Lovells has raided Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) for a three-partner team to launch an office in Dubai.
As first revealed on www. thelawyer.com (5 February), senior banking and finance partner Rahail Ali, who heads DWS's global Islamic finance practice, is joining Lovells' new Dubai office. He will be be joined by banking and finance associate Rustum Shah and corporate and capital markets associate Imtiaz Shah, who will both become partners.
Between them the three have acted on more than $12bn (£6.1bn) worth of deals in the past 12 months, including advising the underwriters on the $1bn (£507.94m) Islamic bond financing for the expansion of Dubai Airport and advising on the financing of Dubai Ports World's $5.7bn (£2.9bn) acquisition of P&O.
The office, which is expected to be up and running by early May 2007, will be headed by London banking and project finance partner Shibeer Ahmed, who will be joined in Dubai by a London corporate partner later in the year.
Lovells aims to build a practice of around 25-30 lawyers and other staff by the end of the first year.
Lovells managing partner David Harris said: "From soundings we've taken from our clients, there's a real opportunity for us to develop and grow a significant presence in Dubai."