Clifford Chance names banking partner Abraham as new Middle East head

Clifford Chance has named banking and finance partner Robin Abraham as new Middle East managing partner to replace current head Graham Lovett.

Abraham will start his four-year term on 1 May after a regional partner vote. He will take over from Lovett, who continues as regional head of litigation and dispute resolution.

Abraham won a place on the firm’s partnership committee two years ago after being made up in 2005 (29 February 2012). He will have to stand down from that position and give up his place on the audit committee but will remain on the firm’s global finance practice leadership group.

Lovett was unable to stand again for the role after serving two terms (15 June 2010). The litigation partner had headed the firm’s partnership in the region since 2005, having arrived at the Dubai office a year earlier.

Clifford Chance has been making strides in the Middle East over the past year. Earlier this year it established the first Saudi and foreign lawyer partnership in Saudi Arabia (10 March 2014), transferring longstanding co-operation firm Al-Jadaan’s practice into the firm (6 January 2014).

The firm also has offices in Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Doha, Dubai and Istanbul and has 120 lawyers in the region.

Lovett has overseen the growth of the Dubai team from one to four offices. In 2011 he oversaw the opening of the firm’s office in Qatar.

Abraham said: “My experience in the region and roles on Clifford Chance’s partnership council and audit committee have given me great exposure to the global pressures our clients in the region are facing. We have a strong on-the-ground team of over 120 lawyers and a solid commitment to the Middle East.”

He will take up the role at the same time as Matthew Layton, who was elected in November last year to replace outgoing David Childs, takes over as Clifford Chance’s new global head (28 November 2013).