From Leeds to Dubai

In the second of our installments highlighting the opportunities to work overseas at Pinsent Masons, Mehdi Ali a third seat trainee tells us about his experience of moving from Leeds to Dubai for a six-month seat in our Middle East office.

One of the main reasons I chose to apply to Pinsent Masons was their global reach and ambitious plans for continued international growth.  A major benefit for working for Pinsent Masons is that the Firm’s trainees are given the opportunity to experience this first-hand by undertaking a six-month secondment in the Firm’s Dubai office.  For me, the chance to join one of these far away outposts and experience working and living in a foreign land was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Now rather than regurgitating the generic slogans which are used by most law firms to sell their international capabilities I thought it would be more useful to let you know about my experiences over the last five months.  No surprise to hear that they have all been positive so far!

I am currently in the Projects & Construction disputes team and have been fortunate to sit with a number of talented individuals from all corners of the globe including Australia, the United States, Lebanon and the Netherlands.  The bulk of the disputes team’s work is related to International Arbitrations, nevertheless the nature of the office has ensured that I have also been exposed to a variety of other matters.  The office work load has also ensured that the work I have received has been very challenging and I have been given a great deal more responsibility than I would have had otherwise in a more established office.

The Dubai office is currently the Firm’s only outpost in the Middle East however the strategic location and reputation of Dubai allows the team to be involved in deals which are taking place across the region.  Recently I have been involved in matters in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.  The fact that the office is relatively new in the region also ensures that everyone has the opportunity to get involved in and network with current and potential clients at the various breakfast seminars held by the office and other industry conferences.

“What about life in Dubai?” I here you ask.  Well it’s not all work, regardless of what others may tell you.  Dubai has a global reputation for many things (both good and bad).  More generally there seems to be an obsession in the Middle East to have the biggest everything; Dubai is home to the World’s tallest tower, biggest mall, biggest fountain show … and the list goes on…  But beyond this brash and vulgar display of wealth and prosperity Dubai has lots to offer its residents.     Whether it is the cafe or the nightclub, the souk or the shopping mall, the beach or the park, desert dune bashing or skiing, Dubai has it all.  And if the man-made city does not appeal then you are never too far from the natural beauty of the northern Emirates.

George is one of the Associates I sit with in the Projects & Construction team and when I asked him to summarise the city in one word last night his response was “Contrast”.  I thought about this for a while and couldn’t think of anything closer to the truth!

If you would like to know any more about my time in the Middle East feel free to contact me.