UAE nationals set for first UK training contract

Clifford Chance and Trowers & Hamlins are teaming up with the government-owned investment company Dubai Holding to offer the first-ever training programme in English law for UAE nationals.

“We’re looking to give something back, [as law firms] we benefit from the boom in Dubai,” explained Graham Lovett, managing partner of Clifford Chance’s Dubai office.

The first trainees will undertake their LPC this year, then begin their training contracts in September 2009, “we envisage 12 months in Dubai, 12 months in London, subject to SRA requirements,” clarified Lovett.

Thereafter the newly qualified lawyers will commit to joining the in-house legal capacity at Dubai Holding for a specified period of time.

“We’ve had Omani trainees in our Oman office, we have a Bahraini trainee in Bahrain at the moment and a number of Egyptian lawyers in Cairo, so it completes the picture,” said Nick White, managing partner of Trowers in Dubai.

The scheme originated from an approach by Dubai Holding general counsel Gerard Hobby, with whom both the firms have a long-standing relationship. Hobby asked if the firms would participate. White said: “It was very much a top down initiative.”

The two law firms have committed to taking on two trainees each over the next two years. Trowers has specifically reviewed budgets to add these trainees to current intake, said White. While the new trainees will form part of the current intake at Clifford Chance Dubai.