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24 November 2020

King & Spalding boosts Dubai disputes team with double partner hire from CMS

Arrival of construction specialists follows on from hire of two energy partners in Singapore

By Ben Rigby

By Matej Kastelic; Shutterstock

King & Spalding has hired two construction disputes partners from CMS in Dubai.

The arrival of Patrick McPherson and Randall Walker expands the US firm’s disputes offering in the Middle Eastern construction, energy and infrastructure sectors. 

McPherson leaves CMS after two-and-a-half years at the firm, having previously been a partner at local independent Hadef & Partners. 

He boasts a broad construction practice that spans both disputes, advisory and transaction work, in which he represents developers, contractors and sub-contractors across the Middle East. 

The New Zealand-qualified lawyer also brings in-house experience to the role, having previously worked for nearly four years at Dutco/Balfour Beatty (Dubai) as senior legal counsel. He relocated to Dubai in 2013 from New Zealand where he was a disputes partner at Hesketh Henry in Auckland. 

Walker, a fellow New Zealander, spent more than seven years at CMS, making partner in 2017. He also worked at Clyde & Co and Norton Rose Fulbright – both active in the region – having hailed from Hesketh Henry, where his time overlapped with McPherson’s. 

Previously, Walker served in New Zealand’s defence forces, concluding his military service as an in-house lawyer with the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He served for five years as a helicopter pilot, among other operational roles. He handles energy and infrastructure-related disputes, including construction arbitrations and project counsel mandates globally. 

Mike Stenglein, head of King & Spalding’s global construction and engineering disputes practice, praised the duo as “established construction and energy lawyers who have handled a host of complex matters for notable clients”. He said the move was part of an “active expansion” of the firm’s construction disputes practice.

Regional managing partner Jawad Ali added: “The Middle East and in particular the Gulf Co-operation Council, remains one of the most active regions for construction disputes, given the high levels of investment in infrastructure, including in the power and oil and gas sectors.” 

Both men will link with the firm’s Asian and European teams, as well as working with its Middle Eastern and multinational clients on disputes arising from energy and infrastructure projects. 

In September, King & Spalding hired energy specialists Anthony Patten and Lachlan Clancy from Shearman & Sterling as partners. Earlier in his career, Patten had spent six years in-house at Shell in both London and Dubai.

Earlier this week, the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre, which is based in Dubai, reported the filing of a record number of disputes in 2019, the majority of which were construction-related, with 2020's figure set to be even higher.

CMS, meanwhile, opened an Abu Dhabi office in September while also reconfirming its support for Dubai by closing a new lease on its Dubai premises. 

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