Patton Boggs snares top Iraqi lawyer in Qatar

Iraq’s most high-profile business lawyer Hussein ;Damirji has retreated from Baghdad to join the Qatar office of US firm Patton Boggs.

Damirji, who founded the New Iraq Law Firm in 2003 following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Baath regime, will become a partner at the US firm in Qatar after tiring of the security situation in his home town.

Damirji said: “It was very challenging and extremely rewarding to build a firm under such difficult circumstances.

“I wanted to create a firm that had strong international legal capabilities. But after building that up I’m now keen to move onto a new challenge.”

The move comes after Denton Wilde Sapte snared Patton Boggs partner Leigh Hall and counsel Safwa Mabouydeen to head its new Doha office last year (The Lawyer, 17 September 2007).

Damirji, who is US-qualified, said: “Patton Boggs is a hugely successful firm – and not just in the Middle East. The attraction for me is the entrenched relationships the firm has in the region. Although it’s been on the ground since the early 1990s, it’s had a presence in the region for much longer.”

While there is a number of international firms registered to operate in the jurisdiction with the Qatar Financial Centre, Patton Boggs and Simmons & Simmons are the only two firms licensed to practise local law. The US firm has had an on-the-ground presence for two decades.

The New Iraq Law Firm, which has corporate, energy ;and ;property capabilities, employs five associates and will continue to serve core banking and corporate clients.