Keystone Law Middle East (KLME) is delighted to announce the arrival of five new partners, demonstrating the growing interest in the Keystone model across the Middle East. The new partner appointments are:

Ayman AlKhalidi – Dispute Resolution

Ayman specialises in dispute resolution, investigations, and cross-border litigations. He has over 10 years’ experience in corporate and commercial disputes acting for and against international, regional and local clients.

Khaled Shivji – Technology & Telecommunications

Khaled started his career in internet engineering. He was a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and won the IET’s global prize for his research on internet music piracy and IP infringement. As a lawyer, Khaled leads large scale transactions in the technology and telecoms sectors involving 5G, AI, Big Data, cloud computing, fibre, FinTech, legal technology, mobility and software as a service. Khaled’s masters thesis was in the field of anti-bribery programmes and regulatory compliance.

Ziyad Hadi – Corporate & Commercial

Ziyad has over 14 years’ experience in the Middle East. He advises clients on all aspects of corporate and commercial legal matters with a particular focus on regional M&A. Ziyad advises clients both in the relation to transactions within the UAE and also on cross-border transactions. He has advised on transactions involving target companies in an array of jurisdictions acting for both buyers and sellers.

Naila Sarwar – Employment

Naila advises clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters across the Middle East. She has extensive experience advising domestic and international clients on major areas of labour/employment laws including employment contracts and policy documentation, discrimination and equal opportunity, employee relations, restructuring and redundancy, workplace investigations and terminations.

Rahul Goswami – Energy, Infrastructure and Projects

Rahul’s practice focuses on infrastructure, power and utilities including renewables, private public partnership and transportation projects. He has advised project developers, lenders, government entities and contractors on some of the well-known utility, petrochemical, metro and airport projects in the Middle East region. Having worked in the Middle East for over 13 years, Rahul has a wealth of experience especially in Saudi Arabia and is ranked in Chambers Global, Legal 500 and IFLR 1000. He also has an active interest in various project related disputes, arbitration, telecoms & technology and aviation matters.

To further strengthen our offering, KLME will be working closely with senior lawyers from Keystone Law’s UK platform particularly those who have substantial experience and expertise advising businesses doing business across the Middle East, which includes:

  • Highly regarded commercial lawyer Mark Beer OBE who has considerable cross-border experience. He was the former Chief Executive, Registrar and Small Claims Tribunal Judge at the DIFC Courts and Chief Executive of the Dispute Resolution Authority;
  • Melissa Quai Currie – Melissa is an international disputes lawyer and expert in dealing with emerging markets disputes. She has worked in Dubai, London, Moscow and Perth and is experienced in resolving complex, cross-border disputes. Melissa practices in international arbitration and commercial litigation and has acted in substantial Middle Eastern disputes. She is English qualified and most of the disputes she handles involve multiple proceedings in different jurisdictions. She acts for clients across the globe and across a wide range of industries.
  • Fara Mohammad – a specialist adviser to international companies and individuals on their inward investments into the MEA, UK/Europe and Asia. Fara specialises in Shariah-compliant matters. She is an expert in many types of Shariah-compliant transactions covering a range of asset types, investment classes and industry sectors. She also has extensive experience in Islamic finance.
  • Muzaffar Shah – a leading advisor on data privacy and information governance, as well as commercial transactions. Muzaffar has worked on many international data-related projects, including large-scale compliance programmes, data breaches, engagement with data protection regulators, contentious data subject rights issues, international data flows, innovative uses of data and the introduction of new technologies; and
  • Stephen Roddan experienced corporate and commercial lawyer with a wide range of expertise across a number of jurisdictions. He has experience of advising borrowers on tax- and VAT-efficient offshore structures that hold UK-based real estate assets and expertise in advising lenders in relation to the financing of such offshore structures.

KLME, a new model for providing legal services, entered the UAE legal market, with its official launch in the Abu Dhabi Global Markets in July 2020. The Keystone model allows senior lawyers to enjoy unparalleled freedom, flexibility and autonomy to manage their affairs and client base on a standalone, “self-employed” style basis, free of internal office politics but with the credibility and backing of a top 100 UK listed law firm and support network. The technology and unique structure enable lawyers to operate from wherever practicable.

KLME’s COO, Saleem Khokhar said: “The Middle East has a vibrant and diverse legal market, which is now prime for Keystone’s unique model offering independence and flexibility to experienced lawyers. We are currently in advanced discussions to recruit a number of excellent international lawyers to the firm following a high-level of interest across the region.”.

The firm has plans to open a second office in the UAE, in Dubai, and one in Riyadh.

The firm will operate substantially the same business model as Keystone Law in the UK who was named ‘Law Firm of the Year 2020’ by The Lawyer. UK-based Keystone Law pioneered the model 12 years ago and has grown in size to over 400 lawyers, now offering services across 23 practice areas. Both the firm’s expertise and that of its individual practitioners are recognised by Chambers and the Legal 500.