Already present in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, SRDB Law Firm is continuing its strategic expansion in the countries of the Gulf and Middle East with the opening of a new office in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. The office will be led by a highly experienced duo of lawyers, Chafic Nehmé and Karl Khoury.

The UAE is pursuing its goal of becoming a leading regional and international financial center and new laws are being introduced to comply with international standards and requirements. The country is also striving to become a regional digital and technology hub and has implemented a number of new regulations to improve its infrastructure and legal technology framework to compete at the international level. Furthermore, clients are increasingly concerned about the implementation of ESG principles, particularly in startups, investment vehicles and venture capital industries.

“We believe it is vital to strengthen our position locally in the Middle East and Gulf countries on a permanent basis, by establishing a direct foothold there rather than relying on a local law firm. With a legal team well vested in Arabic culture and with both French and English-speaking academic and professional qualifications, SRDB will be well positioned to deliver tailored, hands-on legal services to its clients,” explains Georges Sioufi, Partner and Co-Founder of SRDB Law Firm. “We also intend to offer our Emirati clients and investors who wish to develop their business in Africa to take advantage of our presence in that continent,” he adds.

The UAE office will focus on the following areas:

  • Corporate law: creation and structuring of corporate groups
  • Contract law
  • Advice on estate planning, private wealth and family governance
  • Advice on energy matters, in particular renewables
  • Startup and venture capital financing
  • Litigation
  • Intellectual property law

Chafic Nehmé started his legal career in 1985 in Beirut working mainly in banking, financial, corporate, commercial/civil law and litigation. Chafic has acquired extensive experience in telecommunications, real estate, property and hospitality, Islamic Shari’a and Arab countries’ laws, incorporations, joint ventures, company secretarial and administration services, establishment of branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in cross-border transactions and agency and distributorships.

As for litigation and arbitration, Chafic covers a diverse range of disputes, including disputes in specialized business areas, such as contracting, banking, transportation, intellectual property and assets recovery.

In 2020, Chafic joins the international network of SRDB Law Firm in order to be particularly in charge of the Middle East and Gulf countries.

“The captivating combination of a thriving business boom, remarkable social and cultural developments, and a spirit of renewal sweeping across the UAE, KSA and other GCC countries inspired us at SRDB to establish an office in Abu Dhabi, where we can contribute to the dynamic legal landscape and actively participate in shaping the future of this region at the forefront of global innovation and progress.” – comments Chafic.

Karl Khoury is an attorney registered at the Beirut Bar since 2015. He mainly works on financing transactions and corporate governance. His practice covers a wide variety of transactions, including private acquisitions, venture capital financing and joint ventures.

During his career in Beirut and the United Arab Emirates, which he joined in 2020, Karl has supported his clients on financing transactions, joint ventures and partnerships, particularly in the retail, luxury, technology, catering, transport and logistics industries. He also advises companies on complex governance issues. Its clientele is varied, consisting in particular of family businesses, investment funds, and startups.

Karl becomes a partner of SRDB in 2022 and heads the branch in the United Arab Emirates.

“When Georges Sioufi offered me to head SRDB UAE, I immediately accepted seeing it as an opportunity to offer the skills of a network such as SRDB to support the Emirati business leaders.” – adds Karl.