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Stephenson Harwood is preparing the ground to launch an office in Dubai as part of its continuing international strategy.
The firm has hired finance partner Umar Moghul from US litigation firm Murtha Cullina, while commercial litigation partner Rovine Chandrasekera has been appointed to lead the practice.
It had been hoped that the new office would be open by the summer, however, the firm’s chief executive Sharon White said that the firm has been forced to wait to file its application for a licence to practise with The Ruler’s Court while Dubai legislators discuss new regulations.
Until now, Stephenson Harwood has operated in the Middle East, where it focuses on Islamic finance and investment, only through an association with Kuwait firm ASAR - Al Ruwayeh & Partners, which also has offices in Bahrain. Stephenson Harwood said that it intends to continue its relationship with ASAR.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “As part of Stephenson Harwood’s ongoing international strategy, we’re intending to apply for a licence to open a new office in Dubai. The Gulf is a source of outward and inward trade and investment both eastwards and westwards. An office in the region would dovetail well with Stephenson Harwood’s existing locations and clients.
“If the licence is granted, the office will be headed by Rovine Chandrasekera, a commercial litigation and arbitration partner. We’re currently looking to appoint other fee-earners, particularly in the areas of corporate/energy, finance - including finance partner Umar Moghul - and litigation.”
Stephenson Harwood already has offices in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Piraeus, Shanghai and Singapore. The firm also has associated offices in Athens, Bucharest and Jakarta.