Since the beginning of February, DWF trainee Nasim Bazari has been seconded to DWF's Middle East office in Dubai. As part of her time in the Dubai office, Nasim interviewed Faisal Attia, a Director in the Construction team and one of the few Arabic and English bilingual construction specialists in the region
Could you give us a brief run-down of your background, when/how you came to join DWF and your role here?
I first started to practice in Egypt as State Counsel where I mainly acted for the Egyptian Government in a number of international arbitrations. I then moved to the UK for my postgraduate studies. I also spent some time with a law firm in London before I moved back to the Middle East in 2010. I joined DWF in early 2016 and the opportunity came through Steven Hunt who is DWF's Head of Construction & Infrastructure for the Middle East. I worked with Steven previously and therefore it was not a difficult decision for me to move to DWF.
Where specifically in the Middle East does DWF have a presence and why is having a footprint in the Middle East of importance to DWF?
DWF now has offices in Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh (and soon Doha) which shows DWF's commitment to the Middle East region. I am very pleased to see that DWF has expanded this far into the region within such a short time frame.
The Middle East will always be a key destination for any international law firm and there are many good and obvious reasons for this. Not only the significant opportunities that the region offers, but also the rapid growth that we are witnessing in several parts of this region. I have seen foreign businesses come and set up in this region and thrive. DWF is well placed to support these businesses as well as local clients.
What type of work does DWF do in the Middle East and, if possible, could you give us an idea of the clients or types of clients that the Office work for?
Construction and infrastructure is the core offering for DWF Middle East. Other areas of the practice include dispute resolution, local litigation, oil and gas ,corporate, real estate, private clients and regulatory. We plan to expand our offering and other areas of practice should be added during 2017.
DWF Middle East has a diverse client base including governmental entities, healthcare providers, developers, contractors, consultants, financial institutions, hotel operators and owners as well as a number of commercial companies across different sectors.
What opportunities do you see on the horizon in the Middle East for DWF and its clients?
Notwithstanding the decline in oil price and the global political unrest, we are seeing a good amount of legal services needs across the region. The governments here are adapting quickly to the low oil price environment by investing more monies into changing their economies so that they can be less reliant on oil, and this would include spending monies on infrastructure projects, renewable energy, and other industries that will create a diversified economy.
I think construction and infrastructure will continue to be the leading sector when it comes to opportunities for DWF in this region.
What advice would you have for young professionals who are interested in working in the region in the future?
I would say understanding the environment that they are working in comparing to working in the UK, or wherever they may be, is very important.