Expanding our law firm’s global reach and commitment to serving clients doing business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the GCC, and beyond, Vinson & Elkins (V&E) opened its Dubai office in 2003, the firm’s first office in the Middle East. The Dubai office provides a geographically centralized position to serve clients with interests in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Asian subcontinent. Our attorneys in Dubai work closely with our attorneys in our Abu Dhabi and Riyadh offices and are integrated with V&E's worldwide network of offices resulting in efficient delivery of legal advice across nearly every business sector, regardless of client location. Our Dubai office advises on corporate, structured, project, and Islamic finance; mergers and acquisitions; private equity and fund formation; capital markets and securities; restructuring and reorganization; energy transactions; privatizations, and deregulation; and arbitration and litigation matters with particular strength in the energy, construction, infrastructure, healthcare, shipping, telecommunications, media, and financial services sectors.
The Dubai team includes U.S., English, and regionally qualified lawyers, many of whom are native Arabic speakers. A number of V&E’s lawyers in the UAE are bi-lingual or multi-lingual with Arabic, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish language capabilities. These language skills allow us to more effectively and efficiently represent the interests of our clients and maintain a robust catalog of precedent documents that provide cost savings.
Our firm understands the unique legal, business, and regulatory issues facing clients located in, and doing business in the Middle East. V&E lawyers have been actively involved in the ongoing development of the region’s energy sector; commodities markets, and regulations; healthcare infrastructure; restructuring regulations; and many other areas impacting business in the UAE and internationally. This knowledge, coupled with our understanding of UAE-specific laws, frameworks, and customs, is integrated with our worldwide network of offices, ensuring efficient project management and excellent service whenever and wherever clients need it. (View accolades for our Middle East experience.)
V&E’s acclaimed local, regional, and international corporate and M&A practice is regularly recognized regionally and globally among the best by Chambers Global, Legal 500, International Financial Law Review (IFLR 1000), Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and other prominent publications. Our UAE team has significant experience advising sellers, purchasers, targets, dealer-managers, and financial advisors on general corporate, M&A, joint venture, private equity, and other transactional matters throughout the MENA region, including those with Shari’a-compliant structures. We also provide advice and customized training on general corporate, incorporation, and governance matters.
Private Equity and Fund Formation
V&E lawyers bring comprehensive understanding of the entire life cycle of funds and have significant funds experience across the MENA region, including experience in Shari’a-compliant investments and structures. Our practice boosts strength, with depth in virtually all other areas of practice that are important to private equity funds and investment funds and sophisticated knowledge of key regulatory considerations, including placement rules applied by various banks and authorities. Clients benefit from our understanding of all sides of the deal, as we regularly advise fund sponsors and principals, placement agents, portfolio companies, and potential investors. Our UAE private equity clients include Lime Rock Partners, TVM Capital, Iris Capital, and Saudi Telecom Company.
Islamic Finance and Investment
V&E prides itself on being one of only a very small number of international law firms with the ability to advise clients on structuring and documenting complex Islamic finance and investment transactions. Our lawyers have worked with clients across more than 30 jurisdictions (including in the MENA region, the European Union, North America, and China) on a wide variety of Shari’a-compliant investments and financial products. We have excellent working relationships with prominent Shari’a advisers worldwide and are at the forefront of legal, regulatory, and policy developments affecting Islamic finance transactions and opportunities globally. Our award-winning practice includes four UAE attorneys recognized by Islamic Finance news’ 2012 Leading Lawyers Poll, which also named V&E the “Best Law Firm” for Cross-border and M&A. In addition, Chambers Global (2013) recognized V&E as a leader for Middle East Islamic finance. Our team recently advised the FWU Group on the largest European Sukuk which was recently named “Europe Deal of the Year” and “Ijarah Deal of the Year” at the Islamic Finance news Awards, 2012.
Banking and Finance
Dubai has become an important financial center for companies doing business in the MENA region, and V&E is regularly recognized by Chambers Global, International Financial Law Review (IFLR 1000), Legal 500, and Islamic Finance news as among the best banking and finance firms in the UAE. We represent arrangers, agent banks, borrowers, financial sponsors, investors, and other participants in a broad range of complex and innovative finance transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, Islamic finance and structured products, project finance, structured products, private placements, mezzanine debt, asset-based lending, workouts, and restructuring matters.
