Vinson & Elkins has opened an office in Dubai, making it the second firm in as many months to launch a base in the region.
Vinsons, which has longstanding links with the United Arab Emirates, particularly in the energy field, plans to focus on Dubai's water, telecoms, transportation, infrastructure, energy and project finance sectors.
Other firms in Dubai are Clyde & Co, whose Dubai office is the largest of all law firm offices in the Middle East, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Denton Wilde Sapte. Norton Rose will also set up shop in Dubai next September to focus on corporate finance and banking.
In August, ex-Vinsons partner Matthew Kidwell joined the Dubai office of Dentons.
His work at Vinsons was mainly Middle East orientated, and included representing Occidental Petroleum on its acquisition of a stake in Project Dolphin, a 260-mile pipeline across the United Arab Emirates.
Jeff Eldredge has relocated from Vinsons' London office to head up the firm's Dubai operation. The office has UK and US lawyers, some of whom are Arabic speakers.
Dubai has become a focus for attention because of the expansion of its banking community, which is capitalising on the Islamic finance explosion. Dubai's proximity to Iraq and Kuwait also means lawyers can service clients in these jurisdictions.