I refer to the IFLR1000 especially with respect to jurisdictions I have no knowledge about. The main reasons: to find a good firm or confirm standing of a firm recommended by someone else.
I usually use the IFLR1000 in connection with a need to engage a local counsel on an M&A deal.
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Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling is focussed on project finance and M&A in the UAE. It also handles banking lending and other financing including derivatives and repo transactions.
There was a change at the top of Shearman’s Middle East Practice in 2013. Former partner Marwan Elaraby was rehired to take over the role of managing partner for the region from Nicholas Buckworth, who remains responsible for the European and African practices and will continue to have some influence on the firm’s Middle East strategy. Elaraby knows the US firm well: he was once a capital markets partner in its New York office and served in the Abu Dhabi branch he will now oversee as an associate. He joins the firm from MENA (Middle East & North Africa) based private equity outfit Citadel Capital where he was managing director.
Clients say part of the firm's appeal is its network and the smooth way it operates. "They work as an integrated team – they serviced us from multiple locations – the US, UK and UAE – so what I really appreciate is their seamless ability to do this," says one.
One of the country's oldest international firms, the US outfit is strategically located itself in Abu Dhabi where most of the government, sovereign wealth funds, and public oil and gas companies were based. Today the firm has strong relations with many of these clients, including the Government of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Mubadala, the state's investment arm.
The project finance group is headed up Iain Elder while James Comyn and Philip Dundas, Abu Dhabi managing partner and deputy managing partner respectively, oversee the firm's M&A activities. Outside of the partners, counsel Robin Bayley is recommended. One client says: "He was excellent – timely, thorough, constantly available. He was able to manage multiple time zones and he offered a lot of expertise around historical and market precedents."
Among the firm's recent transactions a clear highlight was its advice to Dow Chemical on its joint venture with Saudi Aramco (Sadara) to develop a $20 billion petrochemical production plant in the kingdom. A team from London is being supported by the local office, which is advising on both the corporate law and the project financing for the deal.
Elsewhere in the project space the firm has been working on residential developments and a Metro project in India.
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