Leading global law firm, Baker McKenzie, has announced the relocation of leading funds partner, James Burdett, from London to Abu Dhabi. This strategic move underscores the firm's commitment to further expanding and strengthening its transactional practice group within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. James has long had a significant practice base in the region and the move will play a pivotal role in strengthening our offering to clients across the region on a range of complex investment fund and private equity transactions.

David Allen, co-Head of Baker McKenzie's EMEA Corporate practice, commented" "James' relocation to the Middle East reflects the sharp uptick that we have seen in private capital activity in the UAE and throughout the region and the increase in fundraising from or focussed on the region. James has an excellent global overview of private capital fundraising coupled with deep knowledge of the unique set of challenges and opportunities which the region presents."

James has been heading London's Investment Funds Group for 19 years, and is ranked Band 1 in Investment Funds: Investor Representation by Chambers & Partners. His practice covers a broad range of institutional funds and investment structures covering a number of sectors including, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, environmental markets and energy transition. He also has extensive experience in representing sovereign wealth funds and other financial institutions on complex investment and asset-holding structures.

Osama Audi, the Abu Dhabi-based Head of Baker McKenzie's UAE Corporate practice, Audi, commented: "Our firm recognizes the importance of having a full service investment funds and private equity offering in the backyard of many of our key clients in both Abu Dhabi and the wider region. James has been an integral member of our client teams supporting our key sovereign wealth fund, private equity and institutional investor clients not just in Abu Dhabi but across the region. The very positive feedback we have had from clients to James' move has been heartening."

Commenting on his move, James Burdett added: "In recent years we've seen increasing activity in the region amongst our institutional and sponsor clients, alongside a growing appetite for expanding their investment remit globally, and into ever-more complex deals. I am excited to be joining a phenomenal team in UAE and the broader MENA region as we seek to further lever the firm's strengths in investment funds and complex transactional structuring for the benefit of our clients."

James joins the UAE team effective from Monday 1 April 2024, and will be based in the firm’s Abu Dhabi office.

James' relocation follows a number of recent lateral appointments and promotions in the MENA region, including Khaled Zowayed (Real Estate, Bahrain) and Sahal Khalawi (Regulatory and Public Policy. KSA), Adil Hussain (Baking and Finance, UAE) and the promotions of Keri Watkins (Real Estate, UAE,), Stephanie Samuell (Mergers & Acquisitions, KSA) and Marcos Spanos (Mergers & Acquisitions, KSA).

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