Two established UAE law firms merge to plug the gap between SMEs and start-ups while providing businesses with customised services to address legal issues
Dubai, 22 February 2021 – Saleh Alobeidli & Co and International Consultant Law Office (ICLO), two regionally recognised law firms based in the United Arab Emirates today announced the completion of their merger, providing a stronger footprint for businesses in the UAE.
The combined forward-thinking firm will continue doing business under the ICLO name with the aim to bring clients a combination of enhanced capacity and experience, built on long-standing records of successful wins and ethical representation of clients across various industries. More importantly, ICLO will guide individuals and organisations constructively through complex law issues.
ICLO will offer support to local and international clients in arbitration, litigation, corporate & commercial law, real estate & development, mergers & acquisitions, and investment & tax. With a combination of local expertise and global practice, the partners will support clients across various industries with innovative and informed solutions, placing the firm on the global map.
Commenting on the new establishment, Saleh Ahmed Obeidli, Partner and Head of Sports, Media & Entertainment at ICLO, said: “I am extremely pleased to join forces with the talented professionals Ghanem Al Hajeri and Hassan Saeed Abaragh. Having known them and their work ethics, it was an obvious choice to join forces to expand and strengthen our offerings to our valued clientele. Our edge is that we are a modern law practice who pride ourselves in providing excellent legal advice, even across emerging verticals like AI & Robotics, and delivering through a personalised approach keeping the best interest of clients in mind.”
With the increased use of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation in the workplace, ICLO will be the first firm in the region to assist clients in adapting to the compliance systems and preparing for the legislative and regulatory obstacles in this unique and rapidly evolving industry.
The law firm is also launching its Start-Ups & SMEs Practice in support of UAE’s position as a global centre for entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer, and innovation. Headed by Biancka Gracias, the team will address a wide range of legal issues faced by start-ups and SME’s in the region. Matters including forming the appropriate entity to protect intellectual property, business from personal injury lawsuits, advice on investor relations, and assistance on day-to-day operations of the business will also be a part of the package.
According to recent data by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, the SMEs sector represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country and provide jobs for more than 86 per cent of the private sector’s workforce. In Dubai alone, SMEs make up nearly 95 per cent of all companies, employing 42 per cent of the workforce and contributing around 40 per cent to Dubai’s GDP.
Biancka Gracias, Partner and Head of Start-ups & SMEs at ICLO, commented: “The UAE has several regulations in place for smooth and fair conducting of businesses, and every entrepreneur needs to abide the law in terms of formation, practice and application. I am thrilled to join this team of extremely talented law professionals and to deliver exceptional value to our clients.”
ICLO’s legal operations will also provide specialised services in sports-related disputes supported by co-founder Saleh Ahmed Alobeidli a UAE National, highly regarded arbitration and sports lawyer. Alobeidli is licensed to appear before all courts, including the High Court and sports dispute resolution bodies. He currently heads the Sports practice at ICLO, with offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Alobeidli has served as a member of the Executive Committee at Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre (TAKHEEM) from 2015, is a regularly appointed Arbitrator at Court of Arbitration for Sports, Lausanne (CAS). In 2017, the UAE Ministry of Finance also appointed him as an Arbitrator at the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, Washington (ICSID) where he still serves to date.
Founding partner and Head of Litigation Ghanem Al Hajeri, a UAE National, has 10 years of experience in the public sector as a legal advisor of different entities, including the Abu Dhabi Commercial Conciliation & Arbitration Center of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.
Managing partner and Head of Arbitration, AI, Robotics & Blockchain Hassan Saeed Abaragh has over 20 years of experience in international business law and dispute resolution in France, Japan, and the GCC countries. He sits as an arbitrator and appears as counsel and co-counsel in local, regional, and international arbitrations.
Biancka Gracias has more than 18 years of experience in the corporate/commercial legal sector with core expertise to counsel start-ups in all stages of development and to help them overcome their legal challenges in the country of operation. She has been an active member of various start-up hubs in the region, such as Dubai Development Authority, Founders Institute (Dubai Chapter), Sheraa, startAD (the global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by its partner Tamkeen), Khalifa Fund, Dubai Computer Group, Faster Capital, TiE Dubai and in5 to provide weekly legal advisory sessions to members.
ICLO also boasts a team of highly specialised international arbitration lawyers qualified in multiple jurisdictions with experience across a wide range of dispute resolution industry sectors.
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