Managing director - legal lead for geographic compliance and corporate group in the growth markets –Asia Pacific, Africa Middle and Latin America. General counsel for the Middle East | Accenture
#GCPowerlist Middle East 2022
Researching and working on this year’s edition of The Legal 500: GC Powerlist Middle East has been an honour and a privilege. It has been a rewarding experience, not only because I have had the chance to talk with extraordinarily talented and impressive in-house counsel located in multiple countries in the region; but mainly because of the enthusiasm and the level of engagement that Middle East-based counsel have shown throughout the project, which has made this list, as always, one of the most popular GC Powerlist editions of the year.
For the big return, after the imposed hiatus of the pandemic, we have decided to make the list more interactive. We have asked questions, given the shortlisted lawyers the opportunity to write a thought piece about an argument or interest of choice, or even a short biography commemorating significant achievements. Read on to gain a truly comprehensive look at what Middle East-based in-house lawyers see as their main challenges, strengths and opportunities.
The in-house lawyers I have spoken with have all been involved in important transactions, negotiations and cases driving the growth of their countries in the Middle East and their companies around the world. Those featured are the top internal lawyers in the region–they combine the very best qualities of internal counsel, going well beyond legal knowledge and outstanding talent and embracing teamwork, innovation, business knowledge, management of risks, and empathy.
One of the main themes which emerged from our research is that in-house counsel in the Middle East are ready to look forward; laying the basis for a better future that embraces the critical concepts of sustainability, ESG, diversity and inclusion, and technological advancements to promote efficiency, while not forgetting the importance of people in the process. As Dominik Engel, regional general counsel EMEA at ABB, said: ‘I care about digital improvements and people development. For me, people remain the most important resource in the legal industry, and technology and digital improvements shall aim to improve the quality of work of lawyers and reduce low value-added repetitive work. So, we need to support, encourage the legal teams, and empower them to try out and use technological advancements to their advantage’.
Furthermore, some general counsel in the Middle East have provided precious advice to those who wish to follow their example and succeed in the industry. Dr. Fawaz Alawadhi, chief legal officer at Alghanim Industries, observed: ‘A successful in-house lawyer is the one who understands its company’s industry, its strengths and weaknesses, its short and long-term objectives, and its competitors and market share. The successful among us are those who create business protective solutions and approaches rather than being seen as an obstacle to getting the deal done. Being part of the business team is the key to a successful in-house lawyer. The simple success formula is mainly to facilitate the negotiations, to let go of the overcomplicated legal drafting and replace it with a friendly, yet protective, language and to train and educate the business team to understand the laws related to their industries.’
I want to extend the most profound gratitude to every in-house lawyer who participated in this edition of the GC Powerlist: Middle East. I am incredibly proud to introduce this list of the Middle East’s most innovative, dedicated and brilliant in-house counsel in the Middle East.
Sara Maggi | Lead Researcher – Middle East GC Powerlist 2022
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Where insight and experience blend
As a global top 10 law firm, Eversheds Sutherland provides legal advice and solutions to an international client base which includes some of the world’s largest multinationals. We provide the full range of legal services, including corporate, commercial and M&A, litigation and dispute resolution, energy and infrastructure, employment, real estate, banking and project finance, construction and TMT.
We have a team of 120+ lawyers based on the ground in the Middle East across seven offices in Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
What unites our people is our commitment to service excellence through a solution-orientated approach. We know our clients’ businesses, the industries and markets they operate in, and we know that great service involves deep sector expertise combined with local knowledge. We are known for our commerciality, for an ability to identify and interpret headwinds and how to translate that into immediate and long term legal strategies.
Tawfiq Tabbaa (left)
Regional Managing Partner
Nasser Ali Khasawneh (right)
Partner, Global Head of TMT, Chairman – Middle East
BSA congratulates all individuals on being named in the GC Powerlist Middle East for 2022. This accolade demonstrates the strength of innovation and progression each individual, and the companies they represent, has strived for to positively further the business environment and legal profession across the Middle East. It is great to see such diversity across this list, which makes us proud to be your legal partner across the region. We thank each of you for your commitment and dedication.
Let’s touch on some of the key developments these individuals have directly or indirectly had an impact on. The push for a cleaner world is accelerated from the Gulf, every jurisdiction has launched a range of hydrogen, wind, solar, water projects, with full governmental investment and who have set strict yet strategic SDG goals to meet in the coming years. Over US$2.8bn was awarded for Middle East renewable projects in 2021 alone. The region is dedicated to Net Zero and our legal teams are an essential part of that achieving that ambition.
Crypto and blockchain – the progression in digital currencies is skyrocketing across the region. How great it is to see, and be a part of, such rapid change. We are living the future and the Middle East is making its mark. Accelerator programmes, crowd-funding, knowledge sharing between the traditional and the new are making it all possible. Flexible regulation and innovative legal frameworks are providing global market players, start-ups and entrepreneurs with a place to call home.
