Vinson & Elkins replenishes disputes bench in Dubai with partner hire from Hogan Lovells

Move comes hard on heels of exit of former office managing partner to set up boutique

Vinson & Elkins has hired disputes specialist Nabeel Ikram from Hogan Lovells to beef up its complex commercial litigation practice in Dubai. 

The hire comes days after the Houston-based firm’s former Dubai managing partner, Amir Ghaffari, took a five-strong team including three lawyers with him to launch a new disputes practice.

Best known for his disputes work across the engineering and construction sectors in the Middle East, Ikram also has considerable experience as an arbitrator under a number of rules including DIAC, ICC and DIFC-LCIA, among others, the firm said. 

He joins the firm after five years at Hogan Lovells, where he was a partner. Ikram qualified at Hogan Lovells in 2000 and went on to spend nine years with the firm in London before moving to Clyde & Co in Dubai in 2008. He then briefly jumped to Dewey & LeBoeuf before joining Dechert as a national partner in 2012 and later landing back at Hogan Lovells in 2016.

The appointment reunites Ikram with his former London-based Hogan Lovells colleagues Roberta Downey and Angus Rankin, who both joined Vinson as partners last year. 

Vinson’s chairman Keith Fullenweider said: “Nabeel is a talented lawyer who is highly respected by his peers and clients, whose practice presents an opportunity to deepen our international construction practice in the region, and adds significant capability to our Dubai office.” 

Ikram added: “The practice is a strategic priority for the firm, and its reputation and dedication to developing its high value construction and engineering disputes practice was an attractive prospect.”

Ghaffari, who left Vinson in December, founded Ghaffari Partners alongside two counsel and one associate from the US firm to focus on high-end international arbitration and dispute resolution work for corporate clients across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Ghaffari was replaced as Vinson's Dubai office managing partner by Joseph Chedrawe, working alongside a partner and an associate, ahead of Ikram's arrival.

Earlier this year, Dubai-based partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) left the firm to launch his own specialist disputes and investigations practice. Raza Mithani, who spent six years at BCLP, founded Conselis Law alongside three silks in January. 


Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]