Abu Dhabi exodus: Simmons is latest firm to close

Simmons & Simmons has become the latest law firm to close its Abu Dhabi office following a “detailed review” of its work in the region.

The firm will continue to work for its clients from a “consolidated and enhanced offering in Dubai”, its largest office in the UAE, read a statement.

The statement continued: “Ultimately, the location of our offices is determined by the key markets for clients in our sectors. This is demonstrated by our recent office openings in Singapore, Munich and Luxembourg.”

In the Middle East, Simmons also has offices in Doha, Jeddah and Riyadh.

It is not yet known whether the firm’s five lawyers including three partners based in Abu Dhabi will be relocated.

Abu Dhabi has seen a growing exodus of foreign firms in recent years, with many reducing their presence or closing offices altogether.

Herbert Smith Freehills closed its Abu Dhabi office in June, moving its five remaining lawyers to its Dubai office. The two offices were opened in 2008 but the firm decided to consolidate, to serve its clients in Dubai and Doha. Baker Botts closed its Abu Dhabi office last May and Latham & Watkins revealed last March it would close its Doha office and would consolidate its Abu Dhabi office into its base in Dubai. Latham’s 35 lawyers in the Middle East were invited to join the Dubai office.