Morgan Lewis and Addleshaw Goddard bolster Dubai disputes offerings with partner hires from Al Tamimi, Clifford Chance

Sara Aranjo joins Morgan Lewis to lead arbitration practice in Africa and Middle East as Arun Visweswaran moves over to Addleshaw Goddard from Clifford Chance
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Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Addleshaw Goddard (AG) have bolstered their disputes benches in Dubai with partner hires from UAE firm Al Tamimi & Company and Clifford Chance respectively. 

Sara Aranjo has joined Morgan Lewis from Al Tamimi to lead its international arbitration, dispute resolution and global investigations practice in the Middle East and Africa, while Addleshw Goddard has hired construction and commercial disputes specialist Arun Visweswaran from Clifford Chance. 

Aranjo has moved over alongside an associate after seven years at Al Tamimi, where she made partner in 2021. She focuses her practice on international arbitration and dispute prevention and resolution, primarily in cases with cross-border elements, and earlier in her career worked at McDermott Will & Emery in Paris and Cravath Swaine & Moore in London. 

She has been involved in proceedings across Africa and the Middle East as well as London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Switzerland, where she was the first Middle East-based member of the Swiss Centre Court of Arbitration.

A member of the inaugural Arbitration Court of the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration and the ICC in Paris, Aranjo also has deep IBA connections. She is deputy secretary-general of the IBA and is a current co-chair of both the IBA Arab Regional Forum and the in-house counsel group of the IBA’s flagship Arbitration Committee. She has acted in more than 100 proceedings across a range of sectors including energy, real estate, banking and finance, construction, and technology, media and telecommunications.

Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said Aranjo brought “strong market understanding and deep ties to the Middle East and Africa, both of which will help us broaden our client offerings in these markets”.

Alishia Sullivan, managing partner, Dubai, added that Aranjo is “a respected practitioner who holds leadership positions in key organisations and important initiatives”, as well as “an avid supporter of diversity” as the first Middle East lawyer to join the board of Arbitral Women.

Meantime Visweswaran has joined AG as a partner after 12 years at Clifford Chance, where he was most recently a senior associate. He specialises in international and domestic arbitration and works across both construction and commercial disputes, including technology-related disputes and advisory work.

Visweswaran has been in Dubai for more than a decade and has worked on disputes under all the major arbitration rules, including regional success stories such as the DIFC-LCIA, and its successor, DIAC. He has also appeared before the DIFC Courts, ad hoc arbitral tribunals and dispute adjudication boards.

Andrew Johnston, AG’s head of Middle East and Asia said: “Our Middle East construction practice remains a top priority, and we are delighted to have Arun join AG to help us deliver on important and profitable opportunities in the UAE, KSA, Qatar and Oman.”

Visweswaran is the eighth new partner to join AG’s Middle East business in recent months as the firm targets growing market share, including with the launch of a new office in Saudi Arabia, which now has six partners and 10 associates.

His arrival follows Christian Both, joining AG in August from Clifford Chance’s Saudi associate firm, AS&H Clifford Chance. His hire will help supplement AG’s Dubai presence, as projects and infrastructure partner Alex Sarac relocates to Riyadh.

AG recently announced that managing partner, John Joyce, would step down a year early into the conclusion of his third term, as he marked 25 years as a partner in the business. 

Dubai has seen a spate of high-profile moves recently in the disputes space, with US litigation heavyweight Quinn Emanuel announcing an office opening there earlier this week and DWF adding a pair of disputes partners in August from Horizons & Co. 

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