Osborne Clarke started last week with a hire from King & Wood Mallesons in the City but other laterals saw a focus on the Middle East with Boodle Hatfield’s London hire dealing with clients in the region as well as central Asia while Pinsent Masons and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) both hired in the UAE.
IP partner Robert Guthrie joined Osborne Clarke from King & Wood Mallesons where he had been focused on digital business as well as life sciences. He has experience across IP protection, dispute resolution, clearance and enforcement and was noted in the Legal 500 as being ‘commercially minded’.
In the Middle East, Pinsent Masons appointed a new head of corporate, Osama Hassan, who joins as partner from Canadian firm Bennett Jones. He is joined by two senior associates with all three being based in Dubai, joining an eight strong team. His experience is predominantly in commercial and corporate matters including M&A, fund raising and disposals.
Andrew Masraf, head of corporate at Pinsent Masons, said: ‘We have taken steps in recent years to further build our Corporate practice across our global network in response to client demand. To have brought in someone of Osama’s calibre and regional contacts will be significant for our practice in the Middle East, ahead of significant anticipated IPO and M&A activity as the region returns to sustainable growth.’
BLP also increased its headcount in the region bringing in DLA Piper’s Scott Antel into its real estate team. He will be based in Abu Dhabi having previously been senior partner and head of the hospitality & leisure sector for Russia/CIS at DLA Piper Moscow. Antel will retain some involvement with Russian work, helping GoltsblatBLP with hotel investment and management, but will also be head of the firm’s hotels team in the Middle East and Africa. He will also be responsible to develop BLP’s hotels business in Asia Pacific.
Commenting on his appointment and relocation, Antel said: ‘Investor confidence in the UAE has increased over the last year and has been underpinned by strong trading performance and tourism demand growth in the area. This is bolstered by strong government commitment to the sector as an economic and international relations driver. As tourism and leisure offerings develop, the hospitality sector is poised to witness growth in the medium to long term.’
Back in the UK, Boodle Hatfield hired Baker & McKenzie partner Salpy Kouyoumjian into its private client and tax team. Kouyoumjian has a focus advising ultra-high net worth individuals and families across Russia, CIS and the Middle East, in particular establishing international asset-holding and wealth management structures.