A&O sends 20 lawyers to Middle East

Allen & Overy (A&O) is sending six partners and 14 associates from seven jurisdictions to staff its Middle East offices in a bid to increase its capacity there by almost a quarter.

This follows its successful Middle East recruitment road show earlier in the year, where United Arab Emirate (UAE) managing partner Simon Roderick visited the London and Amsterdam offices with six lawyers (as reported in The Lawyer, 7 April).

The aim was to entice 20 lawyers to move to the UAE to meet burgeoning demand in the region.

Roderick said: “To my surprise it has not been an easy sell. The approach we’ve taken has been led from the top – senior management from the firm has impressed on the partnership and associates that strategically, the Middle East is very important.”

London corporate partner Andrew Schoorlemmer will move to head up the corporate department in Dubai, taking over from Pervez Akhtar, who has been appointed executive director at A&O client Abraaj Capital.

London TMT partner Tom Levine will move to Abu Dhabi, London real estate and funds partner Nick Smith will relocate to Dubai, and London corporate partner Chris Thornes moves to Dubai.

Singapore banking partner Nicholas Crossin will relocate to Abu Dhabi, and Frankfurt corporate partner Johannes Bruski will move to Riyadh.

In addition, 14 associates from across the London, New York, Paris, Frankfurt Milan and Brussels offices will also make the move to the region.

This will take the total number of lawyers based in A&O’s UAE offices to over 100.

Roderick said that the concern of prospective expatriates was whether they would be swapping sunshine and tax for a diminution in the quality of work.

But he said lawyers would be dealing with clients who are different from what you get in London and that they would probably get a closer interaction with some of them. “That’s really been the sell.”