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Finalists: Erica Crosland, Eversheds Sutherland; Karen Kilgallen, KBH Kaanuun; Macky O’Sullivan, King & Spalding (Highly Commended).

Hadef & Partners’ Rachael Ashley was named Associate Solicitor of the Year in recognition of her efforts to help grow the firm’s commercial practice and raise its profile in both the UAE and global markets.

Ashley, who has been an associate in the firm’s commercial team for almost five years, has strong leadership potential, frequently taking the lead on client projects and involving herself in various business development initiatives (including working on a firm-wide client relationship programme).

Her understanding of clients’ needs means she has been applauded for her commercial approach to legal advice, not just providing textbook responses. And she frequently goes above and beyond her duties as an associate by recognising the need to add value, such as contributing to publications, internal policies and documents that seek to enhance the firm’s brand (including penning articles in external publications, which resulted in direct approaches from potential clients).

Victoria Woods, a partner and head of Hadef’s commercial practice group, said Ashley has commendable technical ability and enthusiasm, but it is her unsung contribution to business growth, her sense of ownership and ambition, and her drive to achieve the best outcome for clients, that makes her a highly valued member of the team and wider firm.


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