In its first MENA Super 50 Lawyers list, ALB spotlights standout lawyers in the Middle East and North Africa region who have excelled in client service. The lawyers were selected based on client recommendations sent directly to ALB via an electronic survey, which was open from November 2020 to January 2021. More than 300 in-house counsel voted, from across the Middle East region and beyond. The list is in alphabetical order, and certain lawyers have been profiled.
Sheikha Haya Ras hed Al Khalifa
JD Hassan Matar Al Reyami
Kushagra Ashok Arora
Marco De Leo
Ra d El Treki
Yousuf Khalifa Bin Hammad
Ra vi Jawani
IBTI SSEM LASSOUED
ABDUL HAQ MOHAMMED
DAVID A. MONNIER
JONATHAN P. NOBLE
HASSAN ALI RADHI
ANDREW SCHOORLE MMER
TIM TAYLOR QC
QAYS H. ZU’BI
KUSHAGRA ASHOK ARORA, co-founder, partner, MHLF, UAE
Arora is a seasoned lawyer with a respectable disputes’ practice and a knack for negotiating complex matters; for and on behalf of a consistent clientele spread over various industry segments, including, real estate developers, F&B, insurers, contractors, healthcare, fintech, UHNI and HNI investors and family offices.
He is currently advising two Forbes listed clients on matters concerning investments in ME and in Africa, respectively.
He has the experience of negotiating master franchise and related issues for some renowned brands and prospects in GCC, Africa and Japan; and a joint venture between multiple plot owners and a developer client in Dubai.
He believes that it is paramount for a counsel to be respected and trusted by the clients and co-counsels; which has to be earned by valuing their concerns and objectives; ensuring interpretation of laws which is precise yet innovative; a forensic understanding of facts; and developing a novel perspective to perceive matters and their plausible solutions.
“He is highly skilled, a good listener, attentive to the client's views, and always delivers in a timely and highly satisfactory fashion,” says a client.
JASMIN FICHTE, managing partner, Fichte & Co Legal Consultancy, UAE
Fichte specialises in maritime law, marine insurance, ship finance, strategic investment solutions, arbitration, and litigation.
Among the matters that she was involved in, Fichte advised on the acquisition of oil terminal and facilities of a Malaysian company for a total value exceeding $50 million. She also assisted a UAE oil trader regarding several parcels of oil shipped from UAE to Yemen which were rejected by the end receiver based on the fraudulent analysis carried out in Yemen. Additionally, Fichte also acts on behalf of various UAE government institutions.
Regarding her motivation, Fichte says it comes from seeing clients achieve their goals and their growth. “We work hard because we believe in creating value for our clients and working in an independent law firm allows us to decide on an ad-hoc basis and react swiftly to market needs,” she says. “I started Fichte & Co because I saw a need for high-quality client-focused legal advice. I wanted to create a working environment for like-minded lawyers, passionate for what they do.”
“She is extremely knowledgeable of the UAE legal and regulatory environment and is the ‘go-to lawyer’ for all our UAE legal issues,” says a client.
CHRISTOPHER GUNSON, partner, AMERELLER, UAE
A corporate and commercial expert, Gunson’s practice focuses on commercial transactions, strategic investments, joint ventures, and regulatory compliance. He assists companies on advisory work, negotiation, and strategy.
Gunson has represented more than 300 Japanese clients across the Middle East region. Some of Gunson’s noteworthy cases over the past year include representing Kurita Europe GmbH, part of Kurita Water Industries Group, on its joint venture with AquaChemie in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. He also counselled Kinden Corporation of Japan on its acquisition of International Electro-Mechanical Services Co. of Dubai.
According to Gunson, client appreciation is what keeps him motivated. “I focus on cultural empathy towards my clients,” he says. “My approach is to explain legal risks, while acknowledging practical concerns, make a reasoned recommendation, but respect a client’s decision. Practice of business law in the Middle East requires a different approach from many other developed jurisdictions.”
“He gives valuable feedback and finds different approaches to the various matters, giving well-thought-out pros and cons to each scenario,” says a client.
MOHAMED HASHISH, managing partner, Soliman, Hashish & Partners, Egypt
Hashish is well versed in corporate, mergers & acquisitions, banking and finance, restructuring, telecom, media and technology and public procurement.
He has acted for clients on different matters including advising SABIS Holding on restructuring of its subsidiaries in Egypt, counselling Wabtec on restructuring of its subsidiaries in Egypt and acting as local legal counsel to IBM on obtaining the first-ever WAN license in Egypt.
In addition, Hashish represented GE Healthcare on launching its first-ever e-commerce platform in Egypt, advised Polimeros Mexicanos on developing its chemical plant in Egypt, acted for Hewlett Packard on restructuring of its business in Egypt, and counselled the World Bank Group with regulation of the telecom sector in Egypt.
Talking about his approach towards his clients, Hashish says, “The real success, for me, is when I provide my clients with the type of legal advices that they never had before, especially for complex projects. This will never happen without always putting our client’s interest before anything else including us.”
“He is careful, diligent, and spots important issues that escape other counsel, especially on complicated international transactions,” says a client.
JONATHAN P. NOBLE, local partner, AMERELLER, UAE
Noble, a local partner in AMERELLER’s Dubai office, focuses on corporate and commercial, labour and employment, and dispute resolution matters. He advises multinational companies and regional powerhouses on international transactions, company formation, agency and distribution, joint ventures, and corporate governance in the UAE, GCC, and broader MENA region.
Noble assisted a regional tech company on restructuring of its regional operations in multiple jurisdictions including Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. He also advised a major Swiss pharmaceutical company on a potential investment in the UAE under the new foreign direct investment regime.
In 2020, he represented Kinden Corporation of Japan in its acquisition of International Electro-Mechanical Services Co. of Dubai, UAE.
Noble chief motivation is helping clients solve problems. “In often difficult and uncertain jurisdictions, we strive to deliver fast, high quality, affordable legal advice without compromising on a single element of the client experience.”
“He delivers detailed and concise work that allows me and my in-house legal department to also operate more efficiently,” says a client.
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