Clifford Chance plans to open a new office in Abu Dhabi on Aug. 3.
Graham Lovett, managing partner for the Gulf region, will be responsible for the office with banking and finance partner Richard Ernest leading an initial team of ten lawyers on location in Abu Dhabi.
Ernest has been with the firm for 11 years and has worked in the firm's London, Moscow and Frankfurt offices. Peter Deegan, a partner in real estate currently based in the firm's Warsaw office, will relocate to Abu Dhabi and capital markets partner Chris Walsh will be seconded from London to the office.
"The new office in Abu Dhabi represents a great opportunity for the firm in one of the fastest growing and most dynamic countries in the region," Lovett said. "The pace of development and change there has created a new legal landscape and we need to have a presence on the ground to develop and strengthen our key client relationships. We intend to build on our long-term success in Dubai, both through this expansion and our strengthening relationship with Al-Jadaan & Partners in Riyadh, to consolidate our position as the leading international law firm in the region."
The office will focus on finance, capital markets, projects, corporate, real estate and litigation. It is expected that the Abu Dhabi office will grow to 20 to 30 lawyers in the next two to three years as a reflection of growing demand from clients for high quality legal expertise in the nation's capital.