Brodies moves into Middle East with Abu Dhabi launch

Leading Scottish firm establishes Middle East LLP and relocates partners to service energy and oil and gas clients locally

Nick Scott Image courtesy of Brodies

Top Scottish law firm Brodies has set up a Middle East LLP and launched an office in Abu Dhabi as it moves to expand its client base in the region. 

The new office, the firm’s second internationally after its base in Brussels, will be led by infrastructure and oil and gas partners Greg May and Bryan Wilson. Wilson will be based in Abu Dhabi, while May will split his time between the new office and Brodies’ base in Aberdeen. The Abu Dhabi office will also house one professional on secondment, with another heading out in the summer. 

Brodies’ managing partner, Nick Scott, who will also oversee the Middle East firm, said: “We have been working with and for clients in the Middle East, including the UAE, Qatar and Oman, for many years now, so this was a very carefully considered, but natural, next step.

“Proximity to our clients is something we believe is important to allow us to provide the best quality legal services and to ensure our lawyers are immersed in the environments in which our clients live and work.

“Our client base in the Middle East has, so far, been predominantly oil and gas focused. Many of the larger players in the energy transition are traditional oil and gas businesses, and cities in the Middle East – along with Aberdeen in the UK – are emerging as centres of excellence in that transition. We look forward to working with our clients and supporting them at this significant time for the energy sector.”

May has 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector and is an expert in drilling, well engineering and offshore construction. Qualified in English and US law, he joined Brodies in 2011 from Swiss offshore drilling company Transocean, where he was general counsel for the Europe and Africa business unit.

Meantime, Wilson brings extensive expertise in upstream oil and gas agreements and service sector work. He joined Brodies in 2019, prior to which he was general counsel for TotalEnergies and lead legal counsel for Maersk Oil. He primarily advises clients on high value and complex projects where conflicting strategies prevent them from being developed. 

The pair belong to a Tier 1 oil and gas team at Brodies that is described as “unparalleled in the sector" by the Legal 500. Led by Aberdeen-based partner Claire Munro, who is known for her expertise in upstream M&A and project development, key clients for the practice include Spirit Energy, Dana Petroleum and Nobel Upstream. 

Brodies’ Abu Dhabi launch sees it join a number of international firms looking to build their energy offerings in the Middle East, including UK firm HFW, which last month hired the co-head of DWF’s global infrastructure, construction and energy team, Slava Kiryushin, in Dubai. 

In the spring, US firm King & Spalding added energy and project development partners Brendan Hundt and Dan Feldman in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from Shearman & Sterling.

And in January, a team of energy-focused lawyers joined Gibson Dunn from Shearman to launch an office in Abu Dhabi.

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