Kobre & Kim assembles five-strong disputes and investigations team to open in Dubai

US firm secures lawyers from firms including Dentons, Clyde & Co and Addleshaw Goddard for second Middle East office

Specialist US disputes firm Kobre & Kim has assembled a five-strong team from firms including international trio Dentons, Clyde & Co and Addleshaw Goddard to open an office in Dubai.

Based at the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), the office will focus on cross border disputes, investigations and criminal proceedings in the DIFC and wider Middle East and Africa region. It is top 200 US law firm Kobre’s ninth international office out of a total of 14, and the second in the Middle East, where it also has a base in Tel Aviv which opened in 2015.

The office is led by Mahmoud Selim, who joined in April as regional managing director from Cairo-based regional firm Matouk Bassiouny’s Dubai office, where he was a partner and head of compliance and investigations.

He is joined by disputes and investigations partner Paul Hughes, who previously spent six years at Addleshaw Goddard, three of them as a partner. 

The team is completed by principal Richard Clarke, who has joined from Dentons, where he was an associate; and associates Nada Oteifi and Katy Fisher, who arrive from Mahmood Hussain Law Firm and Clyde & Co respectively.

The firm said it would be advising global and local private clients on asset protection and criminal investigations and proceedings in addition to ‘high-value, complex cross-border disputes’ work, having identified a ‘growing demand for international judgment enforcement, asset recovery litigation and private client services’ in the region. 

“Disputes and investigations in the DIFC, as well as in the broader MEA region, are growing in terms of both complexity and scale,” said founding partner Steven Kobre. “As such, there is an increasing demand among sophisticated clients for deep expertise that few global firms can provide.”

In addition to its network of offices, which include one in London and three in Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul), the firm has trial and support centres in Buenos Aires and Chicago. With revenue of $202.9m last year and profit per equity partner of $2.16m, it sits at 151 in the Am Law 200 ranking by revenue.

The office launch comes as regional disputes specialists continue to digest the impact of sweeping reforms of Dubai’s arbitration institutions that are designed to boost its standing as a global arbitration hub.

The region’s undisputed legal hub also faces competition from Saudi Arabia, which recently persuaded DWF to set up its regional headquarters in Riyadh as part of the kingdom’s latest push to become a regional commercial base under its Future Investment Initiative.

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