Nabarro is to open an office in Dubai early next year following the Dubai government’s granting of a licence to the firm, in what will become its third international office.
Announced today (21 November), the new office will be led by construction and engineering head Terry Fleet, a former in-house lawyer at Costain, Babcock International and Trafalgar House (Cementation International). Further team members at partner and associate level will be added around the time of the launch.
The Legal Business 100 firm, which posted a 3% revenue increase for the 2012/13 year to £116.3m alongside a 29% rise in profit per equity partner to £427,000, said the office will focus on construction and engineering, development, and dispute resolution and infrastructure; areas of ‘continued and renewed economic activity in the region and traditional practice strengths for the firm.’
The firm has signalled its intentions to enhance its international offering for some time. Following the opening of a Brussels base followed by an office in Singapore in 2010, the firm appointed Patricia Godfrey as head of international in April, marking its ‘ambition to grow [its] international business and the work it wins from international clients.’
‘Dubai makes sense for us – we’re primarily going out there to support our existing clients and contracts – it’s good to have a good economic reason to go there, and the profile we’re going to have plays to our strengths,’ said senior partner Graham Steadman. ‘You hear a lot about firms with overseas offices that may be a drain on resources. We want to make sure there’s a good business reason to go there. We’re not about sticking pins in maps. So this will hopefully be financially viable and sustainable.’
According to the firm, the UAE region has represented the third biggest contributor to Nabarro’s international revenue in recent years, the firm stated, having been appointed to two Qatari Diar panels as well as recently advising Abu Dhabi Investment Council and London & Stamford on the acquisition of a 50% interest in the £1.26bn Meadowhall Shopping Centre. The firm’s disputes team also acted on behalf of Etihad Airways in 2010, during a high profile case at the UK Court of Appeal against a judgment related to the Spyker Formula 1 Team.