By Anil Bhoyrul
Top UAE law firm and global giant announce plan for new entity from July 1
Top UAE lawyer Dr Habib Al Mulla is to merge his practice with the world’s biggest law firm Baker & McKenzie.
The deal, which will take effect from July 1, will see Al Mulla’s company renamed Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla. The new entity is hoping to use Al Mulla’s strong local presence and expertise, along with Baker & McKenzie’s global reputation, to carve out new business, both in Dubai and the wider region.
Al Mulla told Arabian Business: “When you look at the Gulf today, it is experiencing a phenomenal growth and we expect that growth to continue. This needs the kind of legal services we can offer after the merger, with international ability and local knowledge.”
He added: “We have been working with Baker & McKenzie for quite a few years now and we thought that with everything going on in Dubai, with Dubai coming back, it is a good opportunity to bring these two companies clients together under one roof with single accountability.
"It has been a very thorough decision but at the end of the day I think this merger brings far more advantages then some of the independence I may lose. And our clients, they are the ones who really will benefit.”
Al Mulla will be chairman of the new entity. Baker & McKenzie has more than 4,000 lawyers and 72 offices in 45 countries, raking in $2.31bn in the year to June 30 2012.
Habib Al Mulla’s team is just 40 lawyers strong, but among the most specialized and respected in the Arab world. Key areas of work include dispute resolution, corporate and commercial law, banking, real estate and construction.
Baker & McKenzie has already been active in the Gulf and MENA region of over 30 years, beginning with an office in Riyadh in 1979. With offices also in Cairo, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha and Casablanca, the company has 30 partners and 130 associates across the region.
Eduardo Leite, chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s Executive Committee, told Arabian Business: “We have had Dubai in mind for many years, especially after we opened in Abu Dhabi (in 2009). Our strategy is always driven by the clients and the clients told us they needed us in Dubai. What we didn’t have was the talent, and that is the most important thing we offer - its people. We found that talent in Dr Habib Al Mulla and his team.”
He added: “Dubai is a hub for the region in so many different ways. We need to be here in a big way and we are here now.”