Stephenson Harwood latest to plant flag in Dubai

By Jonathan Ames

18 December 2012 at 11:47 BST

One of England's most historic and traditionally international law firms has become the latest to leap into the still expanding Persian Gulf market, as Stephenson Harwood officially opened the doors to a Dubai office today.

Dubai: Yet more Englishmen pile in

Dubai: Yet more Englishmen pile in

Heading the outpost is disputes resolution partner Rovine Chandrasekera, who will be joined by recently promoted partner Umar Moghul along with two associates.


According to a statement from the practice yesterday, it is also looking immediately to recruit at partner and associate levels for what is the firm’s eighth office outside of its London headquarters.
Commenting on the move into a region that has become flooded with English, US and even continental European law firms over the last eight years, Stephenson Harwood chief executive Sharon White said: ‘We have been advising clients in the Middle East on their interests for many years and opening an office in Dubai enhances Stephenson Harwood's offering to clients in the region. Given the flows of capital, trade and investment between the Middle East, Europe and Asia, it has become increasingly important for us to have a presence on the ground there.’

Bumpy road

The firm’s experience in the region extends well back into the last century. Indeed, historical reports suggest the firm played an important part in the dramatic 1979 US embassy hostage crisis in Iran, as it acted for Bank Markazi and reportedly acted as intermediaries between the US and Tehran governments.
While the Gulf region has experienced a legal market boom in the last decade, the road to riches has been far from smooth for global law firms. Only last September, Anglo-US practice Hogan Lovells closed shop in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi and consolidated its efforts in its Dubai office.


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