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AKIN GUMP PARTNER HEARS CALL OF DUBAI, HEADS OVERSEAS The only thing hotter than a summer’s day in Dubai is the deal market accessible from there, according to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Abrar Hussain. That’s why the Silicon Valley corporate partner is moving his practice, his wife and his two young kids from the temperate climes of the Bay Area to Akin Gump’s office of about a dozen lawyers in the “Vegas on the Gulf.” “When you’re looking at a dynamic market, an emerging market, you really need to be there,” said Hussain, who is set to head out at the end of July. Hussain does a lot of work for companies in India as well as private equity and hedge funds investing there. Since U.S. law firms aren’t allowed to open shop in India, Dubai is the next best thing � just a 2 1/2-hour flight away. “The big issue is that I can go and travel to India at the drop of the hat � go meet clients and see what’s going on and still have my family close by,” said Hussain. He’ll help organize the firm’s newly formalized India practice group in Dubai. He’ll also be trying to land local private equity and other investor clients in Dubai, who he said are increasingly looking to sink money into the “juicy” India market as well. Hussain is no stranger to the region. His parents are from India, but have roots throughout the Middle East. He was born in Somalia where his parents worked at a UNICEF clinic, and moved to the U.S. as a child. “Many like me have grown up mostly in the U.S., and many are going back now for the opportunities,” he said. But even with his personal connections to the area, his business connection to the region was forged in Silicon Valley, a training ground for many who now run companies in India. After leaving an in-house job, he started his own law firm, the Safina Group, which focused on cross-border deals in Asia. That small firm was later acquired by Greenberg Traurig, the firm Hussain left last year to join Akin Gump. So what will he miss about the Bay Area? The intellectual stimulation, the activism, public radio and of course, the climate. “The weather going from an average of 70, to 30 degrees higher, is definitely one thing,” he said laughing.

Zusha Elinson

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