Lawyer Profile Nathalia Elhage
Prior to embarking on my legal career I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the Middle East as an English Qualified Lawyer given my western academic background and Arabic roots. So, as you can imagine, I was delighted once I found out the firm was launching a split London/Middle East Training Contract and that I was trailblazing this exciting new programme as part of the first intake!
During my first seat, I was based in the Doha office within the Projects and Corporate departments. I was involved in a large range of transactions including advising a construction client on contracts in respect of multi-million dollar desalination plants and advising an international hotel chain on a variety of commercial agreements. The level of responsibility I was exposed to allowed me to really engage with the work I was involved in and the senior members of the team were always willing to share their insight whenever things got slightly hectic.
Being part of the London/Middle East Training Contract gave me the unique opportunity of working in three jurisdictions. After my seat in Doha, I moved to London where I did seats in Intellectual Property and Banking. After a year in London, I moved to Dubai for my final seat in Corporate.
Splitting my seat rotations between various jurisdictions has genuinely bolstered my understanding of the diverse range of commercial drivers, risks and challenges which our international client base is exposed to. Developing an appreciation of these dynamics bodes exceptionally well with the increasingly cross-border and international nature of the disputes and transactions the firm advises on, so I’m certainly glad to have had that sort of valuable exposure.
Being able to qualify into the Dubai office was one of the things that attracted me most to the London/Middle East Training Contract. I qualified in to the Corporate department in Dubai a year ago and it has been a continuously engaging and exhilarating. Although I am based in Dubai, I work on transactions and matters all over the world and with colleagues from many of our UK and international offices. Looking back at my training contract and my first year post-qualification I can say I’ve worked on some ambitious and exciting projects which I’m able to physically look at further down the line and witness the tangible effect of the work I have contributed to. Who knows what the next deal or case will hold for me. One thing is certain, my training contract was certainly one to remember and my time post-qualification has not failed to impress.