To support its clients across the construction, energy, insurance and transport sectors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, leading UK legal business DWF is opening an office in Dubai. This will be the firm’s first office outside of the UK and Ireland and will enable the firm to strengthen relations with a number of its strategic clients, enhance its service offering and build the firm’s international capability. The move is in direct response to demand from major developers and contractors, and insurer clients, for legal advice on the ground in Dubai to support the construction boom in large infrastructure, housing, tourism, and air and port facilities across the Middle East.
DWF will launch its Dubai office with a team of four including two partners who will advise on contentious and non-contentious construction matters, professional indemnity and non-marine insurance work. The team will be led by Chris Ryan who has been partner at DWF since 2011. Chris maintains a broad non-marine insurance practice which includes acting for insurers and reinsurers in relation to many aspects of advisory and dispute resolution work including litigation and arbitration, with a particular focus on property, construction and engineering. DWF has also recruited construction partner Steven Hunt from Holland & Knight. With over 11 years’ practising in the UAE Steven supports private and public sector clients and specialises in construction and real estate law, in particular construction dispute resolution and arbitration. He has practised construction arbitration for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and its successor, in addition to working in private practice. Fernando Ortega joins DWF as a consultant from Holland & Knight, where he held the role of a consultant in the international arbitration and construction practice. Professional liability specialist Jeremy Speller, who has worked for DWF in London for the last three years, will also be based in Dubai. The team in Dubai will be supported by a UK-based team, including partner and head of international, Peter Campion, and head of adjusting, Keith Honeyman, who have for several years serviced an extensive amount of MENA region work.
To support the team DWF is initially taking 1000sqft of office space in the heart of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), one of the world’s leading commercial centres. DWF plans to build a range of complementary service lines over a three year period which will see DWF supporting both new and existing clients.
Andrew Leaitherland, managing partner & CEO at DWF, commented: “There is a real opportunity for us in Dubai. We’ve supported clients in Dubai and across the MENA region for many years and it’s become increasingly clear that there is demand for our services on the ground, particularly in relation to construction and insurance work. We’re building a strong team with superb credentials and have a pipeline of work from existing clients already underway so we’re off to a very strong start and look forward to consolidating our commitment to this hugely important region.”
DWF has been advising overseas clients in Canada, China, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, India and the USA both on UK and international matters for over 20 years, and DWF’s new Dubai office builds on the firm’s existing international offering which is serviced primarily through its international desks and its growing best friends network.