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HFW continues Middle East expansion with senior partner hire

2 July 2018

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing Middle East practice with the hire of senior disputes partner James Harbridge.

James will join the firm’s Dubai office on 1 July from Trowers & Hamlins, where he headed its international dispute resolution and litigation department.

HFW now has 17 partners and more than 50 lawyers – including 28 Arabic speakers – in four offices across the Middle East, making it one of the largest practices of any international law firm in the region.

James’ arrival follows the hire of Dubai-based disputes partner Beau McLaren, who joined HFW from Dentons alongside senior associate Jane Miles in 2017 to head the firm’s Middle East construction practice. HFW also promoted two new partners in Dubai in 2018: aerospace specialist Charles Cockrell and litigation expert Sara Sheffield.

The firm is currently expanding its Dubai office, increasing its total floor space by 40 percent, to accommodate its continued growth.

HFW has been in Dubai for over 12 years and also has offices in Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait City. It is one of only two international law firms with a presence in Kuwait.

James has significant experience acting for multinational and Middle Eastern clients in a wide range of high-value and complex disputes, with particular expertise in construction arbitration and the Oman market.

He previously spent over 15 years working in Oman, including almost seven years as a partner at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle.

James is ranked as a leading disputes lawyer by legal directories Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. Chambers says that clients hold James “in high regard” and describe him as “a great advocate”.

The move comes amid a period of sustained international expansion for the firm. James is the seventh partner to join HFW so far in 2018, following hires in Singapore, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and London. The firm also recently entered into a cooperation arrangement with a Brazilian law firm – HFW’s seventh international merger or association since January 2016.

Richard Gimblett, Dubai office head:
“We are extremely pleased to welcome such an experienced and highly-regarded partner to the firm. James’ arrival represents another significant boost to our fast-growing Middle East practice. His specialist expertise in construction arbitration and in the Omani market will prove hugely valuable to our clients throughout the region.”

James Harbridge:
“It is a great honour for me to join the HFW team. I was immediately attracted to the firm’s client-centric ‘can do’ philosophy. Law is all about doing the very best for others in a manner which is most efficient in terms of time and cost. HFW clearly shares my desire to give perfection and a gold standard service.”


HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping sectors. The firm has almost 600 fee-earners, including 180 partners, based in 18 offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. We take a progressive approach to our roles in commercial business – thinking creatively and pragmatically to support our clients. 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
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M  +44 (0)7976 939864

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Chris Johnson
Head of Communications