HFW has poached two partners from Reed Smith, including the firm’s Middle East head, as it launches an office in Abu Dhabi.

Reed Smith Middle East managing partner Vince Gordon has left the firm’s Abu Dhabi office alongside corporate partner Tania De Swart, who together will help HFW extend its Middle East spread with the new office. The two will work alongside the firm’s Dubai office head Richard Gimblett.

Gordon had led Reed Smith’s Middle East operations since 2013. Previously he was head of its Abu Dhabi base, and also led its Middle East business and finance practice.

With the new office, HFW now has five bases across the Middle East, adding to its existing local firm partnerships in Dubai, Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait.

In addition to its Middle East offices, HFW’s international expansion drive in recent years has seen the firm forge alliances in Shanghai, Indonesia and Brazil.

“Our strategy is to be the world’s leading law firm to the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping sectors,” said HFW managing partner Richard Crump. “The Middle East is critically important to all of our industry groups and is also establishing itself as a key hub for international dispute resolution. It is one of the fastest-growing parts of our business globally.”

Reed Smith European and Middle East managing partner Tamara Box confirmed that Gordon and De Swart are leaving the firm. “We wish them all the best in their new roles. We will shortly be announcing further transformative additions to our Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, as part of our strategic and continued investment into the Middle East,“ she said.

Earlier this year, Reed Smith hired a duo of partners from Pinsent Masons in the Middle East, including its regional head Sachin Kerur. Those hires followed the departures of three Dubai-based construction disputes lawyers, including construction partner Paul Taylor, who left for Eversheds Sutherland in January.