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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has launched in Abu Dhabi, marking the firm’s first outpost on the ground in the Middle East.
Cleary announced today that it had opened in Abu Dhabi after receiving a licence from the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. The firm has sent corporate partner Gamal Abouali to lead the practice. Abouali, who focuses on capital markets, M&A, privatisation and project financing, joined Cleary in 1997 and made partner in 2006. He has worked in both the firm’s New York and Paris offices.
Gamal will be joined in the Abu Dhabi office by litigation counsel Roland Ziade, who will also continue to spend time in Paris, and three associates.
According to the firm, the Abu Dhabi office will be integrated into Cleary’s wider Middle East practice, which comprises 20 partners and counsel across London, Paris, New York and Milan. Cleary has previously advised the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq and Emirates Telecommunications Corporation in deals in the region.
In a statement, Cleary managing partner Mark Leddy said: “Gamal’s broad range of practice, his insightful understanding of the region, his appreciation for the local business environment and his fluency in the main business languages of the region make him well suited to head our new office.”
At the end of 2011, Cleary confirmed plans to launch in Seoul following the ratification of the Korea-US Free Trade agreement (28 November 2011) and the firm intends to be on the ground by the end of the calendar year.