Baker Botts suffers from K&S Dubai raid

King & Spalding has bolstered its burgeoning Dubai operation with the hire of three associates from US rival Baker Botts.

The firm, which opened in the Dubai International Financial Centre earlier this month, is also to formalise an association with a Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian firm.

The additional lawyers in Dubai bring the Atlanta-headquartered firm’s Middle East headcount to seven. King & Spalding international energy practice head Philip Weems relocated from Houston to Dubai to launch the office. A partner each from London and Atlanta have also been relocated there, while a fourth partner is to divide time between New York and Dubai.

King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays said in a statement: “With the huge growth in investment within the region and the vibrant regional business hub that has developed there, we believe the timing is right for [our firm] to have a significant presence in the region.”

The associate hires specialise in Islamic finance, international projects and corporate and private equity work.