Mayer Brown sets up first Dubai office
Mayer Brown has opened an office in Dubai to serve as the hub of its Middle East practice.
On Wednesday, the firm announced in a press release that its Dubai outpost was officially open for business. The office marks Mayer Brown’s entry into the Middle East, and will be located inside the 80-story Index Tower in the Dubai International Financial Center. Including associated offices and consulting companies, Mayer Brown now boasts 24 offices worldwide.
The Dubai office had been in the works for months. In December 2015, the American Lawyer reported that the firm had hired two high-profile lateral partners from Baker & McKenzie for the purpose of helping Mayer Brown set up shop in Dubai. According to the press release, one of those partners, Tahan (Tom) Thraya, head of Mayer Brown’s Middle East corporate and commercial practice, will be in charge of the Dubai office. The other ex-Baker partner, Charles Hallab, will remain based in Washington, D.C. where he chairs the firm’s Middle East practice, but will split time between D.C. and Dubai.
In an interview with ABA Journal, Hallab says that the decision to open up an office in Dubai was two-fold. On the one hand, Mayer Brown saw a Dubai office as a way to better serve its clients. Additionally, he believes that being in Dubai is necessary for Mayer Brown to maintain its reputation as a world class global law firm. “The reality of Dubai is that it has become, unquestionably, one of the great commercial financial centers in the world,” says Hallab, who previously led Baker & McKenzie’s corporate and securities practice and served on the firm’s management committee. “Within the region, Dubai is local hub for multinational companies, as well as for regional enterprises.”
Hallab notes that he and Thraya have experience in setting up a Dubai office for a big firm, having helped establish Baker & McKenzie’s office there. “When it comes to the Middle East, we’ve seen everything under the sun,” says Hallab. “Our life experience has been so heavily focused on the Middle East and we have a very strong sense for what we want to accomplish over there.”