Dentons hires DWF’s former Middle East finance and banking head as a partner

Umera Ali will split her time between the firm’s Dubai and Riyadh offices

Ali Umera Shutterstock

Dentons has hired DWF’s former head of its Middle East finance and banking group Umera Ali to grow its banking and finance practice in the region.

Ali joins as a partner and will be based across Dentons’ Dubai and Riyadh offices, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. Ali’s experience spans advising lenders, financial institutions, funds, sponsors, borrowers and issuers on a range of financial transactions, including loans, asset finance, Islamic finance and other debt capital markets deals. 

Paul Jarvis, chief executive of Dentons’ UK, Ireland Middle East business, said: “Banking and finance has always been of strategic importance to our Middle East region, and as a practice it remains in high demand during periods of both economic growth and uncertainty. We already have strong finance capabilities across the region and Umera's arrival will provide added bench strength in the key jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia.”

Ali spent just over four years at DWF in Dubai, having become co-head of its financial services sector practice group in May last year, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was also its global head of Islamic finance.

Prior to joining DWF, she spent a year as a partner at Michelman & Robinson in Chicago and seven years as a senior associate at Baker McKenzie before that in Bahrain. She also had earlier associate stints at local firms in Kuwait and Pakistan.

Alastair Young, managing partner for Dentons’ in the Middle East, said: “Saudi’s national growth strategy envisages a number of high profile projects that will require financing support. Umera’s experience of working on many of the most important transactions in the region, across a broad spectrum of finance-related mandates, will enhance the support we are able to provide our clients as they seize the opportunities in this growing market.”

Earlier this year, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan hired Saudi litigator Nasser Alrubayyi to help the US firm set up an office in Riyadh via an association with Alrubayyi & Attorneys. International firms must form an alliance with a local firm to operate in the country. Last October, DWF launched in Riyadh with local firm Al-Ohaly & Partners

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