Legal Business Blogs

Office openings: Bird & Bird to extend Middle East capability with Dubai presence

Bird & Bird has become the latest leading UK firm to open in Dubai as it transfers Stockholm corporate partner Anders Nilsson to spearhead its new UAE offering.

The 966-lawyer top 20 firm said today that it is setting its sights on expansion to support its growing client base in the emirate, where it advises clients across industries including aviation, media and sports, as well as undertaking work in other sectors such as aerospace, defence, security, communications, energy and utilities, healthcare and life sciences.

Recent client wins in the region include Huawei, PepsiCo, healthcare software specialists TPP and the Supreme Committee for Qatar 2022.

The move comes after the firm opened in Abu Dhabi in 2011, taking its UAE base to 13 after it last year recruited Al Jazeera Network’s chief legal officer Osama Abu-Dehays.

The new office will see M&A partner Nilsson build on his established client-base in the region, having worked with Nordic investors in the Middle East and for Middle Eastern clients expanding their operations in Sweden over a number of years.

Head of the Abu Dhabi office, Mark Pinder said: ‘We are very committed to continuing to grow our team in the region and Dubai is the base for many of the high tech innovators that are natural clients for the firm. Having an office there is essential to providing these clients with the support they need so we are very pleased to be making this move.’

Other recent entrants to the Dubai market include Morgan Lewis & Bockius; White & Case; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Baker & McKenzie and Addleshaw Goddard.

In July, Morgan Lewis announced that structured finance partner Ayman Khaleq and corporate partner Jim Knight will spearhead its Dubai offering together with London energy partner Lewis Jones, while Baker & McKenzie merged with leading Dubai outfit Habib al Mulla also in the summer.