I spent my second seat in the Abu Dhabi office, which was a world away from what I was used to in London.
On Sunday, the first day of my seat, I was able to walk to work - a far cry from my usual hour-long commute in the dark depths of London Underground.
Having braved the already rising heat outside the office, my first task was to review various third party industrial supply agreements for the Sadara project. This is a joint venture between our client, The Dow Chemical Company and Saudi Aramco, to construct the world’s biggest petrochemicals plant ever built in a single phase, in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The magnitude of such a project was difficult to comprehend initially, with so many different workstreams running concurrently. The majority of my time in Abu Dhabi was spent working on preparing the contracts for the supply of industrial products to this petrochemicals facility. These contracts were often very large agreements -negotiated and redrafted various times, making thoroughness and an eye for the smallest detail key.
Rather than being confined to one practice area, this was a mixed seat and so I also had the opportunity to undertake some work for the corporate department. This gave me a great insight into the firm’s client base in the Middle East.
My work for our corporate team often led to interactions with local government bodies and gave me a greater understanding of the multiple layers of local laws in operation; from the federal laws and royal decrees, to the role that the various Dubai-based freezones play in promoting international business.
The support network with other trainees who were also out in Abu Dhabi was invaluable, providing a good opportunity to network and gain contacts for when we returned to London, whilst also allowing us to make the most of our time in the Middle East.
A brief trip back to the UK, halfway through my seat, emphasised the very distinct working and living environments. Working in Abu Dhabi during the holy month of Ramadan and fasting during daylight hours, followed by the Iftar celebrations, gave me a firsthand insight into the practices of Islam - the official state religion - which I would not have otherwise gained.
Being given the chance to do part of my training contract at one of our international offices has enriched my traineeship greatly and has been an unforgettable experience. Taking a seat abroad has cemented my desire to practise law on an international basis, working for an international firm.
A blog post from fellow trainee Sophie Rees who replaced Robert in Abu Dhabi will follow…