HFW has raided arch rival Clyde & Co for two highly-regarded shipping partners in the Middle East.
Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung, who collectively have more than 30 years’ experience in the Middle East, will join HFW’s Dubai office in the coming weeks.
At Clyde & Co both partners were highly rated and Lawrence headed the firm’s international trade and transport practice in the region.
Lawrence is a disputes lawyer specialising in the marine and offshore industries, including English law and Middle East claims arising from EPC contracts, offshore casualties, ship building and ship conversion projects, trade and transport, and marine insurance.
Chung had previously worked as a partner at HFW until 2017. He focusses on transactional matters within the marine and transportation industries, including M&A and joint ventures, corporate and commercial, regulatory and licensing, finance, and general advisory work.
Yaman Al Hawamdeh, the firm’s UAE managing partner, said: “This is a very significant development for HFW in the Middle East. Robert and Ian are go-to lawyers for maritime, offshore and international trade work, and adding them to our already market-leading team means that we are now unquestionably the number one shipping practice in the region for both disputes and transactional matters.”
HFW has operated in the Middle East for over 15 years and now has 20 partners and over 50 lawyers in total across offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait City and Riyadh, making it one of the largest international law firm practices in the region.
Globally, the firm has more than 200 shipping lawyers and nine master mariners.
In February, HFW opened two international offices, in the British Virgin Islands and Denmark, in a week.
Meanwhile, in another regional lateral appointment, Pinsent Masons’ Dubai office has launched a Middle Eastern technology, media telecoms (TMT) practice with the hire of partner Martin Hayward from Al Tamimi & Co., in the wake of significant developments for digitalisation in the region.
The appointment follows significant developments for tech innovation in the Middle East as the region goes through a digital transformation, the firm said in a statement.
It added that Hayward was experienced in transformation transactions, telecoms, e-commerce, privacy, data protection, and technology with a focus on the financial services and telecommunications sectors.
“Over the last 15 years, Pinsent Masons has been involved in some of the most high-profile and prolific projects across the Middle East and globally. Our landscape here in the Middle East is constantly changing, with the digital future of the Middle East playing a key role,” said Catherine Workman, head of Pinsent Masons Middle East.
“This includes Dubai [emerging] as pivotal hub for designing the future of the globalised digital economy as well as digital transformation playing a key role in Saudi Vision 2030.”
The firm now has 82 people in the region.
In December, Pinsent Masons added two energy partners to its Paris office, to strengthen the firm’s expertise in natural resources and sub-Saharan Africa.