Clyde & Co tops UAE law firm rankings for fourth year running

A guide to the leading commercial law firms in the Middle East has presented Clyde & Co as top ranking among law firms in the UAE.

For the fourth consecutive year, Clyde & Co has secured the most top tier rankings in practice areas for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Legal 500 law firm directory (Europe Middle East & Africa (EMEA) edition).

Legal 500 (EMEA) is produced annually by UK-headquartered publisher Legalease and is based on independent research among lawyers and their clients.

The just released 2008 edition awards Clyde & Co top ranking in five of the nine practice areas it features, including dispute resolution, TMT (technology, media & communications), insurance, real estate & construction and shipping. The firm is also recognised for its expertise in corporate and M&A, banking & finance, projects & energy and intellectual property. This is a level of recognition not achieved by any other law firm in the region. The firm’s work in Qatar and India is also recognised by the directory.

Dubai based corporate partner Phil O’Riordan said “It’s gratifying to see our progress acknowledged in independent surveys such as this as legal directory results, alongside direct client feedback, are one of a number of ways we can benchmark performance against the market.”

Niall O’Toole, a corporate partner who heads up Clyde & Co’s Abu Dhabi office, echoed O’Riordan’s sentiments, adding “Clyde & Co has a huge presence throughout the Middle East and has put, and is continuing to put, considerable investment into its people and operations here. While results like this are pleasing, it is safe to say that we are absolutely focused on improving even further in terms of our reach, resource and quality expectations in the upcoming year.”

This current recognition by Legal 500 reaffirms a string of recent recognition for the firm, with Clyde & Co being listed as having more leading lawyers than any other law firm in the UAE in the 2008 edition of the prestigious Chambers Global legal directory as well as, on analysis, achieving the top overall firm ranking. The firm’s intellectual property practice was in March ranked as the top overall IP practice in the UAE by Managing Intellectual Property (MIP) magazine for the second year in a row, while the firm was also lauded recently as ‘firm of the year’ in the areas of Real Estate and Litigation respectively by Asian Counsel magazine.

Excerpts from Legal 500 (EMEA) 2008:

* Corporate & M&A

“Clyde & Co […] registers on many clients’ elite list of preferred counsel.”

“Clients praise its unrelenting commitment to the region, its responsiveness, technical competence and commercial acumen.”

“[Clyde & Co] has completed a series of bulge-bracket deals, including representing Al Shams Ltd (led by partner Phil O’Riordan) on the acquisition of the huge $2.4bn (AED8.81bn) Dubai Pearl Project in Dubai. Jonathan Silver (‘great regional expertise’, ‘straight to the point’, ‘thorough’) advised Rivoli Group LLC and its owners on the acquisition by Dubai International Capital LLC (DIC). Additional heft in Abu Dhabi through the hire of former Denton Wilde Sapte Oman partner Andrew Watson, has given the firm extra regional cachet. Fellow Abu Dhabi partner Niall O’Toole ‘understands the commercial realities of the place’ and has ‘in-depth knowledge of the powerbrokers in town’.”

* Dispute Resolution

“Clyde & Co has extensive Dubai courts experience, upholding the firm’s prestigious reputation in contentious legal matters. With five partners covering issues ranging from marine and non-marine insurance to property development disputes, the firm has outstanding credentials and clients commend the team for ‘taking the initiative’ and ‘driving the process’. It also has a particularly prominent record in regional agency disputes and ICC arbitrations. “

“Partner Christopher Mills recently represented Yemen’s Ministry of Oil and Minerals in connection with a massive ICC arbitration concerning the non-renewal of Hunt’s Oil Block 18 concession. Other clients include Porsche Middle East, Emirates Post and Jumeirah International. “

* TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications)

“Clyde & Co has a hefty IT presence thanks in part to the eminence of partner Anthony Garrod.”

“The team has a healthy regional client following illustrating the high regard with which it is held and recently advised Dubai Healthcare City Administration on the installation and integration of a healthcare patient information system. The firm is also preferred counsel to a series of foreign multinationals based in the region.”

