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Norton Rose is launching a dispute resolution practice in Dubai, with Hong Kong partner Patrick Bourke relocating to head the group.
Bourke's team will comprise two associates from London and two in Bahrain.
Head of dispute resolution Antony Dutton said the new team will support the firm's transactional practice in the Middle East.
"The dispute resolution group has built a well-established practice for the Middle East off the back of our Islamic finance transactions," said Dutton. "The increase in workload was one factor that led us to see this as the right time to be on the ground in Dubai."
Dutton added that, in addition to supporting the transactional practice, the litigation team will be looking for regulatory opportunities with the Dubai Financial Services Authority and the Dubai International Financial Centre.
"Having a litigation base in the Middle East is also important for our practice area's international expansion," said Dutton. "This is simply down to many of the clients in the region being global players."
News of the new group comes a month after the Middle East practice saw senior corporate finance partner Campbell Steedman take over the helm from Graeme Muir.
In recent months Norton Rose has lost several big-hitting lawyers, including energy partner John Inglis to Ashurst and finance partners Nadim Khan and Zubair Mir to Herbert Smith.