This week’s Movers & Shakers (September 18, 2019)
Stephenson Harwood recruits Nick Sharratt as partner; CMS appoints construction disputes expert in Dubai; Covington expands M&A capability with Rupert Harper; DWF appoints co-head of employment practice and Hani Kurdi joins Eversheds Sutherland as partner.
Stephenson Harwood recruits Nick Sharratt as partner
Sharratt’s practice focusses primarily on international arbitration, on which he advises clients across jurisdictions in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. He also has extensive experience advising on a wide range of cross-border litigation and corporate investigations work in a variety of sectors. He joins the firm from Winston & Strawn.
“Since the development of the DIFC and the evolution of arbitration more broadly in Dubai, it is now recognised as a regional hub for dispute resolution,” said Rovine Chandrasekera, Dubai office managing partner, Stephenson Harwood. “As a nimble business, we are well-positioned to adapt to changing markets and client demands; the recruitment of Nick is an example of this. By harnessing his notable experience advising on dispute resolution in the region, we will continue to be well-placed to meet the evolving needs of our clients.”
Sharratt is recognised as a ‘Next Generation Lawyer’ by Legal 500 EMEA and was commended as a ‘Counsel of the Year 2018’ for the Middle East and Asia by the ACC In-House Congress.
CMS appoints construction disputes expert in Dubai
CMS has announced the appointment of Courtney Rothery who joins the firm as a legal director in the Infrastructure, Construction and Energy (ICE) Disputes team in Dubai. Rothery joins from Gowling WLG in Dubai, where she was a director.
Rothery has worked in Dubai since October 2008, specialises in international arbitration and construction disputes and has over ten years’ experience representing developers, contractors and subcontractors on complex arbitrations concerning high profile projects in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. She is considered a ‘Rising star’ by Chambers and Partners and praised as being “very impressive in terms of her legal approach and well versed in how the UAE and the Middle East works.”
Patrick McPherson, construction disputes partner at CMS Dubai, commented, “Courtney is an important hire for the firm, as we look to grow our disputes offering and capitalise on the uptick in construction work across the region. Courtney brings with her a wealth of experience and impressive credentials across the construction disputes arena, which will significantly boost the practice and help us to create new opportunities.”
Commenting on her appointment, Rothery said, “This is an exciting opportunity for me given the firm’s global footprint and renowned dispute resolution practice. I look forward to working with the team to grow the practice in the Middle East and globally.”
Covington expands M&A Capability in the Middle East with Rupert Harper
Harper has a wide-ranging practice advising on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity buy-outs, and strategic investment transactions across a number of industry sectors. His clients include a number of regional sovereign wealth funds, banks, corporations, and family offices based in the Middle East as well as large multinational corporations with investments in the region.
“With Rupert’s addition, we see significant opportunities to expand our corporate practice in Dubai and across the Middle East,” said Bruce Wilson, head of the firm’s Dubai office. “His experience in handling both inbound and outbound transactions in the region, combined with the firm’s vision for growth in the Middle East, will be met with enthusiasm by the firm’s existing clients seeking to do business in the Gulf, Africa, Europe, and beyond.”
“Covington’s global expertise will be of great interest to clients based in the region looking to diversify their investments outside the Middle East, as well as being highly relevant to the future of the region,” said Mr. Harper. “I was also drawn to the firm’s unique capabilities at the intersection of law, regulation, and policy.” Harper is admitted to practice in Australia and New Zealand.
DWF appoints co-head of employment practice in the UAE
Thenji joins the business from Taylor Wessing (Middle East) LLP, where she held the position as head of employment (senior counsel) in the Dubai office. Thenji is an admitted UK employment solicitor and has been based in the UAE for eight years predominantly working on contentious and non-contentious matters on a wide range of regional employment and immigration issues.
Thenji has over ten years’ experience working in employment law advising blue chip, multinational, regional, local and private clients from all industry sectors. She advises on complex employment issues which include global mobility of employees, cross-jurisdictional matters including temporary assignment, secondment, cross border engagement. She has particular expertise in advising on all HR issues including recruitment, termination, employment disputes, corporate reorganisation, mergers and acquisitions, terms and conditions, company policies and procedures. Thenji is a visiting employment law lecturer at the University of Middlesex (Dubai) and an active volunteer lawyer with the pro-bono scheme at the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) courts and DMCC Free Zone Mediation Centre.
At DWF, Thenji will bring her highly regarded expertise to work alongside Shiraz Sethi (regional managing partner and co-head of employment) and Ali Al Assaad (senior associate – employment) to strengthen DWF’s thriving employment offering across the Middle East region.
Regional managing partner for DWF Middle East LLP, Shiraz Sethi was delighted by the appointment, “We are continuing to build our international capacity and capability to serve our clients’ needs across the Middle East region, and Thenji is a crucial part of this strategy. This is an exciting time for Thenji to be joining the employment practice especially following the recent enactment of the New DIFC Employment Law and the anticipated departure from End of Service Gratuity in the DIFC in early 2020. We foresee that the regional employment legal landscape will continue to change in line with international best practices and standards, and we look to Thenji to further bolster our employment expertise and enhance our client offering.”
Thenji said, “I am delighted to be joining DWF to join forces with Shiraz to co-head the Employment practice. A lawyer whom I know shares a similar vision to mine in offering our clients with specialist “out of the box” employment advice to advance our client’s business objectives. I have been following DWF’s upward trajectory within the Middle East with interest, and I am excited to be joining such an innovative and successful business, particularly a firm that is committed to diversity and inclusion which I am passionate about myself.”
Eversheds Sutherland appoints Hani Kurdi as partner and acquires boutique Jordanian practice
Sanad Law Group in Association with Eversheds Sutherland has appointed Hani Kurdi as partner in its Amman office, acquiring his successful aviation, telecoms and arbitration practice which significantly bolsters its presence in Jordan.
Kurdi joins from his own Amman-based boutique firm, Kurdi & Associates, a practice specialising in a mixture of litigation, arbitration and corporate law for a range of sectors including aviation and telecommunications which Eversheds Sutherland acquires. Kurdi has 20 years’ experience practising law in Jordan, and is dually qualified in Jordan, and England and Wales. Previously, Kurdi spent six years as general counsel for Royal Jordanian Airlines and had a two year stint at Eversheds Sutherland before establishing Kurdi & Associates.
Kurdi joins the Jordan office as partner, and will continue to build his aviation, litigation and commercial and corporate practice within Eversheds Sutherland’s global network. He joined the firm on September 1, 2019.
Ghaleb Al faraj, senior office partner for Amman, Jordan, said, “Since founding Kurdi & Associates in 2014, Hani’s boutique has gone from strength to strength and he has accrued an impressive roster of high-profile clients. We look forward to welcoming Hani into the team, where we hope we can continue to build his practice from our global platform.”
Tawfiq Tabbaa, regional managing partner, Middle East, also commented, “Hani brings immense experience of the Jordanian and Middle East legal market. His broad experience from regulatory, to arbitral, to commercial work is invaluable as we continue to grow our presence in the Middle East. We are also excited about him bringing over his successful aviation practice, a growth area in Jordan and the Middle East. Hani is a great addition to the team both locally and across our network and we look forward to him getting started.” Kurdi’s arrival follows the Jordan office’s recent relocation to bigger premises in the centre of Amman’s commercial and financial district, in July 2018.