* Insurance

“Clyde & Co’s ‘excellent’ insurance department is applauded for the ‘pragmatism’ and ‘delivery’ of local lawyers.”

“Clients admire its ability to apply ‘legal principles in both the mature and immature markets’. Alec Emmerson and Wayne Jones are singled out for their insurance experience, while Christopher Mills is heralded for his maritime-related work.”

Real Estate & Construction

“The ‘well-connected’ Michael Grose heads [Clyde & Co’s] UAE construction practice having been based in Dubai since 1998.”

“Like most other firms, the majority of the business is front-end, non-contentious work, and Clyde & Co has experienced a significant upswing in instructions from the Abu Dhabi and Qatar markets, while remaining actively involved in the massive development at Dubai International Airport and the new gargantuan Jebel Ali Airport. On the property side, the firm is playing a pivotal role on the prestigious Dubai Pearl development and is engaged in a series of hotel projects in Abu Dhabi.”


“Clyde & Co’s peerless presence in the shipping sector extends to both wet and dry matters for a client portfolio of owners, charterers, insurers and P&I clubs.”

“Clients include Al Khazana Insurance Company, North of England P&I and Valentine Maritime Ltd. Dubai stalwart Christopher Mills has a fine background in cargo cases, for which the firm has a mighty reputation, although he has a much broader practice nowadays. He recently represented Nass-Murray & Roberts in connection with the Bahrain Dhow disaster. Brian Nash is a senior figure within the firm and has now spent over two years in Dubai.”

Intellectual Property

“With its lavish portfolio of major Dubai institutional clients, Clyde & Co is at the forefront of IP innovation and development.”

“The firm is particularly well known for dealing with for commercial exploitation, brand development, image rights and sponsorship. It is on the panel of numerous influential banks in the region and with the firm’s enormous size in the UAE it is not lacking in resources; it has 15 fee-earners in the IP team alone. Rob Deans heads the practice, alongside Anthony Garrod and David Moore.”

*Projects & Energy

“Clyde & Co’s impressive business frequently encompasses energy-related instructions.”

“Partner Abhimanyu Jalan recently advised Dubai-headquartered Dodsal Resources in connection with concessions for minerals and metals and rights for oil and gas explorations in the RUVU block in Tanzania, while Brian Nash represented the Yemeni Ministry of Transport on a concession agreement for the development of a container terminal in the Gulf of Aden.”

* Banking & Finance

“Clyde & Co has emerged as a potent force in the banking and finance arena following the arrival of Ashley Painter (‘pragmatic’, ‘responsive’, ‘good to work with’) from the London office of Taylor Wessing LLP in November 2006.”

“Painter has already gained favourable market recognition following a series of impressive instructions, notably in the structured and property finance segments. Deals such as advising the lenders on the $440m financing of Leighton Holding Ltd (Australia)’s purchase of a minority interest in Al Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, illustrate the team’s prominence. The team also represented Arabian Real Estate Investment Trust [AREIT] on the first rated commercial mortgage-backed securitisation in the UAE.”

* Qatar

“Already perceived as a ‘strong player in the Middle East’, Clyde & Co LLP further enhanced its presence in the region and opened a Doha office in March 2007.
With additional offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the firm operates its three offices across the Gulf as a single practice, focusing on banking, construction, commercial property, energy and corporate and commercial work. The team is headed by David Salt, formerly a partner at Clyde & Co LLP in London, who more recently worked as a consultant in Simmons & Simmons’ Qatar office. Glenn O’Brien, formerly of Adv Mohammed Al-Marri in association with Al Tamimi & Company also joined the firm.”

* India
“Clyde & Co runs a substantial Indian practice from its Dubai office that takes in corporate/M&A work, marine disputes, aviation law and banking and financial services. The firm recently acted for Bombay Rayon Fashions on a US$70m BSE listing including a US regulation 4(d) private placement. Aviation expert, Spicejet board member and ex-managing partner of Beaumonts, Jim Edmunds recently relocated to Dubai.”

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