This week’s Movers and Shakers (July 11, 2018)
Law firms and institutions expand in the region with senior hires across practice areas key to the Middle East market.
HFW continues Middle East expansion with senior partner hire
Harbridge joined the firm’s Dubai office on July 1, 2018 from Trowers & Hamlins, where he headed its international dispute resolution and litigation department.
Harbridge has significant experience acting for multinational and Middle Eastern clients in a wide range of high-value and complex disputes, with particular expertise in construction arbitration and the Oman market. He previously spent over 15 years working in Oman, including almost seven years as a partner at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle.
Harbridge is ranked as a leading disputes lawyer by legal directories Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. Chambers says that clients hold Harbridge “in high regard” and describe him as “a great advocate”.
The move comes amid a period of sustained international expansion for the firm. James is the seventh partner to join HFW so far in 2018, following hires in Singapore, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and London. The firm also recently entered into a cooperation arrangement with a Brazilian law firm – HFW’s seventh international merger or association since January 2016.
Richard Gimblett, Dubai office head said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome such an experienced and highly-regarded partner to the firm. James’ arrival represents another significant boost to our fast-growing Middle East practice. His specialist expertise in construction arbitration and in the Omani market will prove hugely valuable to our clients throughout the region.”
James Harbridge commented, “It is a great honour for me to join the HFW team. I was immediately attracted to the firm’s client-centric ‘can do’ philosophy. Law is all about doing the very best for others in a manner which is most efficient in terms of time and cost. HFW clearly shares my desire to give perfection and a gold standard service.”
Ashurst strengthens Middle East oil and gas offering
King is a well-renowned practitioner in the oil and gas space with over 25 years transactional experience focussing on upstream oil and gas, downstream and liquefied natural gas (LNG) project development. He has extensive experience across Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe. King is consistently ranked among prominent oil & gas practitioners by the major directories, including Chambers Global and the Guide to the World’s Leading Energy Lawyers.
Commenting, Renad Younes, head of oil and gas in the Middle East, said, “The Middle East oil and gas market and our Middle East practice is experiencing a significant increase in activity with national oil companies investing and divesting in the region, and international and global companies seeking to increase their market share in the region. We are therefore delighted to welcome John to the team in Abu Dhabi as his extensive experience in the sector will strengthen our offering to both national and global oil clients.
John King added, “Our Middle East practice has exceptional oil and gas clients and credentials, and I am very much looking forward to growing the business with the rest of the Abu Dhabi team.”
EMAC’s new appointment to its Case Management Team
“We are pleased to welcome Jyothi Mani to the EMAC Team. Jyothi brings with her a great deal of case handling experience with a detailed know how as to arbitration and mediation procedures. We maintain confidence that EMAC will deliver excellence in maritime arbitration and mediation”, said Majid Obaid bin Bashir, acting chairman and secretary general, EMAC.
Having been in Dubai for just short of a decade, Mani brings with her a wealth of case management experience from the likes of Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC). Before joining DIAC, Mani worked as an in-house counsel for a large corporate in the Indian entertainment sector, followed by a role with a legal consulting firm in Dubai dealing real estate and construction in the UAE.
While in India, Mani has been involved with various NGOs dealing with Mental Health and Human Rights issues, playing an important role in contributions towards the amendment of the Indian Mental Health Act 1987. She holds a Masters in Law from the University of London specialising in Dispute Resolution with a minor in Maritime Law.
Commenting on her appointment at EMAC, Jyothi Mani said, “I look forward to growing with EMAC and to ensuring delivery of the highest standard of arbitration and mediation services for the maritime industry.”
She further added, “I commend EMAC for its contribution in promoting the maritime industry and arbitration within the region. Given the vast array of shipping activity here, EMAC is definitely well placed to ensure that access is granted to the right services for maritime disputes out of the DIFC.”
Rob Harker joins DLA Piper
DLA Piper has appointed project finance lawyer, Rob Harker, as a partner in its Middle East Finance and Projects practice, based in Dubai. Harker joins the firm from Bracewell, where he was a partner since 2014.
Harker focuses on large-scale power (including renewables), infrastructure, petrochemical and refinery projects in the Middle East and North Africa, most notably in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Oman. Advising both sponsors and financial institutions, Rob brings extensive experience advising on large-scale multi-source financings involving international and domestic banks, export credit agencies and Islamic finance institutions.
Harker has acted on more than 20 independent power and water projects in the Middle East and North Africa and has been involved in some of the largest and most innovative utility-scale power projects to be undertaken in the region to date. This includes recently advising Alcazar Energy Partners in connection with its project financing of four 50 megawatt solar projects in Egypt as part of Round 2 of Egypt’s Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariff Programme (Egypt FiT), a deal that was named 2017 Global MLA Deal of the Year by Project Finance International.
