United Arab Emirates


Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Al Tamimi & Company

Regional firm Al Tamimi & Company is the leading local law advisor in the UAE, and generally strong in banking and finance, equity capital markets and M&A.  

During the research period in capital markets the firm advised on IPOs, share listings and sukuk and convertible bonds issuances. It also advised Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority in the design and development of a Free Zone Exchange for share trading of free zone businesses.  

In M&A and private equity the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions. A highlight for the firm was advising Abu Dhabi National Hotels in its acquisition of five hotels from Emaar Hospitality Group.  

In projects work the firm has advised sponsors and lenders in renewables, waste-to-energy and water desalination projects. Some key clients for the firm were ACWA Power, Masdar and Bee’ah. 

New recent hires include Andrew Tarbuck, who joined the firm as head of capital markets from Hogan Lovells, and Abdullah Mutawi, who joined the firm as co-head of corporate and commercial from Baker Botts. 

Partner Ahmed Ibrahim left the firm for Matouk Bassiouny, and Gary Watts, a partner and co-head of corporate and commercial, retired.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Abu Dhabi National Hotels AED2.2 billion acquisition of Emaar Hospitality Group hotel portfolio 

•Aster DM Healthcare Bombay Stock Exchange / National Stock Exchange of India IPO 

•Dana Gas debt restructuring  

•Meraas Group AED1.2 billion convertible bond issue  

•Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum 5GW solar power plant  

•Network International Holdings LSE IPO 

Client feedback  

“ATCO team were quite knowledgeable and provided thorough advice when we faced complexities due to a multiple jurisdictional acquisition.” – M&A 

“Al Tamimi & Company enjoys good reputation in market, with many practices to assist on more than one subject matter and have in-depth knowledge of the country and region.” – M&A 

“Abdullah Mutawi is a superb lawyer and I would use him again without hesitation.” – M&A 

“Strengths: impeccable reputation, top-notch know-how and reliable. Weaknesses: some lawyers can be slow to respond. In dispute resolution, I'd prefer to see more focus on weaknesses of the opposition.” – Project development  

“The firm has been very helpful as local counsel. Strengths: knowledge of local law and legal advice. Weaknesses: sometimes slow to provide advice or work product.” – Project finance 

Allen & Overy

One of the oldest international firms on the market in the emirates, Allen & Overy’s has experience on complex, high-end work across most practice areas and industry sectors.  

In the banking and finance area the firm typically can be seen on the borrower or lender side of any large financing deal with a significant UAE borrower. It’s experienced in all types of conventional and Islamic deals, but especially in acquisition, corporate and project finance.  

The capital markets team can be relied upon to work on a share of the largest debt (including sukuk) or equity transactions annually there are, for either issuer or underwriter, in the region.   

In M&A the firm is experienced in strategic and private equity M&A on the buy and sell side, and is often instructed on large deals in goods and services, banking and energy.  

The firm advises on project work across the region from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, advising on the financing and development for a range of sovereigns, sponsors, developers and lenders.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank / Union National Bank / Al Hilal Bank merger 

•Dubai Investments acquisition of 50% stake in Emirates District Cooling 

•Emirate of Abu Dhabi $10 billion triple tranche (2.125%, 2.5% and 3.125%) bond issue 

•Emirates Strategic Investments Company (ESIC) $600 million sukuk 

•Government of Dubai$5 billion EMTN programme and US$6 billion sukuk programme 

•Masdar acquisition of 49% in Krnovo Green Energy 

•Network International LSE IPO 

•TECOM Financing 

•Tabreed refinancing 

Client feedback 

“The only two partner DCM practice in the region. Anzal Mohammed and Bilal Ahmad work seamlessly together. Deep knowledge of the region. They have a strong team of associates where they consistently deliver a high level of work. A&O in Dubai also partnered well with their colleagues from other global offices which is integral to an effective cross-border DCM practice.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Extremely strong depth of service offering with a multitude of clear standout and leading individuals in the region.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Technically excellent and good transaction managers. Market leading partners and superb associates.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“I am very comfortable with their advice. It is practical and business oriented and they work closely with the in-house team as required.” – M&A 

“Great. Experienced and has a depth of resources. Timely and practical advice. Very solution driven.” – Project development  

“A&O consistently deliver quality legal advice in a manner that is tailored to its recipients. They know our business and the market exceptionally well and combine that with their legal nous to create a significant level of trust and confidence in their advice.” – Project finance 

Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota

Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota is part of Africa Legal Network and works in collaboration with the member firm Anjarwalla & Khanna in Kenya and Haidermota BNR and Co in Pakistan.  

