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Houston’s Vinson & Elkins has strengthened its Middle East practice with the relocation of two partners and plans to add more attorneys. Corporate partners Creighton Smith and Jim Knight moved to the United Arab Emirates from the Houston office. Smith will be based in Abu Dhabi and Knight in Dubai. Joining the firm as a counsel in the corporate department is Hessam Kalantar, who will work in Dubai. The firm said it plans to add more attorneys to those offices in coming months. “With a strong base of attorneys in the UAE, we are well positioned to provide our clients in the Middle East with significant on-the-ground expertise as well as convenient access to attorneys located in the major legal markets around the world,” Joe Dilg, the firm’s managing partner, said in a news release. “Our growth in the Middle East will continue, reflecting the strategic importance of this region for the firm.” Knight focuses on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions. Smith focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and joint ventures. Vinson & Elkins has more than 750 lawyers in 13 offices.

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