Simmons swoops on Freshfields in Dubai hire

Simmons & Simmons has built up its Middle East practice by hiring former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer counsel Eric Milne as a partner in Dubai.

Milne, who will head Simmons’ banking and finance division in the region, helped set up Freshfields’ Dubai office in 2005 alongside partner Joseph Huse.

Milne said of the move: “We have the drive, ambition and expertise to be a market-leading finance practice.”

Simmons has had a base in Dubai since 2005, but has recently embarked on a ­programme of aggressive expansion.

Regional ;managing ­partner Paul Simpson said: “Eric’s expertise helps to consolidate the growth in the finance team and ­provides strong leadership for our conventional finance practice in particular.”

The office has taken on five corporate associates and one partner, Vanessa Abernethy from Clyde & Co, in the past few months.

The hire is in line with Simmons’ strategy of hiring magic circle associates for its partnership. Last month it recruited Clifford Chance banking associate Marc Thorley as a partner (The Lawyer, 18 August).