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Middle East

Introduction to Middle East

Arabia, the areas made up of the Arabian Peninsula, is located in the south-western region of the Asian continent. The main commercial centers in the Middle East are located in the Gulf and include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Oman and Kuwait.

The Legal Market

The Middle East offers lawyers superb career opportunities with law firms and in-house. It is fast paced, exciting and continues to attract serious global organisations to the region. It offers lawyers cutting-edge legal work, great client contact, relatively small but high quality teams and impressive salary packages with zero tax. Over the last few years a significant number of top-tier City and US firms have signaled their commitment to the region by opening offices in Dubai and other major cities. Local full-service firms also offer high quality work, with established links with a superb range of local clients.

The work on offer in the region typically embraces corporate, corporate finance/banking (with a particular emphasis on Islamic Finance), construction / projects / energy, IT/e-commerce and litigation. Opportunities in practice areas such as employment and, to a lesser extent commercial property, are limited.

The majority of international law firms in the region are British and located in the UAE. Many firms such as Clyde & Co, Clifford Chance, Trowers & Hamlins, Allen & Overy and Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) have been in Dubai for many years but have now been joined by well-known international brands such as Norton Rose, Ashurst, Simmons & Simmons, Freshfields, Herbert Smith, Lovells and DLA Piper amongst others.

The last few years has seen major US firms such as Latham & Watkins (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar), Dewey & LeBoeuf (Dubai), Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (Dubai) and King & Spalding (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia), make major in-roads into the market.

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