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HFW Strengthens Middle East Construction Practice With Senior Hire, Partner Relocation

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has strengthened its Middle East construction practice with the hire of Maria Deus in Abu Dhabi and the relocation of Kijong Nam from London to Dubai.

Maria is a construction disputes expert and joins HFW as a Legal Director from DWF, having previously worked in-house as legal counsel for an international project management and construction company.

Kijong specialises in construction and shipbuilding, and joined HFW as a Partner in 2018.

HFW is now the only international law firm with specialist construction lawyers based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuwait City.

Carolyn Chudleigh, Global Head of Construction, HFW:

"Kijong and Maria are both experienced and highly skilled construction experts, and together represent a significant boost to our practice in the Middle East. Maria has acted on some of the most complex and highest-value disputes in the region, and Kijong has a wealth of expertise in both onshore and offshore construction, with offshore a real growth area for us globally. We will continue to build and strengthen our construction offering around the world to meet the changing needs of our clients across the sector."

Richard Gimblett, Dubai Office Head, HFW:

"Construction is a vital part of our practice in the Middle East, and with Maria's arrival we now have dedicated experts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuwait City, enabling us to offer specialist advice to clients across the region. We have been in the Middle East for a long time and are deeply committed to the region, and look forward to working with Maria and Kijong to continue to expand and develop our presence."

Kijong specialises in dispute resolution and handles cases involving construction of refinery facilities, LNG import facilities, infrastructure and offshore projects, as well as shipbuilding cases. His clients include international contractors, energy companies and the leading shipyards.

Maria has more than 20 years' experience in construction and engineering law, and advises clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious issues, including review and drafting of contract documentation, contract and claims management, and representation of clients in arbitration and mediation.

She also acts as an Arbitrator and as a RICS Accredited Mediator, and is listed as a 'rising star' by The Legal 500, which quotes clients praising her "excellent support" and knowledge on "various arbitration procedures and pitfalls".

Maria Deus, Legal Director, HFW:

"I am excited to be joining a firm with such a large global construction practice. HFW has been one of the real success stories of the Middle East legal market over the past five years, and I'm looking forward to helping contribute to the firm's continued growth in the region."

Construction is one of HFW's six core sectors globally. The firm has more than 70 specialist construction lawyers across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The team advise contractors, owners, consultants, insurers, property developers, financiers and investors on every aspect of the construction process, from project establishment and procurement to claim resolution.

HFW has been in the Middle East since 2006 and now has almost 60 lawyers – including 28 Arabic speakers – across offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait City and Riyadh, making it one of the largest practices of any international law firm in the region.

Maria is the fifth lateral hire to join HFW's Abu Dhabi office since it opened in 2018, and follows the firm's launch of a specialist insurance practice in the city in 2019.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy and resources, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Johnson
Head of Communications
D +44 (0)20 7264 8159
M +44 (0)7976 939864
E chris.johnson@hfw.com

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