DLA Piper has made a rare hire out of SJ Berwin's real estate partnership, recruiting Tom O'Grady to establish a Middle East property practice.
The move to expand the firm's Middle East offering to include real estate comes after The Lawyer (13 November) revealed DLA Piper's plans to expand its geographic coverage, with launches in Qatar, Oman and Bahrain all imminent.
O'Grady, a partner at SJ Berwin since 1998, will relocate from London to Dubai to officially take up his post from 1 January 2007. He will be DLA Piper's fifth partner in the region and its first for real estate.
DLA Piper Dubai managing partner Jayshree Gupta said the firm planned to expand the real estate practice to six lawyers in Dubai.
"With the growth in Dubai and the Middle East in this sector, real estate is a key focus for us," Gupta said.