Jonathan Sutcliffe joins the Am Law 100 firm after nearly five years at Baker Botts. Amid some uncertainty for other global firms operating in the Middle East, K&L Gates maintains a robust presence in the region, with over a dozen lawyers in both its Dubai and Doha, Qatar, offices.
Sutcliffe has been based in Dubai for eight years after previously working in London, Houston and New York. He came to Baker Botts as part of a team of 14 lawyers who departed Norton Rose Fulbright in 2014.
“K&L Gates has an impressive reputation across a number of key sectors where I am also focused,” he said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with the existing team and contributing to the growth of both the Dubai office and the international arbitration and dispute resolution team. Joining their platform opens up a number of exciting business opportunities for me.”
Sutcliffe’s practice focuses on international arbitration, dispute resolution, and litigation in the energy, construction and infrastructure industries among others.
“Jonathan’s substantial breadth and depth of experience as both an advocate and arbitrator in dispute resolution and international arbitration, including appearances before all the major international and regional arbitration centers as well as the DIFC [Dubai International Financial Centre] courts, adds immediate strength and capacity to our team locally and globally,” Neal Brendel, administrative partner and head of disputes for K&L Gates’ Dubai office, said in a statement.
Sutcliffe’s arrival comes amid a growth spurt in the firm’s international arbitration, litigation and dispute resolution practices since the start of 2018. In the first week of January, the firm added a three-partner energy disputes team in London from Ince & Co. Later that month, the firm landed a construction disputes and arbitration partner in Milan. In March, five energy lawyers joined in Texas from Winstead, four of whom had previously spent time at K&L Gates and its Texas predecessor.
The firm has also made additions in Portland, Washington, D.C., and Chicago in this calendar year.
K&L Gates opened its Dubai office in 2009, relocating Brendel from Pittsburgh to lead the operation. Two years later, the firm followed with an office in Doha.
Several international firms have moved out of Qatar in recent years, with Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills exiting in 2017. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan bucked the trend in November, announcing plans to open up its own outpost there.
Dubai has proven more stable. Norton Rose earlier this year shuttered its Abu Dhabi office and moved attorneys and some staff to Dubai, and in December, alternative legal service provider Lawyers On Demand opened its own Dubai office.