I was placed on secondment to the Dubai office for three months from January this year. My main role was to assist with corporate transactional work and, despite gaining a slight tan during my time there, life definitely did not revolve around the beach!
The Dubai office boasts a team smaller than the UK offices, and therefore as a seconded trainee, you are one of a few junior fee earners. This enables you to get involved with all aspects of work and offers numerous opportunities to take on high levels of responsibility on various transactions with regard to meeting clients and progressing matters. The office is busy meeting the constant requirements of global clients working across a variety of time zones.
The particular focus of the team is towards mergers and acquisitions, private equity, mixed use property development, joint ventures and complex hotel development transactions. However, the team offers a multitude of other client services including construction, dispute resolution, employment and real estate. Although my training was mainly focused on corporate work, I gained experience of a breadth of real estate, employment and commercial transactions using a combination of English law as well as federal and state law in the United Arab Emirates.
A heavy expatriate market allows countless opportunities for networking across numerous markets that require legal services. There are many inter-professional events hosted by The British Business Group which organises trade missions, lectures and social functions across a range of sectors which the team is encouraged to attend.
Working abroad as a trainee did not come without its challenges. However, the experience of the Dubai team in understanding local laws, customs and conducting international business means that there is plenty of support and assistance along the way.
Dubai offers a vibrant, fast paced working environment which is currently thriving on the magnitude of construction and property development and my secondment provided a great opportunity to experience corporate legal work in an international legal market and on a global scale.