During the research period in M&A and private equity work the firm advised on both the sell and buy sides of acquisitions in commercial real estate, pharmaceutical, oil and gas and record management sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Iron Mountain Group AED8.38 million acquisition of Derby Records Management  


The UAE arm of the international firm Ashurst is active in project financing and development, particularly within energy and infrastructure sectors. 

During the research period, project finance highlights for the firm include advising a consortium of commercial lenders in a bid for a seawater reverse osmosis plant project in Shuqaiq, and advising Arab Bank in the financing for Adenium Lafarge solar PV project in Jordan. 

In project development the firm worked mainly in procurement, and advised the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority on Phase IV of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, and ArRiyadh Development Authority on a bid as an operator for the Riyadh Metro. It also advised the International Financial Corporation and Government of Uganda on the procurement of the Kampala Jinja Expressway PPP in Uganda.  

In recent projects hires, Matthew Wood, Bilal Rana and Simon Moore joined as partners, from White & Case, Clifford Chance and Simmons & Simmons respectively, and Paul Tanner and John King joined as counsel from Red Wolf Consulting and Ashurst’s Perth office. Matt Hartsuyker, a senior associate, and Simon Fraser, a partner, both joined in corporate from the Melbourne office. 

In departures, Renad Younes and counsel Trinh Chubbock both left the firm to join Shearman & Sterling. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Adenium Lafarge Rashidiya 15.56MW solar photovoltaic power plant 

•Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar power plant - phase IV 

•Riyadh Metro  

Client feedback 

“The response and feedback was prompt and with high cooperation.” – Asset finance 

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

The UAE branch of the international firm Baker McKenzie is active in banking and finance and M&A work. 

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised borrowers and lenders on Islamic, trade, real estate and project financing. A publishable highlight for the firm was advising a lending consortium, led by National Bank of Egypt, on a bridge facility to Canal Sugar Company for a beet sugar processing plant project in West Minya. 

In M&A the firm advised on both the buy and sell side of acquisitions in consumer goods, energy, technology, food franchising, waste management, insurance and financial services, and manufacturing sectors. It also advised on joint venture agreements. 

New hires saw Kellie Blyth join the firm as counsel in corporate and communications, from Clyde & Co. Partner Jayshree Gupta left the firm to work in consultancy. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•ATG Investments $12.5 million acquisition of Frigoglass Jebel Ali 

•Canal Sugar Company West Minya beet sugar processing plant  

•SHUAA Capital AED4.5 billion acquisition of Integrated Financial and Integrated Securities  

Client feedback 

“Satisfactory.” – Banking  

“Very good.  Strengths: responsive and speedy execution. Weaknesses: no back up for the main partner.” - Banking 

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance in the emirates leads on a significant share of what complex transactions there are domestically and across the region from its UAE offices. It has a team with expertise in all areas of work covered by the ranking tables. 

In the banking and finance area the firm does all manner of lending work for blue chip local borrowers in the public sector and – especially on the project side – for the region’s biggest or international banks as lenders. It is also often instructed on complex debt restructurings. The firm is equally capable of advising on conventional or Islamic structures.  

In the capital markets area the firm secures roles on high-end equity and debt (including sukuk) deals. It often works for banks as underwriters or – more recently – as issuers, but acts for corporate issuers too.  

The firm has leading corporate team M&A that is active on strategic deals is particularly notable for its work for private equity clients (regional and international) on inbound and outbound work. 

