Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has announced that Robin Abraham has been elected regional managing partner for the Middle East by a vote of his fellow partners in the region.

Abraham, who has been a partner since 2005, will begin his four-year term on May 1 of this year. Current regional managing partner, Graham Lovett, will continue in his capacity as Clifford Chance’s head of litigation and dispute resolution for the Middle East following the completion of his second and final term on April 30.

Abraham is a leading banking and finance lawyer in Middle East having being based in Dubai since 2004. His areas of practice include project finance, restructuring, Islamic finance and secured and unsecured lending. Abraham has helped build the region’s most recognised and awarded banking and finance practice and has led many of the region’s high-profile financings including acting on various restructurings for Dubai entities and advising on multi-billion-dollar conventional and Islamic facilities across various sectors in the Middle East and Africa.

He will continue to be fully involved in client work.

Abraham joined Clifford Chance in 1995 and spent nine years in the firm’s London office with a short secondment in Amsterdam. He will remain on the firm’s global finance practice leadership group, but will step down from his positions on the firm’s partnership council and audit committee.

‘I am excited to be taking on the role of regional managing partner for the Middle East. It is an honour to be elected. My experience in the region and roles on Clifford Chance’s partnership council and audit committee have given me great exposure to the global pressures our clients in the region are facing.

‘We have a strong on-the-ground team of over 120 lawyers and a solid commitment to the Middle East and I am looking forward to working with my fellow partners and the management team on our growth strategy for the region.’

Following Clifford Chance protocol, Lovett is required to step down after serving two consecutive terms as regional managing partner. Considered as one of the most highly regarded disputes lawyers in the region he will continue, alongside James Abbott, to grow the firm’s dispute resolution practice in the Middle East.

As a senior partner of the firm he will also have a particular focus on client relationship development and will remain relationship partner for some of the firm’s most established client relationships.

‘In his eight years as regional managing partner for the Middle East, Graham has overseen the growth of our Middle East presence from one office in Dubai to four offices with the addition of Abu Dhabi, Doha and most recently Riyadh. We thank him for his immense contribution and leadership,’ said Abraham.

Lovett remarked: ‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my terms as regional managing partner and thank our clients and the Clifford Chance Middle East team for all their support over the past few years. I’m looking forward to this next phase in my career which allows me to continue growing our market leading dispute resolution practice as well as supporting Robin in his new role.’

Clifford Chance has in the past three years launched offices in Riyadh, Doha, Casablanca and Istanbul as it continues to serve clients across the Middle East and North Africa. It became the first international law firm to launch a joint Saudi and foreign owned law firm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.