Who won what – and why – at the Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards 2016

The Middle East legal community was out in force to celebrate the achievements of the region’s top lawyers at the Corporate Counsel Middle East Awards.

The fifth annual awards, which were jointly hosted by Legal Week and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle East Chapter, attracted nearly 400 guests from a mixture of leading international and Middle East law firms and in-house legal departments.

Among the winning law firms were Clifford Chance (CC), which was named International Law Firm of the Year, and Hadef & Partners, which won Middle East Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice.

The judges praised CC for its “graduate training scheme, pro-bono work, as well as the high quality of its deals”. Hadef, meanwhile, was singled out for its “enviable reputation”.

The award for Middle East Law firm of the Year – Small Practice went to Dubai firm KBH Kaanuun.

The evening was hosted by TV presenter Shereen Mitwalli (pictured), the founder and chief executive of The Female Network, which provides a forum for female businesswomen in the Middle East.

The top individual award went to PepsiCo’s regional general counsel, Dean Sheehan, who oversees a 20-lawyer legal team and is implementing a strategic plan to improve career opportunities and efficiency, as well as further growing the department’s standing as a trusted adviser.

“He has the precious skill that separates the best from the rest – he quickly finds solutions acceptable to all parties,” noted one senior colleague.

Other winners in the in-house section included the Dubai government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, which won the Legal Department of the Year – Large Team category; and The First Investor, which won the Small Team award.

He has the precious skill that separates the best from the rest – he quickly finds solutions acceptable to all parties

The evening culminated in the announcement of the ACC Middle East Achievement Award, which went to Doha-based Al Ansari & Associates for its pro bono programme.

The judging panel for the awards was chaired by ACC Middle East president Elias Hayek, vice-president, legal, of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Judges included Cherine Ghali, general counsel of Dubai Group; Harold Koster, director of the University of Dubai’s College of Law; and Duncan Wood, senior legal officer in the government of Dubai’s Legal Affairs Department.

Hayek said: “The intensity of the competition was reflected by the comments of the judges, who were impressed by the high quality of the entries and in some cases found it almost impossible to single out a winner.”

Click on the links below to for full details on the winning entries:

Association of Corporate Counsel Middle East Achievement Award
Al Ansari & Associates

General Counsel of the Year
Highly commended: Ayman Hamdy, Emaar Properties
Winner: Dean Sheehan, PepsiCo

Legal Department of the Year – Large Team
Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai

Legal Department of the Year – Small Team
The First Investor

In-house Innovation Award
The Academy of Law

Legal Counsel of the Year
Highly commended: David Johnson, First Gulf Bank
Winner: Nicola Packer, Flash Entertainment

International Law Firm of the Year
Clifford Chance

Middle East Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice
Hadef & Partners

Middle East Law Firm of the Year – Small Practice
KBH Kaanuun

Banking and Finance Team of the Year
Allen & Overy

Construction Team of the Year
Allen & Overy

Dispute Resolution Team of the Year
Clyde & Co

CSR Team of the Year
Dentons

TMT Team of the Year
Dentons

Real Estate Team of the Year
Trowers & Hamlins

Employment Team of the Year
Al Tamimi & Company

Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year
Baker & McKenzie