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HFW launches 20th international office with double Abu Dhabi partner hire

1 October 2018

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing international network with the launch of a new office in Abu Dhabi and the hire of two partners.

Finance and corporate partners Vince Gordon and Tania de Swart have joined the firm in Abu Dhabi from Reed Smith. Vince was Reed Smith’s regional managing partner for the Middle East.

HFW now has 19 partners and more than 50 lawyers – including 28 Arabic speakers – in five offices across the Middle East, making it one of the largest practices of any international law firm in the region.

The new office is HFW’s 20th worldwide and its eighth international office opening, merger or association since January 2016, following a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

Richard Crump, Global Senior Partner, HFW:
“Our strategy is to be the world’s leading law firm to the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping sectors. As part of that strategy, we have been building capability in the international centres that are important to clients in each of those sectors. The Middle East is critically important to all of our industry groups and is also establishing itself as a key hub for international dispute resolution. It is one of the fastest-growing parts of our business globally.”

Vince has more than 13 years’ experience in the Middle East, advising clients on complex corporate, finance, infrastructure and projects transactions, including debt capital markets, M&A and joint ventures, corporate finance, funds, trade finance, regulatory and project finance work.

He also has significant management experience: in addition to being Reed Smith’s regional managing partner for the Middle East, he also chaired the firm’s Africa and Australia business teams, and was previously vice chair of its business and finance department and sat on the management committee of its global financial industry group.

Vince is ranked as a leading lawyer for banking and finance in the Middle East by independent legal directories including Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500 and the IFLR 1000. The latest edition of Chambers and Partners praised Vince’s “considerable market experience” for banking and finance in the United Arab Emirates.

Tania specialises in corporate and commercial work, focusing on M&A, joint ventures, restructurings, corporate governance, foreign direct investments and employment law. She has been in the UAE for more than 10 years, advising clients in a range of industry sectors, including defence, aviation, construction, oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing, communications, hospitality and education.

Vince Gordon, Partner, HFW:
“I am excited to be joining a firm with such a deep and longstanding commitment to the Middle East. My clients will really benefit from HFW’s extensive network in the region and globally, and I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue to strengthen its position as one of the leading practices in the Middle East.”

HFW has operated in the Middle East for more than 12 years and also has offices in Dubai, Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait City. It is one of only two international law firms with a presence in Kuwait.

The firm recently boosted its Dubai office with the hire of senior disputes partner James Harbridge, who specialises in construction arbitration and the Oman market. HFW also promoted two new partners in Dubai in 2018: aerospace specialist Charles Cockrell and litigation expert Sara Sheffield.

Richard Gimblett, Dubai Office Head, HFW:
“Launching in Abu Dhabi is an important step in the continued development of our Middle East offering. We’ve been looking at the market for some time, but we wanted to make sure we found the right people to lead our practice. I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to attract two such experienced and high quality partners; Vince and Tania have outstanding reputations in the market and their arrival is a big boost to our corporate and transactional practice, which is one of the fastest growing parts of our business. We’ve been in the Middle East for a long time and we’re now one of the biggest law firms in the region, but we plan to continue to strengthen across our core industry sectors.”

Vince and Tania’s arrival continues a period of sustained international expansion for HFW.

HFW has now added 22 new partners so far in 2018, including nine internal promotions and 13 lateral hires across Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Rio de Janeiro and Singapore.

HFW also recently entered into a cooperation arrangement with Brazilian law firm CAL – its seventh international merger or association since January 2016.


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Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
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