Clifford Chance to centralise in Dubai

CLIFFORD CHANCE has closed its two-lawyer office in Bahrain and decided to carry out all its Middle East work from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Richard Price, senior partner at the Dubai office, said the decision had been made to ensure the firm's lawyers were not spread too thinly across the region.

He said the nature and size of the legal work carried out by a firm of Clifford Chance's size meant that there was an increasing requirement for bigger teams of lawyers working on particular jobs.

Price said that larger jobs demanded greater depth and there was a tendency now to use field teams of lawyers to deal with specific jobs.

“It is preferable to have these teams in one place. Sustaining small offices is not really viable,” he said.

Clifford Chance currently has two partners and seven assistants in Dubai. Assistant Vernon Handley joined the office from Bahrain, and the other assistant, Cahty Chouai, has moved to Moscow.

Norton Rose is the only other UK firm in Bahrain. It has four lawyers and one partner.

Resident partner Neil Miller said Clifford Chance's exit was a shame for Bahrain because it might give the wrong message about the city.

But he added that Norton Rose's business was thriving and had expansion plans.

Allen & Overy, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Clyde & Co, Fox & Gibbons, Hill Taylor Dickinson, Malkins, Nabarro Nathanson and Trowers & Hamlins all have offices or associations in Dubai.