The decision comes following a 'detailed review' of the firm's wider operations in the Middle East. After launching in Abu Dhabi in 1994, Simmons was forced to cull its team in the UAE capital in 2012 due to tough market conditions. Now, the firm will shut its Abu Dhabi offering altogether, in order to offer 'a consolidated and enhanced offering in Dubai.' It has been reported that the three Simmons' partners based in the Abu Dhabi office have been given the opportunity to relocate to either Dubai or London.
A spokesperson for Simmons & Simmons commented that the decision was mandated by the evolving needs of clients. 'Ultimately, the location of our offices is determined by the key markets for clients in our sectors. This is demonstrated by our recent office openings in Singapore, Munich and Luxembourg,' the firm commented. Simmons & Simmons will maintain four Middle East offices following the Abu Dhabi closure – one in Dubai, one in the Qatari city of Doha, and two Saudi Arabia offices in Jeddah and Riyadh.
Simmons & Simmons is the latest in a suite of law firms to exit the UAE capital in order to focus on their larger Dubai offerings. Last year, Herbert Smith Freehills shifted its team of five Abu Dhabi-based lawyers to its offices in Dubai, while Latham & Watkins also announced plans to consolidate its Doha and Abu Dhabi offices into its base in Dubai. Sources: Legal Week; The Lawyer; Legal Business