King & Spalding has announced the expansion in Washington, DC of its international arbitration practice with the planned arrival early this year of consultant Margrete Stevens, former acting lead counsel of the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Ms. Stevens brings to the firm's Washington office the new capability of investment-treaty arbitration, which rounds out the firm's existing international arbitration practice in Atlanta, Houston, London and New York.
Ms. Stevens managed ICSID's 25-member legal and support staff and supervised its rapidly expanding caseload. The work of the Centre involves screening and registration of new requests, appointment of tribunals, case administration and rendering of decisions and awards. In addition, Stevens advised the ICSID Secretary-General on procedural challenges and other issues.
Subject to partnership approval this month, King & Spalding intends to establish an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to respond to growing client demand in the areas of Islamic finance, energy, real estate, private equity and international arbitration in the Middle East and North Africa. Details are being finalized.
Robert D. Hays, chairman of King & Spalding, said 'Many of our lawyers have been handling client matters in the Arabian Gulf region for over 20 years, and with the explosive growth in investment within the region and the vibrant regional business hub that has developed there, we believe the timing is right for King & Spalding to have a significant presence in the region. In addition, the firm's Middle East office will provide a gateway to other rapidly expanding business regions of the world, in particular India and the Far East.'
The plan calls for Partner Philip Weems, the leader of King & Spalding's energy practice in the Houston office, to lead the effort in Dubai. Mr. Weems has extensive experience working in the Middle East and lived in Asia for more than 10 years. Jawad Ali, a partner in the firm's Islamic finance and investment practice in the London office, would also relocate to Dubai. Mr. Ali has lived and practiced in the Gulf region and has an active practice currently focusing on Middle Eastern clients. Isam Salah, the head of the firm's Islamic finance and investment practice, will be splitting his time between the firm's offices in New York and Dubai.