Commenting on the appointment, DLA Piper’s head of finance and projects in the Middle East, Trevor Butcher, said, “We are delighted that Rob has joined us. His appointment bolsters our project finance capability in the Middle East and better enables us to support clients seeking to take advantage of the significant opportunities offered by the region’s growing demand for power and water, particularly in the area of renewables where we are seeing increasing appetite.”
Regional managing partner, Peter Somekh, added: “Rob’s track record and client list speaks for itself. His appointment demonstrates our commitment to providing our clients with best-in-class expertise in the region’s fastest growing sectors, and we look forward to working with Rob.”
Commenting on his appointment, Rob Harker said, “I am delighted to join the DLA Piper team. It is a law firm with significant momentum and growth. Its clear investment in the Middle East and impressive global platform is a real draw for me and something that I look forward to contributing to.”
DWF Middle East appoints of head of corporate and defence and security
DWF has appointed corporate partner Kayaan Unwalla to its Dubai office, where he will head the business’s Corporate and Defence and Security Practice as it continues to strengthen its Middle East presence. Unwalla has significant Middle East experience and is well-respected for his work in the defence, security and aerospace sectors. Unwalla routinely provides legal advisory services to government contractors in relation to highly complex matters involving acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic PPPs, investigations and regulatory compliance. This is an important strategic appointment for DWF and further reinforces its commitment to the region. As well as being a highly regarded corporate lawyer, Unwalla is recognised for his skills in drafting laws and policies relating to national and border security and his expertise in defence offset structuring, military logistics, cyber-security and dual-purpose technologies, which complements the business’s existing defence and security credentials. Kayaan has previously served in the Legal Department with the US DoD, UK MoD and NATO prime contractor and worked in London, Afghanistan (LOGCAP IV), Central Asia, Africa and the MiddleEast.
Commenting on his appointment, Shiraz Sethi, Managing Partner of DWF Middle East, said: “We are delighted to bring Kayaan on board, as his appointment will not only help bolster our corporate offering to our clients within the region but also further strengthen our defence and security capabilities within the region and globally. Kayaan has a tremendous reputation within the market and we envisage his joining will only further demonstrate DWF’s ambition to attract first-class lawyers to its fold.”
Unwalla commented,“I am delighted to be a part of the DWF story, which will create new opportunities to expand our practice and service our clients better. The teams in Dubai have incredible energy and I look forward to growing our corporate, defence and security practices by collaborating closely with my DWF colleagues globally”. DWF Middle East recently appointed Shiraz Sethi as the business’s Regional Managing Partner, partner James Fox as Head of Dispute Resolution Middle East and partner Umera Ali as Global Head of Islamic Finance and Head of Banking and Finance Middle East. The business now has twelve Partners throughout the Middle East, servicing clients from its Dubai and Doha offices as well as via Riyadh and Jeddah, through its exclusive alliance with Harasani & Alkhamees.
Sunita Singh-Dalal joins Stephenson Harwood to expand India practice
Stephenson Harwood LLP has expanded its India practice with the arrival of Sunita Singh-Dalal, who joins the firm’s Dubai office as an of counsel. Singh-Dalal brings extensive experience of cross border corporate, commercial, dispute resolution and private client issues. She advises Indian clients on market entry, fund raising and partnerships in the healthcare and hospitality sectors in Africa, the Middle East and South West Asia. She joins the firm from Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota in Dubai where she was a partner for four years.
“We continue to see growing interest in Indian cross-border investment opportunities and are advising India clients from our London, Dubai and Singapore offices where we have an excellent group of India-focused lawyers,” said Kamal Shah partner and head of the India group, Stephenson Harwood. “Sunita’s background, relationships and and experience will enhance our India practice further at an exciting time for India.”
Singh-Dalal was named a key India Lawyer in the Indian Business Law Journal’s 2017 Global Stars Report and recognised in the same year by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association (ICCA) in their list of India’s Most Trusted Corporate Lawyers. She has actively promoted womens’ empowerment for young professional women in India and the Middle East and is a professional mentor for young female executives in the Middle East.
Singh-Dalal is the latest addition to Stephenson Harwood’s India Group which has recently once again been recognised as one of the leading international law firms for India work in 2018 by the Indian Business Law Journal. Having advised clients in the Middle East for many years, Stephenson Harwood launched its Dubai office in 2012. The Dubai team acts for a wide range of listed and private companies, institutions and individuals, and provides advice in the areas of marine and international trade, corporate and commercial, asset finance, projects, infrastructure, construction, commercial disputes, sanctions and employment.