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Jones Day pulls off significant Middle East coup with hire of HSF heavyweight Khan

Jones Day has hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ Middle East finance head Nadim Khan, who joined the firm to launch its Dubai office in 2007.

Joining Jones Day’s projects and infrastructure practice Khan, who left HSF in May, will head up Jones Day’s Middle East banking and finance practice and the firm’s Islamic finance group.

Khan joins Jones Day with more than 15 years’ experience in the Middle East advising on major transactions and Islamic-financed projects. He is rated as a leading individual in The Legal 500 for Islamic finance.

Jones Day projects head Arman Galledari said: ‘Nadim’s arrival enhances our ability to help our clients develop and execute complex, large-scale projects across the Middle East and Africa. His broad experience in the region and involvement with various industries will bring additional depth to what is already a very strong practice group.’

Khan arrived at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) along with fellow Norton Rose partner Zubair Mir in 2007 amid much fanfare – it was widely regarded as one of the most significant double laterals in the Middle East at the time. Mir is now head of HSF’s Middle East practice. More recently, HSF has had faltering growth across its Middle East outposts, shutting down its office in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and terminating an association with Saudi Arabian firm Al-Ghazzawi Professional Association two years earlier.

Its Abu Dhabi office saw a series of exits with Islamic finance partner Adil Hussain leaving for Clyde & Co in 2014, real estate partner Nick Turner returning to London and managing partner Andrew Newbery resigning in 2013 for a corporate role in the UK. The office’s last partner, Alexander Currie, was relocated to Dubai with a five-lawyer team in 2015.

However HSF recently re-entered Saudi Arabia, launching an association with local firm Nasser Al-Hamdan and hiring White & Case projects partner Euan Pinkerton.

HSF also recently lost a significant team in Australia after a 10-partner project finance team under Asia head of finance Brendan Quinn left for US firm White & Case.