In the projects space the firm has worked on some of the largest infrastructure developments in the region – including PFI and PPP deals – across the energy, transport and social infrastructure sectors. It often works for the state or state entities.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Al Dur IWPP 

•DP World acquisition of Topaz Energy and Marine Limited  

•Emirates Global Aluminium $6.5 billion refinancing 

•Majid Al Futtaim $600 million green sukuk issue 

•Sahara Petrochemicals Company / Saudi International Petrochemical Company merger 

•Shuqaiq 3 IWPP 

•Sultanate of Oman $6.5 billion three tranche sovereign bond issue 

•Zain KSA SR6.54 billion refinancing  

Client feedback 

“Very efficient and client friendly. Technically excellent and business orientated.” - Banking 

“Significant expertise in the debt restructuring field with Robin Abraham leading on significant regional restructurings since the 2008/2009 financial crisis. Clifford Chance offers a strong and stable bench of attorneys, all having significant MENA expertise and sensitive to market nuances.” - Banking 

“Clifford Chance banking practice is second to none. Led by former managing partner Robin Abraham, the practice has a deep and consistent bench of partners and associates all of whom have been in the region for many years. Local knowledge, connections and reputation of the team is therefore strong - this on top of an already flawless work product.” - Banking 

“They are the gold standard when it comes to international law firms in the Middle East region.” - Banking 

“Exceptional expertise. Really valued the depth of local market knowledge and insights provided including connectivity to key local stakeholders to provide advice in a foreign jurisdiction that has quite different characteristics to the Australian equity markets.” – Capital markets: Equity 

“Great experience.” – M&A 

“They have powerful and experienced professionals advising, who are very supportive in projects development. Even when they are acting for lenders, they are very supportive to the sponsor’s side and vice versa. They are always standing not only for clients but also for the project development itself, which is an outstanding value to us, in addition to law expertise.” – Project finance 

“The deliverables provided by CC are always on point, practical and pragmatic and are in the best interest of the client. It is very clear that they know their work and complete their tasks to perfection.” – Project finance 


The UAE office of CMS is active in M&A and project development, particularly within the energy sector.  

During the research period in M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in real estate, industrial, and technology and energy sectors. Publishable highlights of the firm include advising Comcast in its acquisition of Sky Media Group, and advising Arjun Infrastructure Partners fund on its acquisition of Enviromena.  

In project development work the firm was active across the oil and gas, energy, wastewater, and telecommunications sectors. The firm advised on multiple Iran-based transactions; it represented Unit International on the construction of natural gas-fired cycle power plants in Iran, multiple oil companies in their IPCs with the National Iranian Oil Company, and contractor Bester Generation in an Iran-based solar photovoltaic plant project. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Comcast Group $39 billion acquisition of Sky Media Group  

•Dubai Investments AED500 million acquisition of 50% in Emicool 

•Government of Ras Al Khaimah wastewater system 

•Unit International 2000MW natural gas fired power plants  

Client feedback 

“Friendly, commercial and hard working.” – M&A 

“The team at CMS is extremely diligent and always available when needed. Much of the work requires a strong understanding of the local labour market and needs to be completed to tight deadlines. The strengths of CMS include their unsurpassed knowledge of the local legal landscape, their diligence, professionalism and timeliness. They are also always available not only to draft and advise, but to mentor based on experience. This type of interaction is priceless.” – M&A 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

The UAE branch of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has a leading M&A practice in UAE, particularly for deals involving private equity, and is active in lending work.  

During the research period in banking and finance, the firm advised financial investors on leveraged and acquisition finance and advised lenders, shareholders and companies on debt refinancing and restructuring. It also advised borrowers on term and revolving facilities and pre-IPO bridge financing. 

In M&A the firm advised on the buy and sell side of acquisitions, acting for investors regularly, and was active in mergers too. It advised Al Hilal Bank in relation to a three-way merger with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank and advised Barwa Bank in Qatar in its merger with International Bank of Qatar. 

Staffing changes include Tom Lawless joining the firm as counsel in corporate from Abraaj, and Tabassam Faqir joining as senior associate in finance from Hogan Lovells. In departures, Gareth Carter, a senior associate in corporate, left the firm to join Walkers in Hong Kong. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Al Hilal Bank / Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank / Union National Bank merger 

•Barwa Bank / International Bank of Qatar merger 

•National Energy Services Reunited $450 million financing 

•Webjet $173 million acquisition of Destinations of the World, a Gulf Capital portfolio company 

Client feedback 

“Excellent. Very competent in this field, probably the most knowledgeable in this field in the region.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Excellent. Extremely helpful, knowledgeable and responsive.” – Islamic finance 

