Bird & Bird eyes Dubai in cross-border work drive

Bird & Bird is planning a Middle East launch, with Dubai the likely location.

Bird & Bird eyes Dubai in cross-border work drive” />Bird & Bird is planning a Middle East launch, with Dubai the likely location.

The UK firm has boosted revenue by 84 per cent during the past five years, cracking the £100m barrier this year. It has also embarked on an expansive strategy that has seen it open in all of Europe’s major jurisdictions.

Bird & Bird chief executive David Kerr told The Lawyer: “I think we’ve uncovered a huge demand for that cross-border service of consistent quality. We’re now planning to open in the Middle East.”

Bird & Bird has opened offices in Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, Rome, Madrid and Lyon during the past five years and has two offices in China. The firm’s overseas offices now account for around 55 per cent of total turnover.

The firm has targeted lawyers in each country who can fit with its strategy of offering cross-border transactional and dispute resolution services within specific technology-focused industry sectors.

“Our strategy is not to be the biggest firm in every market, but to be in or near the top 20 in every country we work in,” said Kerr.

The Middle East market is fiercely competitive, with a number of UK and US firms launching or planning to launch there. Anglo-Scots firm HBJ Gateley Wareing announced last week (26 July) that it is waiting for regulatory approval on a Dubai launch.

Herbert Smith, Lovells and Reed Smith Richards Butler have all launched in Dubai during the past year, while Allen & Overy and Trowers & Hamlins have both set up shop in Saudi Arabia.

“For us, going into a competitive market is a good thing because the market’s sophisticated. We’re selling a rather unusual proposition,” said Kerr.