Clyde & Co has set its sights on the Australian market as a way of meeting its ambitious Middle East recruitment objectives.
The firm, which hopes to recruit 54 fee-earners this year for its three Gulf offices, has visited the cities of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as part of its recruitment drive – and has already made offers to five lawyers.
Clydes’ Dubai-based HR manager Larry Archer told The Lawyer: “Australians are more career-focused and we see what’s going on at the moment as an opportunity. While the front-end property development work in the Gulf is falling away, there’s a lot of regulatory work going on. Dubai’s strata law is drafted on the basis of Australian law, so Australians are a perfect fit.”
The firm is recruiting into corporate, employment, property and regulatory areas and is looking to bulk up in Abu Dhabi and Doha in particular.
“Dubai is viewed as being overlawyered,” said Archer. “People are looking to Qatar and Abu Dhabi – that was our focus.”
An estimated 85 per cent of Clydes’ new recruits to the region will come from common law jurisdictions. But the firm has also targeted Arabic-speaking students through a two-year English law training programme in its London offices (The Lawyer, 1 September 2008).
During ;the ;2007-08 financial ;year, ;Clydes brought on board 43 fee-earners across the Gulf.
Other international firms have travelled to Australia in a bid to staff their offices. Herbert Smith picked up six Australian interns in 2006 and 10 in 2007 to staff its London office (TheLawyer.com, 20 August 2007). The firm targeted the Australian market because it argued there was less competition from rivals.