“They are very professional, knowledgeable and pragmatic.” – M&A 

“Freshfields is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to corporate transactions in the MENA region. This is down to one man, Pervez Akhtar, and the team he leads out of Dubai. I have used Pervez for over a decade. I first came across him when he was a newly appointed A&O partner in London. We were looking for a firm specialist in takeovers for the acquisition of an extremely well-known FTSE listed retail business. Pervez was recommended in unusually glowing terms by the head of corporate at A&O. I have used Pervez for mission critical M&A deals ever since, following him as he moved from A&O to Freshfields. He has advised on M&A and PE transactions in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Pervez has a rare gift. He runs a very tight, efficient team. He is a superb negotiator. He is commercially very switched on. He never loses sight of the overall goal, and he knows exactly when to intervene to keep the deal moving forward. He is 100% client focussed. I have never met a colleague who doesn't rave about Pervez's skill set. He is a consummate professional. I can honestly say, after 20+ years in the region, that Pervez is the indisputable king of the corporate legal advisors. What is refreshing is that despite all the deals he has done and all his achievements, Pervez remains humble and grounded. He is still hungry. He still treats every client as special, as if he has no other. I don't know how he does it, but I am delighted that he does. If it really matters, head to Pervez at Freshfields. Rob Cant is also excellent.” – M&A 

“Strengths: superior technical understanding, natural M&A problem solvers (they provide optimal solutions not just issues), strong commercial sense (able to pick up the most material battles in M&A negotiations and win them and pragmatic on less material matters), superb communicators that are able to explain complex legal issues and articulate guidance to clients. Additionally, FBD are superb in communicating client positions to opposing legal advisors.” – M&A 

“Dedicated team; well rounded, very knowledgeable, commercial when they need to be. I would say excellent at all levels. Key members: Abdallah Maher.” – M&A 

“Very knowledgeable team across the hierarchy, consistent partner involvement and ease of access to working team throughout.” – Private equity 

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

The UAE branch of Gibson Dunn is active in M&A and private equity transactional work. 

During the research period the firm advised a mix of buyers and sellers in acquisitions. It assisted Abu Dhabi Ports Company in its acquisition of 50% of the share capital of Abu Dhabi Terminals Company from Mubadala Investment Company. Other key clients include Venture Capital Bank, Gulf Capital, Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners and Investcorp. 

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills law firm is recognised in banking and finance.  

During the research period the firm advised borrowers and lenders in acquisition, real estate and project financing, including mezzanine, senior and Islamic financing. A firm highlight was advising Telecom Egypt Company as borrower in senior syndicated corporate financing led by First Abu Dhabi Bank and Mashreq Bank. 

In project financing work the firm advised sponsors, lead arrangers, borrowers and lenders in consortiums in solar renewable energy, power and water reverse osmosis plant bids. All deal details are confidential. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Telecom Egypt Company $700 million financing  

Client feedback 

“HSF is new to our panel. However, they have shown an outstanding responsiveness to requests for proposal and a sensible approach to fees. I especially appreciated their drafting skills and their commercial and pragmatic mind-set.” – Banking 

“The firm is very attentive and careful with detail and have always helped us ensure that we are fully protected.” – Private equity 

King & Spalding

The UAE branch of King & Spalding is recognised in capital markets, M&A and project finance, particularly in shariah-compliant transactions. 

During the research period in project finance the firm advised project companies and developers, equity shareholders, and sponsors on financing in power and district cooling, renewable energy PPPs, water and real estate projects and tenders. It advised Blue Apple Healthcare Services on financing for a new landmark hospital complex in Abu Dhabi.  

In capital markets work the firm advised sukuk holders and joint lead managers on the issuance of corporate sukuks and, mainly advising the sponsors. It also advised equity work in relation to REITs, including shariah REIT IPO and a capital increase by Riyad Capital’s REIT. The firm also advised BNY Mellon on Seychelles’ first sovereign blue bond, with proceeds earmarked for financing sustainable marine and ocean-based projects. 

In M&A the firm advised for buyers and sellers in acquisitions in healthcare, oil and gas, fintech, and e-commerce sectors. It also advised on multiple joint ventures, and worked for shareholders in investment work. Some key clients included Geidea Payment Systems, Baker Hughes, Emirates Hospitals Group, NMC Healthcare and NBK Capital Partners. 

