BAKER & McKenzie has sealed a merger deal with United Arab Emirates firm Habib Al Mulla & Co, cementing its presence in the region and adding 40 lawyers to its headcount.
The new firm will be known as Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla across the UAE, and be led by Dr Habib Al Mulla as chairman and co-managing partner along with Borys Dackiw, Bakers’ managing partner of the Gulf region.
Mulla will become an equity partner in the firm, which employs more than 4,000 across 72 offices – the 73rd of which will be added in Dubai once the merger completes in July.
“The combination with Habib Al Mulla cements our presence in the UAE as it once again experiences strong economic growth,” said Bakers’ global chairman Eduardo Leite.
Dr Habib al Mulla said the merger will create a “unique law firm offering in the UAE” as “the legal landscape in the UAE continues to become more sophisticated, as do client requirements”.
Al Mulla, who founded the firm in 1984, was also one of the lawyers who worked on the blueprint for the Financial Free Zones legal framework, setting up the Dubai International Financial Centre in 2002 where many of the regions international firms are based.
The Dubai office will be Bakers’ fifth in the region, along with Riyadh, Cairo, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.