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Finalists: Deutsche Bank; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Group; Kuehne & Nagel Management MEA; Microsoft Gulf (Highly Commended); National Central Cooling Company; noon; Seddiqi Holding; Trust International Insurance and Reinsurance Company.

Building technology-services provider Johnson Controls Middle East & Africa was named the Small Legal Department of the Year for its efforts to empower business colleagues to handle more routine tasks to free it up for more value-added legal work.

With a team of just two (a legal director and paralegal), the MEA legal department has introduced standardised docs and playbooks tailored for local markets as a means for regional employees to self review contracts. This has meant developing ongoing training programmes and introducing a contract checklist so that employees can understand contract terms and flag up any potential risks.

The legal department has also played a vital role in a number of Johnson Controls M&A deals that impact the region, such as the acquisition of Air Distribution, and a merger with Tyco. The latter has involved integrating new business lines, such as Tyco’s fire and security contracting business, into new territories (Egypt, Kuwait and Bahrain).

The department has also overseen a joint venture with Hitachi in the MEA region, helping revamp its distribution model.

“The legal team has been a remarkable partner in the growth of the business by efficiently supporting business development across a wide range of operations,” said a judge.


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