Simmons & Simmons has continued to invest in its Middle ;East ;practice by sending two finance partners to Dubai, including Philip Abbott, who will head the regional finance team.
He will be joined in the city by debt capital markets specialist Natalie Boyd, who is also relocating from London, taking the number of finance partners in the Gulf to five.
The firm has expanded rapidly in Dubai over the past year. The office saw two lateral partner hires in 2008 – finance partner Eric Milne from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he was counsel, ;and ;Vanessa Abernethy from Clyde & Co, where she was a corporate associate.
In November real estate associate Duane Keighran joined ;the ;firm ;from Freshfields.
Abbott, a former Allen & Overy associate, who joined Simmons as a partner in 2003, said the region was well placed to recover from the global economic crisis.
“The Middle East will recover a lot more quickly,” he said. “There’s money in the region and there are infrastructure needs.”
The practice will focus on real estate finance and Islamic funds, as well as general bank lending.