Kensington Swan has sent a team of five people from its Auckland and Wellington offices to staff the firm’s new branch in Abu Dhabi.
Technology specialist Quentin Lowcay will head up the office as managing partner. He has been joined by senior consultant Richard Cathie, who specialises in construction. Solicitors Julian de Lange, Mark Brown, and Karen Sanderson will provide support.
Partners Neil Millar and Rodney Craig have been appointed UAE project managers in Auckland and Wellington respectively, for client work flowing both to and from the UAE, as business between New Zealand and the Gulf States increases.
The next year will prove telling as to whether Kensington Swan can achieve its Arabian ambitions but it will be far from alone in seeking to serve the legal market in the UAE capital. Although it is the first Kiwi law firm opening up shop in the emirate, Kensington Swan enters a crowded market harbouring at least 25 potential competitors in the shape of other non-local firms.
However, the firm hopes to avoid competing head-on with its large global competitors by providing legal services around some of the more unfashionable sectors in the UAE. Lowcay was chosen specifically because of his technology focus (he was formerly in-house counsel for IBM in the UK) and, although Cathie specialises in construction, it is his experience in representing owners and contractors on project facilitation, negotiation and documentation rather than his knowledge of project finance that Kensington Swan will rely on.
* This list may not be exhaustive
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