Simmons, DWS launch Middle East tit-for-tat swoops

Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) has snared Simmons & Simmons’ former Abu Dhabi managing partner just as Simmons has poached a DWS Dubai corporate partner.

Andrew Ward has left Simmons to head DWS’s Abu Dhabi office, while DWS Dubai corporate partner Tom Deegan is heading to Simmons to help rebuild its dwindling Hong Kong office.

Ward, who replaces former DWS office head Richard de Belder, was the second partner to move to the Simmons Abu Dhabi office in 1996. He returned to London in 2002 after heading the office for several years.

Ward said: “Abu Dhabi is an exciting legal environment. There’s a high level of projects work and we’re keen to expand the office and our client base.”

DWS earmarked Abu Dhabi as its key focus in the United Arab Emirates in 2007 and plans to add five associates to its local office in the next six months. That said, the firm lost key partner Rahail Ali and his Dubai-based Islamic finance team to Lovells in May this year, but former DWS senior associate Gary Hodgson rejoined the firm in its Abu Dhabi office in May.

In contrast, Simmons suffered losses from its Abu Dhabi office when Allen & Overy snapped up its managing partner Ibrahim Mubaydeen and structured finance partner Francois Duquette in June this year.