Norton Rose suffers in Dubai as Ashurst pounces

Norton Rose’s Dubai operation has been rocked by another partner departure, this time to a raid by Ashurst.

Tahir Ahmed, a corporate finance and M&A lawyer, had only been made partner in Dubai last year, but has quit Norton Rose’s Dubai operation, which took a double blow in October when Herbert Smith lured partners Nadim Khan and Zubair Mir for its launch.

It is the second hire in a week for a non-European Ashurst office, following its hire of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy associate Ashley Wright in Singapore.

Dubai, along with Asia, are the centrepieces to Ashurst’s revised international strategy, which targets rapid growth in China and Dubai, as well as India, Japan and Singapore.

Ahmed advised on the first bond issue in Saudi Arabia and is a rated financial regulatory lawyer in the region, and advised on the development of the Dubai International Financial Exhange (DIFX).

He recently advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on its $5bn (£2.53bn) sukuk programme, which was the first instrument of its kind to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Norton Rose global head of corporate finance Tim Marsden said: “Ahmed has been with us a pretty short time, and it hasn’t worked out. We have so much business there I am sending more and more people out all the time. The office is in tip-top shape.”

Norton Rose has two partners remaining in its Dubai office, and one in Bahrain.