HFW boosts Middle East practice with Dubai shipping and offshore team

Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung join from Clyde & Co

HFW boosts Middle East practice with Dubai shipping and offshore team

HFW has boosted its Middle East practice with the hire of shipping and offshore marine partners Robert Lawrence and Ian Chung.

Lawrence and Chung collectively have more than 30 years' experience in the Middle East, and join HFW's Dubai office from Clyde & Co, where Lawrence headed the firm's international trade and transport practice in the region. The move sees Chung return to HFW, where he was a partner until 2017.  

HFW has operated in the Middle East for more than 15 years and now has 20 partners and over 50 lawyers in total across offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait City and Riyadh.

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 "This is a very significant development for HFW in the Middle East,” said Yaman Al Hawamdeh, UAE managing partner at HFW. “Robert and Ian are go-to lawyers for maritime, offshore and international trade work, and adding them to our already market-leading team means that we are now unquestionably the number one shipping practice in the region for both disputes and transactional matters.

"HFW has been in the Middle East for a long time and we remain deeply committed to the region, as evidenced by our ongoing investment into new offices and top talent. We plan to continue to invest in the Middle East and will actively pursue opportunities to further strengthen and broaden our offering to clients."

Lawrence is a disputes lawyer with a particular focus on the marine and offshore industries, including English law and Middle East claims arising from EPC contracts, offshore casualties, ship build and ship conversion projects, trade and transport, and marine insurance. He also advises on enforcement proceedings – onshore and in the DIFC; commercial litigation, including joint venture disputes; as well as non-contentious and regulatory matters.

 Chung acts for a wide range of clients across the Middle East, as well as ship owners with assets operating in the region, including those based in Singapore, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. He will also work closely with HFW's team in Riyadh, where he has significant experience advising Saudi-based clients, as well as litigating before the Saudi Commercial Courts and the Saudi Insurance Disputes Committee.

 Chung specialises in transactional matters within the marine and transportation industries, including M&A and joint ventures, corporate and commercial, regulatory and licensing, finance, and general advisory work. He also has significant experience on insolvency and restructuring, and has acted for banks and borrowers on some of the most significant regional restructurings in recent years.

 "As a shipping disputes lawyer, there is simply no finer place to practise than HFW,” said Lawrence. “The size, expertise and client base of the firm's global shipping group is unrivalled – it really is the gold standard for advice to the industry. HFW has also consistently demonstrated its long-term commitment to the Middle East – which is incredibly important to local clients – as well as a willingness to invest in bold moves.”

Chung added: "I'm very excited to be re-joining HFW. The firm has grown significantly since I departed and its focus on developing its maritime and trade practice in the region has been impressive. I'm pleased to be re-joining a firm that is so focused on the core sectors of maritime, trade and transport, and I hope that we are able to offer clients the best advice and support for their businesses in the region."

 The announcement follows HFW's launch in Denmark with the hire of shipping lawyer Jens Mathiasen, and the firm's internal promotion of four new shipping partners and legal directors – including of shipping and logistic disputes expert Anas Al Tarawneh in Dubai.

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