Clyde & Co gains exclusive access to Dubai's free zone

Clyde & Co has set up an office in the Dubai free zone, while other firms have been denied entry by the government.
Involvement in Dubai's free zones is beneficial for lawyers as they attract a higher proportion of multinational companies than elsewhere in Dubai because of the advantages they provide to foreigners. Commentators expect an investment boom in all three free zones in Dubai.
Anthony Garrod, managing partner of Clyde & Co's Dubai office, which is the largest in the region, acted for the government on the drafting of laws for the free zone. About a year ago the firm was granted a license to establish a branch office or a wholly owned subsidiary.
Clyde & Co has recently established an office in Dubai's media city, one of two branches of Dubai's technology, media and e-commerce free zone. Dubai also has a shipping and an airport free zone. The firm has appointed an assistant to the office and plans to make further lateral hires.
Clyde & Co seems to have made its move at the right time, as the Dubai government has since imposed a ban on further licenses being issued to law firms. It is believed that the government feels a skeleton lawyer presence in the free zone is enough and prefers to keep the remainder in onshore Dubai.
Free zones allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies (elsewhere in Dubai there is a 51 per cent limit on foreign company ownership) exemption from import duties and corporation tax, and regulatory support from the free zone administration.