Eversheds Sutherland took home the award for International Law Firm of the Year at the Middle East Legal Awards 2019, where law firms battled it out to be recognised for their success in the region.

In the ceremony in Dubai on April 18, Eversheds beat DLA Piper to what would have been its third consecutive win, with judges praising Eversheds’ holistic approach to growth in the Middle East.

DLA Piper picked up two awards on the night for Litigation Team of the Year, for its advice to a telecommunications company on enforcing a financial award in Saudi Arabia, and TMT Team of the Year for pushing through the biggest-ever sports rights and sponsorship deal in the region for the Saudi Telecom Company.

Baker McKenzie won two prizes on the night. It was awarded Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year for its advice on the construction of the DEWA solar plant in Dubai, and Corporate Team of the Year for the advice it gave to Alawwal Bank regarding its $5 billion merger with Saudi British Bank.

Jointly hosted by Legal Week and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle East Chapter, the awards event took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai and was attended by nearly 400 lawyers.

Regional firm Al Tamimi & Company took home the award for Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year for its advice on the $32 billion Barakah nuclear power station, the first nuclear plant in the UAE, while Al Tamimi senior associate Sara Koleilat-Aranjo was named the Rising Star for Private Practice.

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre general counsel Kiran Scarr was named General Counsel of the Year for a Large Team, for her business acumen and strategic decision-making, while Justin Dowding, GC at ecommerce company noon.com, was crowned General Counsel of the Year for a Small Team, for driving exceptional growth at the startup.

Unilever was named Deal Team of the Year (Large Team), for providing in-house legal advice on the initial planning phase and steering of the company’s new AED1 billion factory in Dubai, amid the Qatar diplomatic crisis.

The winner of Legal Department of the Year (Small Team) was Flash Entertainment, for demonstrating impressive client service, innovation and development. Global consulting and professional services company Accenture’s Middle East arm picked up the award for Legal Department of the Year (Large Team), for its ongoing advice on Expo2020 Dubai.

Judges praised CSR Initiative of the Year winner Dentons for offering legal assistance to refugees fleeing civil wars in Syria and Iraq, including giving pro bono advice to an organisation aimed at helping Syrian women and girls pick up new skills. Dentons also picked up the prize for Banking & Finance Team of the Year.