HFW hires James Harbridge as dispute business grows

James’ arrival follows the hire of Dentons disputes partner Beau McLaren

Global law firm HFW continues to grow its disputes practice in the region with this week’s appointment of former Trowers & Hamlins disputes expert James Harbridge.

At Trowers & Hamlins, Harbridge led the international dispute resolution and litigation department and has previously spent over 15 years working in Oman, including almost seven years as a partner at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle. Harbridge has significant experience acting for multinational and Middle Eastern clients in a wide range of high-value and complex disputes, with particular expertise in construction arbitration and the Oman market, said HFW in a statement.

“James is ranked as a leading disputes lawyer by legal directories Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. Chambers says that clients hold James ‘in high regard’ and describe him as ‘a great advocate’,” said the firm.

HFW added Harbridge joins following the hiring of Dubai-based disputes partner Beau McLaren from Dentons and senior associate Jane Miles in 2017 to head the firm’s Middle East construction practice.

HFW also promoted two new partners in Dubai in 2018: aerospace specialist Charles Cockrell and litigation expert Sara Sheffield and now has 17 partners and more than 50 lawyers – including 28 Arabic speakers – in four offices across the Middle East. This makes it, claims HFW, one of the largest practices of any international law firm in the region.

HFW has been in Dubai for over 12 years and also has offices in Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait City. It is one of only two international law firms with a presence in Kuwait. The firm said it is also currently expanding its Dubai office, increasing its total floor space by 40%, to accommodate its continued growth.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome such an experienced and highly-regarded partner to the firm. James’ arrival represents another significant boost to our fast-growing Middle East practice,” said Richard Gimblett, office head, Dubai. “His specialist expertise in construction arbitration and in the Omani market will prove hugely valuable to our clients throughout the region.”

“It is a great honour for me to join the HFW team,” added Harbridge. “I was immediately attracted to the firm’s client-centric ‘can do’ philosophy. Law is all about doing the very best for others in a manner which is most efficient in terms of time and cost. HFW clearly shares my desire to give perfection and a gold standard service.”

The move comes amid a period of sustained international expansion for the firm. Harbridge is the seventh partner to join HFW so far in 2018, following hires in Singapore, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and London. The firm also recently entered into a cooperation arrangement with a Brazilian law firm – HFW’s seventh international merger or association since January 2016.


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