On the eve of opening their new Abu Dhabi office, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius swooped in to grab the eight-lawyer team hire from Squire Patton Boggs. The firm also picked up an additional seven-lawyer team from the same firm in the US.
On their website for the Abu Dhabi office, the firm states they ‘will offer clients a legal team with years of experience in the Middle East and an intimate knowledge of the region’s distinct legal, business, and regulatory structures. Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s most important financial and commercial hubs where the government and global companies are investing heavily in healthcare, technology, and renewable and nuclear energy, which are among our firm’s strategic industries.’ The four partners, four associates and 13 support staff will join the new Morgan Lewis which will open on March 1st. The office will be led by former Squire Abu Dhabi office head Bill Nash, and will include funds partner Alishia Sullivan and corporate partners Mark Gilligan and Jay Gladis. Morgan Lewis launched in Dubai in 2013. Ayman Khaleq, managing partner of the Dubai office, said ‘the synergies of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as financial centers in the UAE will solidify our Middle East practice, including outbound investments by clients in the region, and will give us additional insight in assessing current market terms and conditions that benefit our clients.’
Additionally, Morgan Lewis has also hired three partners, four associates and three support staff from Squire’s Washington DC office. The team is led by Courtney Nowell, who headed Squire’s sovereign and institutional investors practice, and includes Squire’s private investment funds practice head Gregg Buksbaum, and tax partner Kathryn Hambrick. The Abu Dhabi and Washington teams have worked closely together for over a decade, with team heads Nowell and Nash working with the same core clients for the past 12 years. Morgan Lewis managing partner Steven Wall explained ‘although these teams come from two different parts of the world, they’re very closely connected and have worked together for a very long time.’ Squire is to keep its Abu Dhabi base open, serviced by lawyers from other Middle East offices in Riyadh, Doha and Dubai. The firm said the reshuffle is part of a global re-evaluation of its positioning in the different regions.