Chambers Global 2023 – UAE Rankings: The Best Law Firms

In this Chambers Global Legal Topics Article the team share a look at the top law firms across the UAE based on the number of department rankings in the 2023 guide.

Published on 13 February 2023
Written by Ollie Dimsdale
Ollie Dimsdale

Who are the best law firms across the United Arab Emirates?

The rankings data for Chambers Global 2023 provides a unique opportunity to look at the ever-evolving legal markets of the Middle East.

It is of course no surprise to find that the United Arab Emirates continues to lead the way in terms of rankings, with a total of 72 unique law firms ranked across 20 unique practice areas.

Dubai has long been established as the economic powerhouse of the Middle East, with many of the region’s big-ticket deals containing an international element coordinated by lawyers operating from the DIFC.

A total of eleven law firms gained at least one new department ranking in the UAE tables listed within Chambers Global 2023. Included among this number are boutique law firms dedicated to practice areas such as intellectual property and construction, as well as the legal arm of a Big 4 accountancy firm, ranked for the first time in UAE Corporate/M&A.

To browse the full list of ranking tables and see which other law firms have added to, or improved, their rankings click here.

Which law firms have the highest number of legal rankings for departments?

Leading the way in terms of overall number of department rankings was top regional law firm Al Tamimi & Company, with a total of 17 department rankings. Founded in 1989, Al Tamimi has for many years been one of the leading names for legal services in the Middle East, with offices in most Middle Eastern countries, as well as a newly opened offering in Morocco.

When it comes to the other top performers featured in the UAE rankings for Chambers Global 2023, it is noteworthy that the names include Hadef & Partners and magic circle heavyweight Allen & Overy.

These two are both names which regularly come up in conversations about the leading law firms across the Middle East as a whole, yet neither has an office outside the UAE. Domestically, Hadef & Partners remains Al Tamimi’s key competition, as the two domestic law firms which are most often local counsel of choice among international lawyers whose own firm does not have an office in the region.

Allen & Overy’s regional network has seen some changes in the past few years, following the closure of its Doha office in 2019 and the end of its cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Khoshaim & Associates the following year. This regrouping has been no barrier to A&O’s success, with an excellent set of rankings across the transactional sphere.

While for both Hadef and A&O, the UAE has been the focal point of their Middle Eastern growth, the other best-performing law firms in terms of number of UAE department rankings are organisations which also have some of the most expansive networks of offices across the region.

Clyde & Co has roots in the Middle East going back more than 40 years, with its offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi complemented by well-established teams in Riyadh and Doha. Collectively its lawyers continue to excel in the disputes arena, as well as in practice areas such as Employment, Commercial Contracts and Intellectual Property.

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Analysing the top performing law firms across the UAE

In terms of the law firms with the highest number of UAE department rankings, the top 10 also included DLA Piper, Dentons and Eversheds.

These firms are all ones which have offices throughout the region, including in countries such as Iraq and Jordan where the legal landscape is dominated by domestic law firms. If the UAE is to be viewed as a microcosm of the Middle East as a whole, it is unsurprising the firms with the largest footprint across the region also do the best in terms of their UAE rankings.

Celebrating legal excellence in the UAE

All the top-performing law firms also have multiple nominations at the Chambers Middle East Awards, which suggests that those organisations which put the most resources into their overall offering are also among the best-placed to excel in terms of individual practice areas.

Held on March 1 at the Conrad Hotel, Dubai, the Chambers Middle East awards are now in their fourth year, and are an opportunity to celebrate the region’s top legal talent.

The full list of categories and nominees can be viewed here.

Tables are still available for purchase; if you are interested please email [email protected].


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