In staffing changes Adnan Doha joined the firm as a senior associate in corporate M&A and private equity from Clifford Chance. In project finance Robin Bayley and Nikhil Markanday joined as partners from Shearman & Sterling and Ashurst, respectively, while Leroy Levy, a partner in project finance left. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Baker Hughes $550 million acquisition of 5% in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Drilling 

•Compañía Española de Petróleos / Abu Dhabi National Oil Company joint venture 

•Gulf Capital $267 million acquisition of stake in Geidea Payment Systems 

•Gulf Islamic Investments REIT 

•Riyad Capital REIT SR1.63 billion capital increase 

•Shuaa Capital REIT Tadawal IPO 

Client feedback 

“The K&S team have deep sector knowledge, in addition to a great understanding of regional and local dynamics, allowing them to provide first class legal advice.” – Project finance 

“This firm is very knowledgeable and experienced in corporate restructuring, and we are very pleased with the work they've done this far with us.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Latham & Watkins

Within the emirates Latham & Watkins is most notable for finance work, both conventional and Islamic. 

In the banking and finance area the firm is active on large corporate financings on the lender side and secures lender and borrower side work for banks on project financings.  

In the capital markets space the firm is prominent in the debt area, with notable issuer side roles on sovereign and quasi-sovereign bond issues and arranger work on corporate issues. Recently.  

The firm’s M&A work is generally a mix of strategic and private equity deals, and it does work for regional sovereign as well as private funds.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Dana Gas debt restructuring  

•Kingdom of Saudi Arabia €3 billion dual tranche (0.75% and 2%) sovereign bond issue 

•Nogaholding $1 billion two tranche (7.625% and 8.375%) bond issue 

•SABIC $2 billion two tranche (4.0% and 4.5%) bond issue 

•Saudi Electricity Company $2 billion sukuk issue 

Maples Group

The Dubai office of Maples Group is active in offshore financial and corporate transactions, with particular strengths in Islamic bonds work. 

During the research period the firm advised issuers on sukuk. Some such issuers include Mumtalakat Sukuk Holding Company, QIIB Senior Sukuk Limited, Emirates Airline and Dubai Islamic Bank. 

In M&A the firm was the BVI counsel to Careem in its acquisition by Uber. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Dubai Islamic Bank $1 billion sukuk issue 

•Emirates Airline $600 million sukuk issue 

•Mumtalakat $600 million sukuk issue 

•QIIB $500 million sukuk issue 

•Uber $3.1 billion acquisition of Careem 

Matouk Bassiouny

The UAE branch of Matouk Bassiouny is active in equity capital markets, investment funds and M&A transactional work. 

During the research period in capital markets work the firm was active on the equity side and advised issuers in rights issues, on IPOs and on capital increases.

In M&A the firm advised mainly as local UAE counsel to the buyer in acquisitions. A publishable highlight for the firm was advising Eni in its acquisition of a stake in ADNOC Refinery. 

The firm also advised on investment fund transactions, however all details are confidential.

In recent hires Ahmed Ibrahim joined as a managing partner and Malack El Masry joined as partner; they specialise in equity capital markets and M&A respectively. Other hires included Ahmed Hammad from Amanat Holdings, Abdelhamid Attalla from GE Regional Tax Director, Mohamed Ghanem from Dramac Properties and May El Ghamry from Horizons & Co.

Ali Khan and Sahar Badran, both corporate senior associates, left the firm in the research period. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Ajman Bank AED420 million rights issue 

•Eni $3.3 billion acquisition of a stake in ADNOC Refinery

Client feedback

“Strong understanding of the region and dynamics.” – Capital markets : Equity

“In-depth knowledge, sound advice, flexible.” – Financial services regulatory

Ahmed Ibrahim

“Clear understanding of the regional legal requirements. Great network.”

“Very capable lawyer.”

Malack El Masry

“Competent, hardworking and creative.”

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Morgan Lewis is active in banking and finance, M&A and capital markets. 

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised lenders, investors and start-ups in financing rounds, working closely with Wamda Capital on investments. The firm advised project companies, lenders and borrowers on shariah-compliant project financing, including for the development, construction and maintenance of a wind power plant in Jordan.  

In capital markets work the firm advised the arrangers on sukuk issuance and restructuring. An example of this was advising SHUAA Capital on a sukuk issuance by Jabal Omar Sukuk Company. 

In M&A the firm advised on mergers, including advising Alameda Financial International Business on its merger with Emirates Hospital Group. It advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including advising various sellers in their sale of Careem to Uber. 

