Freshfields turns to A&O for first Islamic finance head

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired an Allen & Overy lawyer as its first-ever global head of Islamic finance.

Tarek El-Assra, previously a senior associate at A&O, is joining Freshfields as a counsel in the firm’s Dubai office.

The appointment follows the news less than a month ago that partner Pervez Akhtar, hired from A&O in December, had been promoted to the role of regional managing partner for the Middle East and North Africa (5 October 2011).

El-Assra has experience of both conventional and Islamic finance transactions.

Freshfields’ global finance head Alan Newton said demand for knowledge in Islamic finance was “increasingly exceeding” that of conventional finance deals.