Of the utmost importance, protecting our people and their privacy. New Data Protection Laws across the region have been instrumental in creating a safe business, working and living environment for all. AI and the wider digital transformation have been a power for good, but making these “new normals” robust and cyber-secure has been a key priority too.
In short, the Middle East is at the ‘centre of everything’ and plays host to the most innovative minds, demonstrated, in-part, by those on this list. As a grass-roots law firm, we are proud to be part of this incredible ecosystem. With nine offices across five countries in the Middle East, we partner with our clients to create better.
The last year has seen unprecedented growth across multiple industries all over the world, and the legal markets have been no exception. Businesses have needed to recruit in order to keep up with demand, and this includes building and retaining teams of lawyers. Public sector and government spending across the Middle East, on a wide array of giga, infrastructure, development and investment projects, and has both grown economies, and kept private sector organisations very busy.
Taylor Root is proud to be part of The Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Middle East 2022, as we come together to celebrate the achievements of in-house counsels and the imperative roles they play in their respective organisations. Congratulations to those ranked in this year’s The Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Middle East 2022. Despite the challenging world that we live in, lawyers continue to play a critical role in navigating change and pushing progress.
About Taylor Root
We are a global legal, risk and compliance search and recruitment consultancy and have been a market leader for more than 30 years.
We help businesses to build and expand their legal, risk, compliance and corporate governance functions. Whether you’re hiring your first In-house Counsel, expanding your in-house team in a certain practice area, or expanding your risk department internationally, we partner with you at every step of your journey.
Our services include contingent and retained search, permanent, temporary and interim recruitment as well as consultancy solutions.
Wherever we operate we have made an impact, from Düsseldorf to Dubai, New York to Shanghai or Milan to Melbourne. From pioneering specialist recruitment in particular locations, to shaping how our clients have approached hiring, our influence is evident everywhere.
Today, we have 13 international offices – a truly global network of search and recruitment experts. Put simply, no one can match our global reach, or our history.
Please do contact us any time to discuss your legal, compliance or risk recruitment needs.
Director, Head of In-house Legal, Middle East, Turkey and Africa
+971 4 448 7770
The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Dubai played host to The Legal 500 GC Powerlist Middle East 2022 on the evening of Thursday 27th October.
Over 100 GCs and heads of legal from UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia gathered together to celebrate the launch of the 6th edition of GC Powerlist Middle East.
First launched in the region in 2015, GC Powerlist has firmly been established as the premier event for senior in-house lawyers, recognising the growing and influential role that GCs play within their organisations.
Joining the celebrations on behalf of The Legal 500 were Gurpartap Basra, head of GC Powerlist series and research editor, Chris Kay.
The evening was dedicated to networking and celebration with a short break for keynote speeches. First we heard from Gurpartap Basra, who introduced proceedings before handing over to Nasser ali Khasawneh, chairman Middle East at Eversheds Sutherland and Mark Anderson, director Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Taylor Root. Linda Mouaz, head of legal & compliance at Nestlé MENA, spoke collectively on behalf of the GCs in attendance about the challenges that in-house lawyers will be facing in the coming months ahead.
A fantastic evening was had by all and a big thank you for the support of our headline sponsor, Eversheds Sutherland and our associate sponsors, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates and Taylor Root.
Thank you also for some of the feedback from those present:
“Thank you The Legal 500 for organizing such a special evening, allowing us to have a moment to remember the years we as lawyers have been through to become who we are today, honour our hard work with a prize and celebrate all achievements.”
Sibel Almobideen, general counsel at Global Feeder Shipping Group
“It is a privilege to be included in The Legal 500 GC Powerlist once again alongside the Middle East’s leading GCs! It was lovely meeting new colleagues and catching up with old ones! Thank you The Legal 500 for the recognition.”
Zeina Abillamah, general counsel at Magenta Investments
“I am thrilled and honoured to have been recognized by The Legal 500 (the world’s leading legal directory), among the best in-house lawyers in the MENA region. I am so happy to be included in the GC Powerlist Middle East 2022, and I want to thank all those who contributed to this recognition.”
Roy Stephan, chief legal officer, director of regulatory compliance MENAT and board secretary at Middle East Communications Network
“Honoured to be included in the 2022 General Counsel Powerlist by The Legal 500 for the Middle East, as one of the most influential lawyers in the Middle East. A humble recognition that I could have never achieved without the great support of my team and colleagues at Zain Group. Thank you! A big thanks to The Legal 500 for this recognition and for being included in all editions since inception as well.”
Firas Oggar, group head of legal at Zain Group
“Thanks to The Legal 500 for recognising us hard working GCs with a Powerlist, and pouring up the dry white wine to really prove the love. And hello to my fellow GC Powerlist people, new friends and old! May your regulatory compliance be complete and your risk registers empty!!”
Fiona Robertson, general counsel OSN