19 Jan 2022

BCLP partner leaves to launch UAE disputes boutique

Raza Mithani founds Conselis Law alongside four barrister consultants

Allen & Overy (A&O) has introduced enhanced parental leave measures in the UK and the UAE.

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A Dubai-based partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has left the firm to launch his own specialist disputes and investigations firm.

Raza Mithani said on LinkedIn that Conselis Law would be headquartered in the United Arab Emirates but have ‘global reach’.

An experienced disputes lawyer, Mithani joined BCLP in 2016 from a three-year stint as King & Spalding’s head of commercial disputes in Dubai, prior to which he held the same role at Simmons & Simmons. Earlier, he served as a senior advocate at Al Tamimi & Company and also spent eight years at No.5 Barristers Chambers in the UK, having qualified at company law set Erskine Chambers.  

Three silks – Richard Jones QC, Mohammed Zaman QC and Jamas Hodivala QC – have also joined the firm along with former president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Michael Stephens, and ‘a growing team from other leading international and regional law firms.’

The four barristers are understood to have joined as consultants while retaining their practices at their UK sets. It was not known at the time of going to press if any of Mithani’s former colleagues at BCLP had moved to the new firm with him.    

Both Jones and Zaman are senior silks at Mithani’s former set No.5, which is based in Birmingham and is one of the largest sets of chambers in the UK. Jones, who was called in 1972 and took silk in 1996, has a strong business litigation focus, including in banking disputes. Zaman, a 2009 silk, shares that focus with his international arbitration practice.

Zaman is also admitted as a practitioner in the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Court, having practised before the DIFC Court’s predecessor, the Dubai World Tribunal, and has both litigated and arbitrated cases in the region, including before the Dubai International Arbitration Centre.

Hodivala spent six years at Chelmsford’s Trinity Chambers before a 14-year stint at leading criminal set 2 Bedford Row. He joined Matrix Chambers in 2019 as part of a four-member team expansion, taking silk in 2020, and is a skilled white-collar crime and investigations lawyer.  

Stephens, meanwhile, is a senior junior who has practised in Birmingham since 1985. His recent work includes arbitrations and mediations in the construction, negligence, property and business disputes both in the UK and abroad.

As well as being the 2014 president of CIArb, Stephens sits on the panels of the Filipino, Malaysian, and Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, as well as mainland China’s CIETAC and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.

Mithani said on LinkedIn that Conselis Law has ‘been designed with a singular visionto secure for our clients the best possible outcomes in their most important, complex and high value disputes and investigation matters.’

He added: ‘As a conflict-free firm, we are able to pursue aggressive strategies against virtually any institution.’  

Mithani did not respond to requests for further comment, while BCLP declined to comment.

Another senior disputes lawyer to have set up a boutique in the UAE is Mat Heywood, who left Clyde & Co in 2020 after three years there as a partner to launch Mantle Law in Abu Dhabi. He hired Dentons partner Gurbinder Grewal last November to set up a London office and added senior associates Georgina Barlow and Alice Andreoletti from Vinson & Elkins and Clydes, respectively, to staff it.

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