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

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
United Arab Emirates

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

Mac Fadlallah in Dubai and Natasha Kohne in Abu Dhabi are the key names in an Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP team that advises on sanctions, export controls and anti-corruption measures, and internal investigations relating to those issues, with a strong focus on matters involving US law and regulations. Johann Strauss is a key senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Mac Fadlallah; Natasha Kohne

Other key lawyers:

Johann Strauss

Key clients

Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC (and its subsidiary, Guinea Alumina Corporation)

United Arab Emirates > Capital markets Tier 3

Rizwan Kanji and counsel Hamed Afzal at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Dubai office are the key names in a practice covering a range of sukuk matters. The firm advises Islamic Development Bank on a range of structures and also acts for leading regional private sector investment banks as managers of proposed issuances.

Practice head(s):

Rizwan Kanji

Other key lawyers:

Hamad Afzal

Key clients

Emirates NBD Capital

Al Bilad Capital


BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector

Islamic Development Bank

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

Wael Jabsheh is the key contact for corporate work at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP , which in addition to range of private sector energy work, is well-connected with a number of "Abu Dhabi Inc" entities, advising them on a range of joint ventures and investments in sectors ranging from energy to international start-ups. Senior counsel Dinmukhamed Eshanov is another key name in the practice. Chadi Salloum is now at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Practice head(s):

Wael Jabsheh

Other key lawyers:

Dinmukhamed Eshanov


‘Excellent legal advice provided in a commercial and pragmatic manner and within very tight timeframes.’

‘Wael Jabsheh displays technical excellence combined with a pragmatic commercial approach. Great deal management and focused on deliverables. ’

‘Wael Jabsheh and Din Eshanov are both exceptional attorneys with impeccable technical skills. Wael and Din have both been in the region for many years, and possess a deep understanding of and experience in the market and region. What we value is the team’s availability around the clock, client service and ability to advise on a broad range of issues in real time, irrespective of the practice area.’

‘Very thorough, knowledgeable across all sectors and geographies, super caring and helpful.’


Key clients

NEOM Company


Image Nation Abu Dhabi FZ LLC

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC)

Farah Experiences LLC

PAL 4 Solar Energy LLC

Eastman Kodak Company

Merrill Corp.

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.

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
 Hamed Afzal  photo Hamed Afzal Hamed Afzal is a Counsel in the Dubai office of Akin Gump.…
Mr Mahmoud Fadlallah  photo Mr Mahmoud Fadlallah Mahmoud (Mac) Baki Fadlallah is the partner in charge of Akin Gump’s…
 Rizwan Kanji  photo Rizwan Kanji Rizwan Kanji’s practice focuses on debt capital markets, finance and securitizations using…
Firmwide lawyers and advisors : 900+
UAE lawyers : 15+
Other offices : Abu Dhabi
Other offices : Beijing
Other offices : Dallas
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

2020 was an extraordinary year on so many levels. The pandemic and the resulting catastrophic loss of life and economic hardship for so many created a deep wound across the world. On top of that, starting in the US, but reverberating throughout the world, we started the long-overdue reckoning on racial justice. Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith provided extraordinary leadership in response to both of these seismic externalities.

On the issue of racial justice, we had strong internal and external messaging about our commitment to racial justice and diversity & inclusion; made substantial additional donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund ($100k), Equal Justice Initiative ($100k), Show Racism the Red Card (UK) ($25k); hosted several programs to increase understanding and raise awareness on issues of race; launched an implicit bias and inclusive leadership initiative; and developed a racial justice resource center containing a list of books, articles, videos, and pod casts on issues related to race and racial justice.

Diversity and Inclusion

At Akin Gump, we believe the diverse 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 D&I strategic plan focuses on the following four key areas: leadership commitment and engagement, recruiting and the diversity pipeline, professional development and inclusion, and strategic partnerships.

Firmwide Resource Group

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

Local Diversity and Inclusion Councils

Akin Gump has a firmwide Diversity and Inclusion Council to guide the execution of the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy. We also have local diversity and inclusion councils in each U.S. office, London and our Asian offices. Diversity and inclusion 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 promoting lawyers 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. This policy proved essential as we shifted to working from home almost overnight at the start of the pandemic.

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

The London office has recently joined Cityparents, a London-based company that provides expertise and support to working parents & caregivers in corporate organisations. Their carefully curated programme comprises both live and on demand content delivered, including dedicated COVID-19 support and resources.

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, and Parents and Caregivers. In addition, social mobility is specifically included as part of our efforts.

We have no minimum A-Level requirements to apply to our trainee programme. During our trainee recruiting process, we utilise blind screening by removing the name and gender from student applications to reduce the opportunity for bias. 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, to ensure we are reaching diverse candidates.

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the so-called “digital divide”, with disadvantaged students at risk of falling further behind their peers than ever before due to a lack of access to IT equipment at home. Thanks to generous donations from staff in the London office, together with contributions from the firm and its IT provider, the firm has been able to donate 63 new laptops to one of our City Year partner schools.

After the pandemic the London office will continue the ‘Book Buddy’ reading scheme in partnership with City Year UK, where volunteers from the London office visit a local primary school and read with children aged 6–7 years old, helping them to develop their reading skills, increase their confidence and enjoy new stories.