Capital Markets and Securities
V&E’s award-winning capital markets and securities law practice consistently ranks among the best, including being ranked in the top 10 in 13 categories in Bloomberg’s Year-End 2011 Global Legal Adviser League Tables. V&E lawyers in the Middle East and around the world provide disclosure, governance, and general corporate advice to our public company clients, as well as advising on a broad range of debt and equity transactions, such as high-yield and investment-grade debt issuances, 144A/Reg S matters, and bonds (including Sukuk). Additionally, V&E is one of the only law firms with dedicated conventional and Shari’a-compliant derivatives lawyers on the ground in Dubai.
Restructuring and Reorganization
V&E’s restructuring and reorganization practice has been active for more than 25 years with leaders in workout and restructuring law worldwide, including a market-leading practice in the Middle East. The firm’s MENA lawyers have advised on the largest and most complex restructuring matters to date in the GCC (including the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait) and regularly provide clients with legal, business, and regulatory guidance in connection with corporate reorganization and debt restructuring, including various Islamic financing components of restructuring and reorganization matters. Additionally, we were named “Best Law Firm” for Insolvency and Restructuring in the 2011 Islamic Finance news Law Poll.
V&E has been recognized by Euromoney as the World's Leading Energy Law Firm (1995 - present).* As a result of our nearly century-long commitment to the energy industry, we have extensive experience in the legal aspects of virtually all areas of the energy sector. Our award-winning regional practice includes deep knowledge in oil and gas; LNG; petrochemical; power; renewable and alternative energy; climate change; water; and minerals and mining. Clients include multinational companies; independent energy, mining, and related-service companies; government-owned energy entities; large industrial groups; international contractors; institutional, foreign, and private investors; investment banks; and some of the world's largest commercial banks, Islamic financial institutions, and export credit agencies.
Project Finance and Development
V&E has an internationally recognized project finance and development practice that includes bi-lingual Arabic and English speakers (among other languages) who are familiar with relevant local and regional legal and regulatory requirements. Our lawyers are regularly selected to work on high-profile, bespoke energy and infrastructure developments throughout the MENA region, across a broad array of sectors including power and water, renewable and alternative energy, oil and gas, petrochemical and refining, metals, infrastructure, and transport, both regionally and internationally. We advise in equal proportion regional and international developers, lenders, governments, and advisors in relation to development and construction/EPC, conventional, and Islamic finance, corporate/commercial, M&A and private equity, capital markets, regulatory, and arbitration and litigation work related to complex, large-scale projects across nearly all industry sectors in the MENA the region. We have particular strength in innovative and non-standard multi-sourced project financing deals which involve commercial lenders, export credit agencies, Islamic financial institutions, and bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, as well as project bonds issued in the capital markets. Our highly acclaimed project finance practice was recently named “Projects & Energy Law Firm of the Year” at the ALB The Brief Middle East Law Awards, 2012. In addition, four UAE partners are recognized as leaders in this field by Legal Media Group's (Euromoney) Expert Guide to the World's Leading Banking Finance and Transactional (Project Finance) Lawyers, 2012.
Our regional team has advised on numerous complex, innovative, and award-winning deals worldwide, including the US$17 billion Basrah Gas project in Iraq; phase I and II of the Emirates Aluminium project (EMAL) in the UAE (named “GCC Industrial Project of the Year” at the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2012, as well as receiving "Deal of the Year” awards from Project Finance International and Euromoney); and the US$4.1 billion cross-border Dolphin pipeline project (named 2009 “Oil & Gas Deal of the Year” by Infrastructure Journal and 2009 "Middle East Oil & Gas Deal of the Year” by Project Finance International).
Arbitration and Litigation
Dispute resolution is one of the great strengths of our firm. V&E was recently named by Global Arbitration Review to the prestigious 2012 GAR 100, a guide to the top 100 law firms with international arbitration capabilities. We have significant experience with Middle East dispute resolution, including appearing before the Dubai International Arbitration Centre and the Dubai International Financial Centre Court, where two of our lawyers have full rights of audience. Our MENA team has particular experience with multi-jurisdictional disputes and those involving sovereign entities, as well as matters in the energy, construction, and infrastructure sectors.
* Based upon the number of lawyers named in the Guide to the World’s Leading Energy Lawyers.