Links ramps up in Dubai with magic circle hires

Linklaters has raided its magic circle rivals for two senior associates to boost its Middle East practice ahead of the firm’s official Dubai launch later this month.

The firm has appointed Allen & Overy (A&O) senior associate Luma Saqqaf as local Islamic finance head, while Clifford Chance projects senior associate Mark Craig joins the firm as a managing associate.

Saqqaf focuses on transactional banking with experience advising both issuers and arrangers in relation to Sukuks, advising on Islamic derivatives transactions and acting on a wide range of Islamic financings.

Craig’s experience includes advising on transactions in the power, water, petrochemicals and infrastructure sectors, including the world’s largest combined power and water project to date, the $2.5bn (£1.4bn) Shuaibah project in Saudi Arabia.

As first revealed by The Lawyer (24 November) Linklaters established a local presence in the booming Dubai market after raiding Clifford Chance for two lawyers, including former head of corporate and securities Ewan Cameron, who was appointed as Linklaters’ Dubai managing partner.

Linklaters’ Dubai office will open with three partners and more than 10 other fee earners, focusing on capital markets, project finance, banking, asset finance and Islamic finance.