International arbitration is now a stand-alone practice at the UAE leader
- Who’s Who Name:
- Essam Al Tamim
Established in Dubai in 1989, Al Tamimi & Company is the largest independent law firm in the Middle East, with more than 170 lawyers on its payroll. It was one of the first in the region to target international arbitration, recruiting foreign-trained specialists to pass on their know-how. Nowadays, members of the firm can conduct an arbitrated case from beginning to end, including steering it through the national courts of the UAE, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Most of the lawyers in the department are qualified barristers, and they handle the advocacy for the most part in-house.
Founding partner Essam Al Tamimi is an active participant in the international arbitration community and a member of several regional and international arbitration panels, including the ICC Court of Arbitration in Paris. He has served on the LCIA court and is now LCIA president for the Arab Users’ Council.
The firm has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq.
Who uses it?
It varies. The current array includes financial institutions, a hotel chain and a construction company. The firm also acts for a number of senior sheikhs and other rulers on an individual basis.
International Turnkey Systems is one recent beneficiary of the firm’s work. It relied on Al Tamimi to mitigate losses and prove lack of responsibility in connection with a failed project.
Another client that was, at the time, facing bankruptcy over an unexpected US$30 million claim, escaped unscathed thanks to the firm’s sterling work.
The team estimates it has ratcheted up more than US$20 million in wins for its clients in the past year.
In the past year, Al Tamimi has established a dedicated specialist arbitration practice distinct from its local litigation group. Paul Turner was duly appointed the new regional head of arbitration in January 2011. Turner spent more than 30 years as a partner in London City law firms, specialising in arbitration – many of them at Clyde & Co.
The firm has been advising on one of the highest-value arbitrations in the region, which stems from the termination of an iconic construction contract. It also secured a multimillion-dollar award against a large Dutch construction company in favour of its UAE agent; the case was argued under ICC rules, in London.