Staffing changes include new corporate partners Mark Gilligan, Jay Gladis, William Nash and Alishia Sullivan joining from Squire Patton Boggs.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Alameda Financial International Business / Emirates Hospital Group merger 

•Emicool Plus Cooling AED99 million financing  

•FWU $55 million sukuk issue 

Client feedback  

“Strong understanding of capital markets, bespoke structuring, Islamic structuring and ability to negotiate terms for client.” – Capital markets: High yield 

“Professional and commercially minded.” – M&A 

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons is recognised for its capabilities in M&A and project development work. 

During the research period in M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in oil and gas, energy, events, financial services and real estate consultancy.  

In project development a firm highlight was advising the EPC contractor Shanghai Electric Company on a concentrated and photovoltaic solar project in Dubai. It also advised lenders in supporting bidding tenders for solar PV plants in Qatar and desalination plants in Saudi Arabia.  

Staffing changes include Catherine Workman moving to the UAE from the London office of Pinsent Masons, and Rita Allan joining the firm as senior associate in finance and projects from Eversheds Sutherland. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Noor Energy 1 950MW hybrid concentrated solar power and photovoltaic solar power plant 

•Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant 

•Taweelah desalination IWP 

Client feedback  

“Knowledgeable lawyers, and the team is business oriented.” – M&A 

“Even though the M&A did not happen, Pinsent Masons was professional and supportive throughout the deal. They have remained supportive and I would call them again anytime that I need legal advice.” – M&A 

“The commercial and M&A team of Pinsent Masons are highly qualified, responsive and business oriented.” – M&A 

“Our experience with PM has been an excellent one. PM has consistently exceeded expectations in terms of quality of services and legal advice, value against fees paid and providing ample resources and time to ensure delivery at such quality.” – Private equity 

“Deliverable completion date was delayed. However, advisory services provided were good and demonstrated the knowledge and project understanding we required.” – Project development  

“Good PF knowledge. Good network.” – Project development  

“Strengths: easy access, broad range of expertise and good footprint.” – Project development  

“Strengths: professional service, strong communicators with personal approach, accuracy in contract drafting, emergency response and simplicity of conveying approach and position.” – Project development  

“Diligent, punctual, flexible and knowledgeable.” – Project finance 

“Pinsent Masons delivered an outstanding job on the project agreement side, were always available and very responsive with a good understanding of commercial matters to advise sponsors with a pragmatic perspective essential to preparing a competitive bid. Their pro-active and collaborative approach was also very useful to assemble the members of the consortium on a common position.” – Project finance 

“Pinsent Masons has shown strong experience in regional IWPs (especially in UAE). Having a full-service Dubai law practice was an advantage.” – Project finance 

“Strengths: coordination, experience, level of commitment and price.” – Project finance 

“Strong capability.” – Project finance 

“Strong dedicated team who will go above and beyond to service client needs in an efficient and responsible manner with no compromise on quality. I must commend both Gurmeet Kaur and David Platt for their respective execution roles in the delivery of sound legal advice to the client.” – Project finance 

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling’s has one of the UAE and the region’s leading oil and gas practices, and is noted for project and corporate work in the sector. Its practice in more diversified than this today, but oil and gas work remains a focus.  

In the banking and finance area the firm can mostly be seen advising oil and gas client on large corporate or project financing deals. It’s also active on the lender side on the projects space.  

The firm’s most significant corporate deals are often joint ventures for projects or M&A within the oil and gas sector.  

In the projects space the firm is highly experienced in advising on projects across all areas in the oil and gas value chain.  

Tribonian Law Advisors

The Dubai office of Italian firm BonelliErede is recognised for M&A advice. 

During the research period in M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including advising Eni on its acquisition of equity interest in ADNOC Refining. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•ENI $3.3 billion acquisition of 20% stake in ADNOC Refining 

•NMC Health Care $205 million acquisition of 49% stake in Fakih IVF 

•Pine $125 million acquisition of stake in Movenpick hotel in Beirut 

Client feedback 

“Strong legal and commercial practice; good understanding of regional culture and how to deal with principals on both sides; efficient in turning around documentation and has a good network of law firms in jurisdictions where they don't have presence.” – Investment funds 

“Very good. Problem solving approach. Pragmatic, innovative, responsive, willing to understand and embody client's needs.” – Project development 


The Dubai branch of Walkers advises on offshore financial and corporate deals.  

