A&O rehires Dubai partner after spell at Abraaj

Allen & Overy (A&O) Dubai-based alumnus Pervez Akhtar has returned to the magic circle firm after defecting to private equity house Abraaj Capital last year.

Akhtar, who was head of corporate for the firm in Dubai, has returned to A&O after just six months at the Middle Eastern investment group, which he joined as an executive director last September (8 September 2008).

Akhtar said: “I missed the work at A&O. I’m pleased that I tried something different, but am very happy to be back. I’ll be focusing on client development in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region.

“The firm’s been very successful here and we want to continue with that success.”

Akhtar’s return comes after the firm announced a restructuring that will see it cull nine per cent of partners, fee earners and support staff from its global network.

An A&O spokesperson said that while the firm is laying off large numbers of staff it has not put a freeze on recruitment.

“Our recruitment policy hasn’t changed,” he added. “We’ve taken the difficult decision to restructure, and that’s about preparing the firm for the future.

“If opportunities arise to recruit high quality people who can enhance our long-term competiveness, we’ll take them.”

Despite the downturn A&O underscored its commitment to the Middle East last year when it relocate six partners and 14 associates to its Dubai and Riyadh offices. At that time London-based corporate partner Andrew Schoorlemmer replaced Akhtar as corporate head in Dubai.