Dubai is an amazing place that serves up a luxurious lifestyle with plenty of glitz and glamour.
I am on a six month secondment to the Financial Markets department of Simmons & Simmons’ office in Dubai. Sitting in the apartment provided by the firm writing this piece, I can see the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building containing the Armani Hotel and Armani nightclub – it’s my local nightspot in fact), the Dubai Fountain (the record-breaking choreographed fountain set on a 30 acre man-made lake) and the Dubai Mall (the world’s biggest shopping mall). After writing this piece, I can go for a swim in the pool, smoke a shisha, play a game of squash or have a Starbucks – all within my apartment complex.
In addition to the brilliant lifestyle that Dubai has to offer, the secondment has given me the opportunity to experience cross-border deals and the unique business culture of the Middle East. The work undertaken by the team in Dubai is broad, encompassing capital markets, restructuring work and banking. This has meant that I have been involved in a wide variety of finance work, including of course Islamic finance.
Furthermore, being part of a smaller team has also meant that I have been given large amounts of responsibility, handling my own discrete matters and regularly dealing directly with clients. When I return from secondment to London, I believe that I will be a more rounded and accomplished lawyer as a result of my experiences in Dubai.
Outside of the office and the apartment complex, Dubai has plenty to keep me occupied with water parks, trendy bars and nightclubs, Friday brunches, massive malls and surprisingly, skiing. Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures and, away from the glitz of the five star hotels, you can grab a delicious curry in Satwa, an area with a thriving South Asian community, or head for a night out at one of the city’s Filipino rock clubs. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can also hire 4WDs and go camping in the desert, or head out in to the Arabian Sea on a dhow and go scuba diving.
Dubai is also perfectly placed for travel around the Middle East; from clubbing in Beirut through to the historical sites of Syria.
I have loved my time in Dubai and have made some great friends out here. It has been an experience that I will never forget.