The Middle East legal community was out in force to celebrate the achievements of the region’s top lawyers at the Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards.
The fifth annual awards, which were jointly hosted by Legal Week and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle East Chapter, attracted nearly 400 guests from a mixture of leading international and Middle East law firms and in-house legal departments.
Among the winning law firms were Clifford Chance (CC), which was named International Law Firm of the Year, and Hadef & Partners, which won Middle East Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice.
The judges praised CC for its “graduate training scheme, pro-bono work, as well as the high quality of its deals”. Hadef, meanwhile, was singled out for its “enviable reputation”.
The award for Middle East Law firm of the Year – Small Practice went to Dubai firm KBH Kaanuun.
The evening was hosted by TV presenter Shereen Mitwalli (pictured), the founder and chief executive of The Female Network, which provides a forum for female businesswomen in the Middle East.
The top individual award went to PepsiCo’s regional general counsel, Dean Sheehan, who oversees a 20-lawyer legal team and is implementing a strategic plan to improve career opportunities and efficiency, as well as further growing the department’s standing as a trusted adviser.
“He has the precious skill that separates the best from the rest – he quickly finds solutions acceptable to all parties,” noted one senior colleague.
Other winners in the in-house section included the Dubai government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, which won the Legal Department of the Year – Large Team category; and The First Investor, which won the Small Team award.
He has the precious skill that separates the best from the rest – he quickly finds solutions acceptable to all parties
The evening culminated in the announcement of the ACC Middle East Achievement Award, which went to Doha-based Al Ansari & Associates for its pro bono programme.
The judging panel for the awards was chaired by ACC Middle East president Elias Hayek, vice-president, legal, of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Judges included Cherine Ghali, general counsel of Dubai Group; Harold Koster, director of the University of Dubai’s College of Law; and Duncan Wood, senior legal officer in the government of Dubai’s Legal Affairs Department.
Hayek said: “The intensity of the competition was reflected by the comments of the judges, who were impressed by the high quality of the entries and in some cases found it almost impossible to single out a winner.”
Click on the links below to for full details on the winning entries:
Association of Corporate Counsel Middle East Achievement Award Al Ansari & Associates
General Counsel of the Year Highly commended: Ayman Hamdy, Emaar Properties Winner: Dean Sheehan, PepsiCo
Legal Department of the Year – Large Team Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai
Legal Department of the Year – Small Team The First Investor
In-house Innovation Award The Academy of Law
Legal Counsel of the Year Highly commended: David Johnson, First Gulf Bank Winner: Nicola Packer, Flash Entertainment
International Law Firm of the Year Clifford Chance
Middle East Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice Hadef & Partners
Banking and Finance Team of the Year Allen & Overy
Construction Team of the Year Allen & Overy
Dispute Resolution Team of the Year Clyde & Co
CSR Team of the Year Dentons
TMT Team of the Year Dentons
Real Estate Team of the Year Trowers & Hamlins
Employment Team of the Year Al Tamimi & Company
Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year Baker & McKenzie