LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire – The firm is to increase to six the…

LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire – The firm is to increase to six the number of partners in its recently opened Dubai office.

London partners David Laurence (energy/projects) Craig Shepherd (dispute resolution) and Stephen Rayfield (corporate finance) will relocate to Dubai over the next few months. The move reflects current high demand among its international client base for on-the-ground corporate finance and energy/projects expertise, and anticipated growth in demand for dispute resolution capability in the Middle East.

The partners will join Middle East head Neil Brimson (energy/projects), partners Zubair Mir (corporate finance/private equity) and Nadim Khan (Islamic finance) and the seven associates presently working out of Dubai.

In addition Herbert Smith consultant Charles Plant, former head of the firm’s pre-eminent Litigation and Arbitration division, will from September focus his consultancy work on the development of the firm’s disputes practice in the region, working alongside Craig.

David Laurence
David, who has been a partner since 2001, is known for his work on big-ticket projects particularly in Asia and the Middle East, and for his work on mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures within the energy sector. He is one of the lead partners advising Sumitomo Chemical in its role as co-developer of the $9.8 billion Rabigh Refinery Expansion and Petrochemical project, which reached financial close last year and was awarded Project Finance Deal of the Year at the IFLR Middle East Awards in 2006.

Craig Shepherd
Craig is a dispute resolution expert who has amassed broad experience across a number of sectors including projects, energy and, in particular, construction. He worked in the firm’s Hong Kong office from 1995 to 2006, where he headed the construction and arbitration group. Major clients include China Light & Power, who he has been advising on matters in relation to the Hong Kong electricity sector regulatory framework.

Stephen Rayfield
An M&A specialist and member of the firm’s private equity, infrastructure and energy practices, Stephen’s wide-ranging experience includes advising on some of the firm’s most high-profile corporate and projects work in recent years. This includes advising QinetiQ on its PPP and IPO, the DTI on the establishment of the NDA and PwC on the disposal of its consulting business.

Charles Plant
Long regarded as one of the UK’s leading international litigation and arbitration practitioners, Charles’ expertise covers a large number of industry sectors including media, energy, construction, IT and financial services. He has wide experience in bringing claims relating to professional negligence and fraud and has conducted arbitrations around the world, including in the Middle East.

Since becoming fully operational at the beginning of March this year, Herbert Smith’s Dubai office has secured a string of major mandates notably in the investment funds, banking and energy sectors. These include:
• advising Merrill Lynch and Unicorn Investment Bank as lead managers of a major Sukuuk issuance
• acting for ONGC Videsh on its substantial acquisition of Egyptian offshore oil interests from Shell
• advising Millennium Finance Corporation on the creation of its $1 billion TMT Fund sponsored by Dubai Islamic Bank. The TMT Fund is part of the $5 billion “Family of Funds”

Neil Brimson commented:
“The due diligence that we undertook before deciding to open in Dubai suggested there would be strong demand for a firm that could offer a range of top-end capability covering transactions, projects and disputes. The imminent arrival of these highly-regarded partners, and of someone of Charles Plant’s stature, to the current team reflects the strength of this demand and will help give our profile in the Middle East a distinctive edge.”

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