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Conyers Dill & Pearman has become the latest offshore law firm to try to tap into the booming Middle East market through its new office in the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC).
The firm registered at the DIFC in February, but it is still awaiting a licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). A spokesperson for Conyers told The Lawyer: "We're seeking to establish a presence in the Middle East and are going through the appropriate channels and procedures in order to accomplish this."
Dubai gives Conyers its eighth international office, making it one of the biggest players in the offshore legal market. It also has operations in Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, London and Singapore.
As with other sectors of the legal profession, offshore law firms have been keen to benefit from the demand for legal services in the Gulf. As first reported by The Lawyer (21 November 2005) Caymans-based Walkers has also launched a Dubai office.
Overall, the offshore legal market has seen some of the biggest expansion in recent years, with firms looking to benefit from a multijurisdictional approach. Already in 2006 Ozannes made history as the first Guernsey outfit to launch an office in Jersey, while Jersey firm Bedell Cristin has opened a Guernsey operation.
Together with China, Dubai has become the most popular place for firms to launch new offices. UK firms such as Ashurst, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters launched there last year. US firms with strong energy practices, such as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Baker Botts, have also opened new offices in Dubai.