Herbert Smith Freehills to close Abu Dhabi office

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is closing its office in Abu Dhabi, with its five remaining lawyers relocating to Dubai within the next month. 

The move takes Dubai’s partner headcount up to eight, as Abu Dhabi’s managing partner Alexander Currie also joins the team.

HSF has decided to close the Abu Dhabi base to consolidate the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) offices into one. It launched in 2008, around the same time as the Dubai office.

The Middle East practice will remain headed by Zubair Mir, who is based in Dubai.

In a statement Mir said: “We can confirm that we are to close our Abu Dhabi office. We are confident that we can continue to provide the quality and breadth of service to our clients in Abu Dhabi from our offices in Dubai and Doha and our global network across the UK/US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 

“We remain committed to growing our leading practice in the region which is a key strategic market for the firm.”

Last year, HSF lost Islamic finance specialist Adil Hussain to Clyde & Co’s Abu Dhabi office (8 September 2014). 

The firm is the second to slim down in the UAE this year, following Latham & Watkins’ decision to close in Doha and consolidate Dubai and Abu Dhabi (18 March 2015).