industries and cutting-edge markets to deliver creative solutions to business-critical issues, helping them seize opportunities and anticipate challenges. Driven by the firm’s forward-thinking leadership, Akin Gump has built a strong culture of innovation and collaboration as well as a talented and diverse workforce committed to the success of its clients and each other.

The firm is intentional about fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace where all employees are supported and given the tools to succeed. Akin Gump is focused on recruiting and nurturing the next generation of exceptional legal talent and is proud that its recruitment and professional development efforts are recognized as among the best in the industry.

Global Offices
Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi office includes lawyers with broad experience in fields ranging from corporate, energy and public policy, to 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. Akin Gump has recently relocated to the Dubai International Financial Centre, the heart of Dubai’s central business district free zone.

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, disputes, and regulatory matters throughout Germany, Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe.

Geneva: The Geneva office anchors Akin Gump’s international dispute resolution practice (including international arbitration) on the continent and serves as a platform for the firm’s international trade practice in relation to the World Trade Organization and other Geneva-based international organisations.

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 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.

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.

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
Wael Jabsheh photoMr Wael JabshehWael Jabsheh serves as co-partner in charge of the Abu Dhabi office…
Mal Mutuna photoMr Mal MutunaMal Mutuna is an associate in the Abu Dhabi office of Akin…
Firmwide lawyers and advisors : 900+
UAE lawyers : 15+
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 : New York
Other offices : Philadelphia
Other offices : San Antonio
Other offices : San Francisco
Other offices : Singapore
Other offices : Washington DC

At Akin Gump, we believe 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.

Firmwide Resource Groups

Our firm sponsors eleven firmwide resource groups (FRGs) for lawyers and staff focused on Abilities, Asian, Black, Middle Eastern & North African, Native American/American Indian, Latinx, Women, LGBTQ+, Parents/Caregivers and Veterans. These FRGs complement the firm’s efforts related to recruiting, professional development, and fostering inclusive workplaces. They are voluntary and open to all lawyers and staff.

Local Diversity Equity & Inclusion Councils

Akin Gump has a firm-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Council to guide the execution of the firm’s DEI strategy. We also have local DEI councils in each U.S. office, London and our Asia offices. DEI councils offer lawyers and staff a chance to communicate ideas to firm management and to recommend additional initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion at the firm.

Family Friendly Policies

At Akin Gump, we support lawyers through policies and programmes that enable them to effectively manage and integrate work, family, and other responsibilities. The firm has a Reduced Work Schedule Policy, which allows 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 Programme that recognises 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 offers one to one coaching sessions to help new parents successfully manage their journey to parenthood. It has also partnered with Bright Horizons to offer back up care and City Parents, which offers expert support and resources for working parents & caregivers.

Pro bono

Our lawyers defend human rights by representing asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and the NGOs that assist them. Our pro bono matters include public interest litigation, legislative counselling, poverty law and transactions, in each of Akin Gump’s offices. The firm is also focused on leveraging our tremendous pro bono commitment to address injustice and pursue equality throughout our communities.


The London office of Akin Gump is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment where all members of the Akin Gump community can thrive and grow. We maintain a culture that sees differences as strengths. Local chapters of our FRGs support BAME, Abilities, LGBTQ+, Women, Social Mobility and Parents & Caregivers.

During our trainee recruiting process, we utilise blind screening by removing the name and gender from student applications to reduce the opportunity for bias. We have no minimum A-Level requirement to apply to our trainee programme. Applicants are asked to take a critical thinking assessment to help us ensure that a broad range of candidates have the opportunity to reach the interview and selection process. We also partner with Bright Network and Aspiring Solicitors, and participate in their careers fairs.

We maintain strategic external partnerships with a number of professional, social and cultural organisations to foster diversity and inclusion. These include a Bridge Builder programme with leading youth and education charity City Year, an internship programme and a mentoring initiative with the Social Mobility Foundation, sponsorship of the AS Foundation which seeks to reduce financial barriers to entry to the legal professional, Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme and a school backpack project for the families’ division of homeless charity Shelter. We also work with leading women’s charitable organisations including Refuge, Solace Women’s Aid and Vital Voices.