During the research period the firm advised in offshore financing and acquisitions, acting as sole offshore counsel and representing buyers and sellers. However all deal involvement is confidential.  

Client feedback 

“Excellent. I try to steer clients their way for banking work because I know they will deliver.” – Banking  

“Excellent. They are supremely responsive and able to resolve problems.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Watson Farley & Williams

The Dubai office of Watson Farley & Williams is particularly in M&A and finance work. 

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised lenders in financing, particularly in the transport sector. A highlight for the firm is advising Bank Muscat in connection with the re-domiciliation and reflagging of three vessels.  

In M&A the firm advised the buyers and sellers in acquisitions. It advised on the acquisition of a stake in a project company that’s developing a reverse osmosis water desalination plant and advised on joint ventures, including for the development of sites for co-developing water desalination plants in the Northern Emirates.  

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Federal Electricity & Water Authority acquisition of 20% stake in Umm Al Quwain reverse osmosis water desalination project   

•Federal Electricity & Water Authority / Mubadala joint venture 

Client feedback 

“Very well thought of for ship finance work.” – Banking 

White & Case

White & Case in the Middle East is renowned for projects work and its Dubai based capital markets team is one of the region’s strongest on the debt side. 

In the banking and finance area the firm advises on large corporate, acquisition and project finance transactions, and is particularly active on deals of the latter type in the energy sector.  It does work for large borrowers and lenders (local and international) and is experienced in conventional and Islamic work.  

The firm’s has a leading debt capital markets practice for both conventional and sukuk issues. It has worked on a number of high profile sovereign debt issues and project bonds recently and has roles for arrangers and issuers.  

The firm’s corporate experience encompasses large cross border strategic deals and its especially experienced in the oil and gas sector, working for sovereign or sovereign owned entities.  

In the project area the firm is experience and active for sponsors on transport and pet-chem developments locally and regionally.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•DPWorld $300 million bond and $1 billion sukuk issue 

•Government of Dubai$5 billion EMTN programme and US$6 billion sukuk programme 

•Investment Corporation of Dubai $200 million 4.625% bond issue 

•Kingdom of Saudi Arabia €3 billion dual tranche (0.75% and 2%) sovereign bond issue 

•Republic of Indonesia's $1.25 billion sovereign sukuk and $750 million sovereign green sukuk issue 

•Republic of Kazakhstan €1.1 billion dual tranche (1.55% and 2.375%) sovereign bond issue 

•QatarGas / RasGas merger 

•Taif International Airport PPP 

Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn is recognised for lending and project work.   

During the research period in banking the firm advised lenders, lead arrangers, project companies and sponsors in conventional and Islamic financing, including for projects in real estate, transport and chemicals production. 

In M&A the firm mainly represented sellers in acquisitions. A highlight for the firm was advising Thomson Reuters on the Middle East aspects on its sale of a majority stake in its financial and risk business to Blackstone.  

In project development and financing a firm highlight was advising the project company and sponsors in the financing for the North Marmara Motorway PPP, a build-operate-transfer concession-based model project. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Blackstone $20 billion acquisition of 55% in Thomas Reuters’ financial and risk business 

•Emirates General Petroleum Corporation AED1 billion financing  

•North Marmara Motorway PPP 

•Transguard Group AED385 million financing 

Client feedback  

“Quite simply the best in the market by some distance. Campbell Steedman is the head and shoulders, above all other practitioners, in this space and he has a strong team around him with Chris Skipper and Chris Shelton, both of whom are excellent. Responsive, pragmatic, commercial and great value. I have had the pleasure of interacting professionally with Campbell for some twenty years now and he just keeps on delivering, and just gets better.” – M&A 

“Chris Skipper has been acting on our behalf and has been exceptional in all dealings with advice and negotiations.” – M&A  

“Chris Skipper has been nothing short of an inspiration in terms of legal expertise and client management. His ability to adapt to not only the commercial, negotiation and legal challenges but also to consider the personalities involved in the deal have been remarkable. The result achieved in the end was the best possible in both financial and commercial terms and has given us the platform to start the relationship in the JV with a position of strength.” – Private equity 

“Strong capabilities.” – Project finance