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Clifford Chance

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  • Image of United Arab Emirates
  • Image of United Arab Emirates
  • Image of United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Our team of over 80 lawyers advises clients on domestic, regional, and international matters and have delivered many first-of-a-kind deals. We opened our first UAE office in 1975 and are well known for innovative, market-leading work.

A sizeable team with a proven track record

We've advised clients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for over 40 years, significantly longer than many other international law firms. We have in-house Arabic capability, and, in contrast to many other firms, we can advise on both English and UAE law.

Our offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are permanently staffed by over 80 lawyers. We base lawyers in the UAE, rather than bringing in out-of-region lawyers to resource complex transactions, because we believe that clients get the best results from teams who are familiar with the region's laws, languages, and business processes.

The size of our UAE team and our close links with the firm's other Middle East offices mean that we can quickly put together strong in-region teams who can work efficiently on complex domestic, regional, and international deals. These teams are used to working together and with specialist lawyers from the firm's international network.

We advise many financial institutions, corporations and government entities on regional matters and regularly deliver complex regional and international transactions (see Recent highlights below).

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • International Law Firm of the Year, IFLR Middle East Awards 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007
  • International Law Firm of the Year: Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards 2016, 2014
  • Best Islamic law firm: The Asset Triple A Islamic Awards 2016
  • Middle East Pharma, Medical & Biotech M&A Legal Advisor of the Year and Middle East Financial Services M&A Legal Advisor of the Year: Mergermarket Middle Eastern M&A Awards 2016
  • Middle East Deal of the Year: Airfinance Journal Awards 2016
  • Innovation in Islamic Finance: Euromoney Awards 2016   
  • Consistently achieved the highest number of Tier One rankings in Chambers Global and Legal 500 in the Middle East than any other competitor
  • First joint Saudi and foreign owned law partnership to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • We sit on the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) Courts Users Committee and Middle East Managing Partner, Graham Lovett, is Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the DIFCA (Dubai International Financial Centre Authority) Board. We were the first law firm to be registered to issue and conduct proceedings before the DIFC Courts.

Recent work

  • DP World on the acquisition of Economic Zones World from Port and Free Zone World for US$2.6 billion
  • the increase in Dubai Parks and Resorts' (DPR) issued share capital by way of a US$460 million rights issue on the Dubai Financial Market
  • UAE sovereign wealth fund in the sale of a business to an international private equity consortium, one of the largest PE deals in the region in several years
  • Dubai World in its successful negotiations with 130 lenders for the extension of more than US$14.6 billion of debt facilities
  • the award-winning ENOC Jebel Ali Refinery expansion US$1.5 billion facility
  • DP World US$3 billion sukuk issuance programme to Regulation S/Rule 144A standards and the inaugural issuance thereunder, coupled with a simultaneous liability management exercise
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) on the establishment of a US Commercial Paper Programme for the issuance of up to US$5 billion
  • continuing to advise Masdar (Abu Dhabi National Energy Company) on the development of the UAE's first carbon capture project and the world's first commercial scale carbon capture project
  • Emirates Global Aluminium  on a US$4.9 billion conventional and Islamic facilities for the refinancing of an existing project finance facility of EMAL (Emirates Aluminium)
  • the largest EUR denominated loan for a Middle East borrower, Aabar EUR3.6 billion facility.

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

Chambers Global: UAE, 2016

  • Tier One in Banking & Finance
  • Tier One in Capital Markets
  • Tier One in Corporate/M&A
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution
  • Tier Two in Construction
  • Tier Three in Real Estate

Legal 500: UAE, 2016

  • Tier One in Banking & Finance
  • Tier One in Corporate/M&A
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution
  • Tier One in Projects/Energy & Infrastructure
  • Tier One in Islamic Finance
  • Tier Two in Construction
  • Tier Three in Real Estate

Chambers Global: UAE, 2015

  • Tier One in Banking & Finance
  • Tier One in Capital Markets
  • Tier One in Corporate/M&A High End Cross Border
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution
  • Tier Two in Real Estate & Construction

Legal 500: UAE, 2015

  • Tier One in Banking & Finance
  • Tier One in Islamic Finance
  • Tier Two in Construction
  • Tier One in Corporate and M&A
  • Tier One in Dispute Resolution
  • Tier One in Energy & Infrastructure
  • Tier Three in Real Estate

Client comments

  • "The firm has a level of expertise at partner and associate level that is hard to ignore on transactions."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "The firm has partners in specialist areas."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "Great people, great support and great service. You know when they are involved it'll be done in a proper way."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "They do exceptionally well across the board, doing all the things you'd want a firm to do for you. They really do go the extra mile."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "They are very flexible, up-front and deliver great client service."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "They provide excellent advice quickly and they have very good attention to detail."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "The lawyers are very informative; they're aware of the details a transaction requires."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "Clifford Chance is reliable, responsive and a very strong corporate firm."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "The partners are very proactive, very knowledgeable and experienced."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • "Dedicated Islamic finance and financial services regulatory teams."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2016
  • Clifford Chance’s team is ‘always on the ball and provides intrinsic knowledge in line with the particular circumstances’.
    Legal 500: UAE, 2016
  • "We have a panel of global law firms but each year Clifford Chance in MENA manage to excel above all others we work closely with.”
    IFLR: UAE, 2016
  • "Clifford Chance has an almost unrivalled tenure and reputation in the Emirates. One of the market leaders across the board... the two-office team is technically strong, client-orientated and commercial."
    IFLR: UAE, 2016
  • "Our go-to firm for complex matters – they are commercial as well as being able to advise on the legal risk."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2015
  • "They are flexible, innovative and able to bring deals to a close within a tight timeframe."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2015
  • "They are clearly leaders in their field. They are technically very good, efficient and commercial."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2015
  • "A stellar international firm, with a substantial practice. They are able to do the big-ticket cases that require teams of associates."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2015
  • "The team has not only been excellent in terms of work quality, but has also been extremely impressive in terms of commercial acumen."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2015
  • "They are the ‘go-to’ firm for a large number of major local and international financial institutions and sponsors."
    Legal 500: UAE, 2015
  • "They provide ‘an excellent level of service, with great response times and business acumen’ and to some, is the market leader in the region."
    Legal 500: UAE, 2015
  • "The team stands out for providing advice that is ‘always accurate, precise and provides a clear way forward without sitting on the fence’."
    Legal 500: UAE, 2015
  • "Clifford Chance is recommended for its ‘response times and industry knowledge’."
    Legal 500: UAE, 2015