Dubai, UAE


Newly merged Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has seen another office head leave the firm after its trans-Atlantic tie-up went live last week.

Dubai head Mohammed Kamal, who led the launch of legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) base in the emirate in 2012, has joined Watson Farley & Williams’ local office, where he will establish a real estate practice for the U.K. firm.

Before joining BLP, he also headed up Hogan Lovells’ Middle East real estate practice. Kamal’s practice encompasses development, infrastructure projects, leasing, corporate joint ventures, funds and financing, including Islamic financing. He will be joined at Watson Farley later this month by Al Tamimi & Co associate Amy Jones.

BCLP’s United Arab Emirates practice, which encompasses two offices—in Dubai and Abu Dhabi—is led by construction and disputes partner Richard Davies. For regulatory reasons, the firm will continue to practice in the UAE under the BLP name.

Kamal’s exit comes after BLP officially combined with U.S. firm Bryan Cave last week, a deal that created a firm with more than 1,600 lawyers and revenues of roughly $900 million.

News of two other departures of senior attorneys broke last week, with Asia head Bob Charlton leaving to join Addleshaw Goddard as Asia-Pacific head, and former BLP private client head and board member Jonathan Kropman finding a new home at Trowers & Hamlins.

Kamal is the second partner to join Watson Farley in Dubai this year, following the hire of dispute resolution partner Charlotte Bijlani, the former head of Baker McKenzie’s international United Arab Emirates arbitration practice, who arrived in February to launch the firm’s new contentious capability in the Middle East.

“Mohammed is further concrete evidence of the firm’s commitment to expanding our Middle Eastern offering across key service lines in our core sectors of transport, energy and real estate,” said Watson Farley Dubai head Andrew Baird.

Other BLP departures this year have included former corporate crime and investigations head Aaron Stephens, who left to join King & Spalding’s special matters and government investigations team in London this February.

In a statement, BCLP said: “We thank Mohammed for his hard work, and wish him all the best for the future.”