UAE firm Galadari & Associates has opened an office in Dubai’s free zone, the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre). 

The firm’s new branch is its fourth – all in the Emirates. It also has offices in Abu Dhabi, onshore Dubai, and in another free zone, JAFZA. The DIFC base will focus on international transactions and domestic litigation and dispute resolution.

Commenting on the office opening, the firm’s chairman Ziad Galadari said it was driven by client demand: “A clear message from our clients has been that they need us to continue strengthening our international capabilities, as they seek growth in emerging markets, as well as reinforcing our in-depth industry sector knowledge. The DIFC office will offer the perfect platform for us to effectively meet our clients’ expanding international needs.”

Galadari managing partner, Abdulla Galadari, will head the DIFC office. His team will include partners Ken Dixon and Mike Wakefield, who focus on corporate work and energy respectively. Banking and finance specialist Maymoona Talib, compliance and regulatory lawyer Carlo Fedrigoli, a senior associate, and DIFC litigators Daniel Brawn and Faridah Sarah will also be based in the new branch.

The DIFC is home to an array of international firms, with most of the 'magic circle' and 'white shoe' firms represented. Domestic firms feature less prominently, however. Regional outfits, Al Tamimi & Co and Bin Shabib & Associates and domestic firm Afridi & Angell are likely to offer the strongest competition to Galadari when seeking local counsel roles on DIFC matters.

After several years of economic uncertainty in Dubai as the fallout from the Emirates’ property crisis settled, firms are demonstrating renewed confidence in the market as activity has recovered. Recent additions to the heavily-lawyered jurisdiction include Swiss firm Bonnard Lawson, which received approval to practice in Dubai at the start of the month, and Watson Farley & Williams, which launched its first Middle East branch in the DIFC earlier this year.