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Clifford Chance

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  • 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
  • Regional M&A Law Firm of the Year; Financial Services M&A Law Firm of the Year: Mergermarket Middle Eastern M&A Awards 2017
  • Islamic Finance Deal of the Year: ALB Malaysia Awards 2017
  • Deal of the Year; UAE Deal of the Year; Saudi Arabia Deal of the Year: IFN Awards 2016
  • Best Islamic law firm: The Asset Triple A Islamic Awards 2016
  • 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

  • the landmark acquisition by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise of 80% of Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Limited (Joramco) from the Abraaj Group
  • 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
  • Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC's issuance of US$500 million reset subordinated perpetual notes (the Notes) by MAF Global Securities Limited
  • 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, 2017

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

Legal 500: UAE, 2017

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

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

Client comments

  • "They are a top law firm and their work ethic and responsiveness are second to none."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "Absolutely first-rate team with unparalleled DIFC financial services-related work."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "I think they are the most widely-established firm in the region."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "A standout firm which performs at a different level."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "The lawyers have a very strong consistency of talent."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "Has a very good depth of knowledge of the local market and local issues."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "They implement measures fast and efficiently. What they have achieved is quite revolutionary."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "They are very attentive and they are open to dialogue - it's a very professional relationship."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "They are not just focused on the individual deal but they have in mind the long-term relationship and how to best serve the client."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "They are both responsive and practical in their approach."
    Chambers Global: UAE, 2017
  • "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