How Globalisation is Reshaping the UAE Legal Market 

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A world of clients demands a world of expertise 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has transformed into a global business powerhouse. Fuelled by globalisation,innovation, increased media attention and a strategic location, the UAE has become a hub for international companies looking to expand. This boom has had a ripple effect, fundamentally reshaping the legal sector. The past year alone it has seen some of the most buoyant deal activity anywhere in the world, creating exponential growth opportunities. Law firms are facing a surge in demand for a wider range of services that cater to a variety of industries, and international clients. 

Ksenia Andreeva, Partner at Morgan Lewis’s Dubai office and co-head of its Technology, Outsourcing and Commercial Contracts team, shared the impact that globalisation in the UAE has had on her firm as a panellist in our recent webinar ‘Crossing Continents: Navigating Global Legal Landscapes in the UAE’. She said, “Our focus used to be investment management, but globalisation has allowed us to significantly expand our services and become a full-service firm with a team that has doubled in size. We now cover industries like aviation, finance and media, all thanks to the influx of international clients.” 

These clients view the UAE as a springboard, not just for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but for North Africa as well. This means law firms need to adapt, integrating best practices from different jurisdictions to ensure a seamless experience for their global clients. As Andreeva explains, “Clients expect the same level of support they get in Europe or the U.S. They need help with labour law, litigation, and tax strategy – all areas where our globalised approach makes a real difference. The globalisation of business in the UAE has fundamentally changed our approach, making it necessary to understand cultural nuances and provide comprehensive legal services tailored to this dynamic market.” 

Lawyers with dual qualification in the UAE in high demand 

Multinational corporations bring with them a breadth of legal issues that go beyond borders and this calls for a different kind of lawyer – one with a deep understanding of international law and the intricacies of cross-border transactions. 

The UAE legal system is a unique blend of civil law and Islamic law, making it a leader in driving innovative practices in law and other sectors. However, many international clients operate under common law jurisdictions. This is where lawyers with dual qualification become invaluable. They bridge the gap between legal systems, ensuring smooth representation for multinational corporations. This is why many law firms in the UAE are focusing on recruiting lawyers with dual qualification – competition for talent is high in demand!  

Ahmad Saleh, a Partner at Al Tamimi & Company who heads up the Innovation, Patents and Intellectual Property department as well as working on its Transformation and Future Economy services alongside its chairman, Essam Al Tamimi, shared how important getting the right talent is in the UAE during our panel discussion. “It’s crucial for lawyers to speak the client’s language and understand their business realities and needs. Dual qualification is extremely important. At our firm, we have lawyers from over 53 nationalities, which brings a wealth of diversity and value. This helps us communicate effectively with clients and understand their business and culture.” 

The influx of international companies, coupled with the growing demand for specialised legal services like IP and technology law, paints a thriving picture for the UAE legal market. And for lawyers with dual qualification, the future is particularly bright as it certainly makes you very attractive as an employee. 

Benefits of dual qualification for UAE lawyers 

  • Greater career opportunities: Law firms in the UAE are actively seeking dual qualified lawyers, opening doors to career advancement and exciting opportunities within the global legal market. 
  • Enhanced credibility and reputation: Dual qualification showcases your dedication to professional development, positioning you as a highly-skilled and valuable asset to any firm. 
  • Exceptional client Service: Multinational clients require legal representation that transcends borders. Your dual qualification allows you to bridge the gap between legal systems, ensuring consistent and effective advice across their global operations. 
  • Deeper understanding of international law: A dual qualification equips you with a comprehensive grasp of international legal frameworks and principles, enabling you to confidently advise clients on complex cross-border transactions. 

If you would like to find out more about dual qualification, book a call with our expert today, or enrol in our Ebar or SQE Prep courses to advance your career in the UAE. 

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