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Middle East moves: Latham loses partner trio to Hogan Lovells in Dubai

Three of the nine partners in Latham & Watkins’ Dubai office have resigned, just months after the US firm announced plans to scale back in the Middle East by shutting down its offices in Abu Dhabi and Doha in March.

Corporate duo Charles Fuller and Andrew Tarbuck are to depart for Hogan Lovells, along with finance partner Anthony Pallett.

The trio resigned yesterday (11 November) from Latham’s 28-lawyer office. Headed by infrastructure specialist Villiers Terblanche, the exits leave the firm with six partners in Dubai.

‘Highly recommended’ by The Legal 500, Fuller joined Latham over a decade ago from Simmons & Simmons and specialises in venture capital, private equity and M&A.

Having joined from Norton Rose in 2008, Tarbuck also comes recommended and focuses on capital markets transactions, particularly IPOs and other equity fund raisings, debt securities and Sukuk issues. Notably he advised telecoms provider Ooredoo on its $2bn airtime Sukuk programme, and National Commercial Bank on its $6bn IPO on the Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange.

Pallett works within Latham’s heavyweight banking and finance team, and alongside office managing partner Terblanche, advised Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) on its $4.3bn note issuance.

Hogan Lovells operates a 15-lawyer office in Dubai, including seven partners.

The firm’s Dubai managing partner Rahail Ali said: ‘The last decade has seen tumultuous changes for the MENA region, affecting all aspects of business life. Clients want to work with excellent lawyers who have hands on experience dealing with the fluid legal and social environment and lawyers who know what it means for them. This team has that experience.’

The departures come after Latham announced in March the closure of two offices in the Middle East by the end of the year, shutting down outposts in Abu Dhabi and Doha, and relocating staff to its Dubai operation with hopes of creating a central hub for work in the region. The closures come seven years after the firm launched in the Middle East and follow a review of its strategy in the region, where it concluded its offering could be run out of offices in Dubai, Riyadh and Saudi Arabia.