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Berrymans Lace Mawer is losing the head of its Dubai office for the second time in less than a year.
Construction specialist Jason Blick took the post last year when head of the Dubai branch Nigel Truscott left to join Denton Hall (The Lawyer, 19 July 1999).
It is understood that Blick is leaving to join a local IT company but he has so far refused to reveal the company's name to the firm's partners. It is believed that Blick intends to instruct Berrymans after he leaves as the firm has widened its Middle East practice to include IT.
He leaves as Berrymans continues merger talks with a local firm.
A source says the talks have been going on for "some time" but that negotiations are being "accelerated".
The firm already has a close relationship with Lufti Al Bahar which handles local advocacy work and litigation.
But Paul Taylor, national senior partner at Berrymans, refuses to discuss the merger talks.
Commenting on Blick, he says: "We are sorry that he is going. He has done a brilliant job at the Dubai office and we look forward to working with him in the future.
"He has been in charge of setting up the IT scheme which is why he has done such a great job in building up the practice."
It is unclear who will replace Blick, but a number of lawyers in Berrymans' London office have expressed an interest in the post.
The Dubai office, set up in 1995, has five full-time staff and a range of clients in insurance, construction and the commercial world.
As part of its Middle Eastern strategy, Berrymans has also been talking to a number of Iranian firms including Dr Behrooz Akhlaghi & Associates, Dr Dashtara & Associates and Torossian Avanessian & Associates about forming an alliance.