Brandford-Griffith & Associés is set to become the first French firm to launch an office in Dubai when it opens for business on 1 November.

Capital markets and M&A partner Nigel Hartridge will move out to Dubai to manage the office, which will concentrate on advising French companies on investments in the Middle East.

“It started out with our interest in India,” said Hartridge. “I and a couple of partners have been travelling out there regularly and then thought of branching out from India to opportunities in the Middle East. An office in Dubai would give us a good base to cover the India market as well as the Middle East.”

He added: “We’re not going to use Dubai to expand our areas of practice. We’re not going to go head-to-head with English and American firms in the energy market.”

Brandford-Griffith will be based in the Dubai International Financial Centre, expecting to send out one or two associates to work with Hartridge. The firm is made up of 30 lawyers, 11 of whom are partners.