Targeting Dubai

A merger might have been seen as the right solution for the newly minted Appleby Hunter Bailhache, but there are plenty of others who have opened their own new offices.

Conyers Dill & Pearman has moved into Dubai – by far the hottest offshore jurisdiction for law firms at the moment – as the firm attempts to tap into all the wealth in the region.

As first reported by The Lawyer (24 April), Conyers will officially open in Dubai in July following its successful application for a licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

The firm’s Middle East operation will be established by consultant Rosemarie Chen, while London-based associate Roger Burgess has been promoted to partner and will move to Dubai to run the new office. Burgess will be joined by Bermuda-based corporate lawyer Guy Cooper.

Conyers head of corporate in Bermuda John Collis says: “Dubai is a very exciting place. It has promoted itself as the place where finance people get together and it’s the ideal place for us to go.”

Collis claims that while the office is yet to officially open, lawyers there are already keeping busy. “We’re beginning to see clients come to us and not just in the area of funds and securitisation, but also for more substantial corporate work,” he says.

The firm will be practising Bermudan, Cayman and British Virgin Islands’ law in Dubai. Like all the big firms, Conyers cannot afford to be complacent and Collis admits that the firm has further expansion plans. “We want to get Dubai up and running, but we’ll keep our eyes open. I expect we will launch more offices in the next few years,” he explains.