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Greenberg Traurig’s Next Adaptation to Change: UAE Operations Begin with Strategic Additions in Dubai and License to Open

Top-ranked real estate and hospitality group first to be announced

NEW YORK – Sept. 5, 2023 – Following Greenberg Traurig, LLP's earlier announcement of its affiliation with the Khalid Al-Thebity Law Firm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the global law firm has now received its license to open in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Now with a total of eight shareholders, five of counsel, and five associates and trainees across the Kingdom and UAE, the firm marks this event by welcoming its latest additions of top-ranked UAE real estate and hospitality lawyers Stephen Kelly and Sarah Mahood to its UAE office, joining from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Highly regarded real estate lawyer Rebecca Comerford also joins the firm in Dubai as Of Counsel.

“We are proud to extend our regional reach by launching the firm’s UAE office with an existing and now enhanced core of empowered leaders, who join Khalid A. Al-Thebity and team already operating in the Kingdom. Khalid is our regional leader, and I am personally committed to being present and continuing to work closely with him and our other key shareholders as may be most helpful, warmly embracing them all as the newest members of our unified GT global family,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig. 

"Our vision is always long term, and we are honored to play a part in the regional growth and innovation phenomenon here that is simply unprecedented in both scope and magnitude, cutting across virtually all of our core strategic practices and industries, while becoming a key source of global investment," Rosenbaum continued. "All this, while staying true to the foundational pillars upon which we have sustained our success across America and around the world for over 50 years: trust, respect, collaboration, adaptation to change, empowerment of leaders on the ground, and a fair meritocracy that delivers consistent excellence in both service and substance, putting our clients and our people first."

"When considering our many options, we were drawn to the unique set of values, geographical locations, practices, industries, and especially the true sense of 'family,' which began with Richard and has extended across all of our many contacts with the lawyers and professional staff of Greenberg Traurig," said Al-Thebity, the firm's Middle East regional leader, who has continuously practiced in the Kingdom for over 25 years and has had a friendship with Rosenbaum and others in the firm for many years. "This is not about one more firm attempting to 'buy' market share with no clear strategy; the region and its needs fit well with Greenberg Traurig's long-term strategies and culture, and with the commitment and flexibility required. I have been working closely with Richard to most efficiently and effectively build our critical mass of like-minded and top-quality lawyers across these countries. We have received strong, welcoming and able assistance and support from firm leaders and business professionals throughout Greenberg Traurig - all of whom also have a real understanding of what we need to build and succeed here. This allows us to avoid the politics and bureaucracy common in market entry and operational efforts in so many traditional firms.” 

Rosenbaum and Al-Thebity note that Greenberg Traurig is planting key roots in the industries and business sectors most active in the region, including Real Estate, Infrastructure & Transportation, Energy & Natural Resources, Hospitality, Finance & Restructuring, M&A, Private Equity, Private Credit, Tax, Sports & Entertainment (including venue, talent, entertainment, licensing, and other needs), Capital Markets, Arbitrations & Disputes, Health Care, and Life Sciences. Working with Rosenbaum and Al-Thebity to facilitate Greenberg Traurig’s growth in these areas, in which the firm is already highly regarded globally, are key firm leaders from each of these sectors from around the globe.

Kelly and Mahood are highly prominent in the region’s real estate, development, and hospitality sectors, combining international expertise with a depth of regional experience. In addition, they have extensive expertise in advising regulators across the region with respect to real estate legislative frameworks and drafting laws, procedural guidance, and regulations for developing jurisdictions.

At their former firm, they led the group honored at the Chambers Middle East Awards 2022 as the “United Arab Emirates Real Estate Law Firm of the Year” and were recently named “Real Estate Team of the Year” at the Middle East Legal Awards 2023, presented by International in recognition of their market leading real estate, development, and hospitality practice advising many of the region’s most prominent industry players.

Kelly is widely recognized in the industry and legal directories as a market leader for his extensive experience in advising on complex real estate, development, and hospitality matters across the Middle East and internationally. He has shaped the legal landscape in the United Arab Emirates for over 15 years, having advised on some of the most prominent and iconic master planned communities, mixed-use developments, and branded residences. Kelly’s vast experience includes advising developers, service providers, hotel operators, and others in the development and hospitality industries, with a particular focus on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he is involved in several strategically important giga projects.

Mahood was recently recognized by Business Today in its Lawyer Awards 2023 as the No. 1 pioneering real estate lawyer in the United Arab Emirates. She has more than 22 years of experience in both London and the Middle East, advising master developers, sub-developers, hotel operators, landlords, tenants, lenders, and investors on a range of issues related to development, hospitality, and commercial real estate, including complex sale and purchase agreements and the structuring of mixed-use and hotel development projects involving strata titling and multiple ownership. She has advised leading master developers across the Middle East with respect to iconic flagship projects and has particular expertise in structuring and documenting hotel and branded residential developments across the globe, having advised clients in relation to projects in the US, Africa, Thailand, and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Comerford has significant experience in advising on real estate transactions, structuring, and development in the region. Most recently, she has provided legal consultancy services with respect to one of the most prominent giga projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, advising on the regulatory framework, compliance, governance, and operations. She also had an active role in drafting regulations relating to multiple areas relevant to the legislative framework in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including real estate and tourism related regulations. In private practice, Comerford also has extensive experience advising Middle East and global clients, including sovereign wealth funds, developers, state owned entities, corporates, investors, and energy and water companies, on their investments and operations globally, including major developments of projects, cities and complexes, and their funding structures.

Greenberg Traurig will announce additional senior hires shortly, in both the Kingdom and UAE, as it continues to build out its full team across all practices and industries. However, Rosenbaum noted that the firm is clearly focused on what it is building, rather than how fast.

"Quality and cultural fit are much more important than speed, though we are pleased that the 'GT formula' is quickly gaining traction in this environment, combining both in a firm of almost 2700 lawyers, 47 locations and over $2.2 billion (US) in revenues, with continuous years of record revenues and profits, through multiple financial and geopolitical crises and a global pandemic," said Rosenbaum and Al-Thebity in a joint statement.

The Greenberg Traurig Middle East lawyer team to date includes:


Shibeer Ahmed, Corporate
Marwa Al-Siyabi, Corporate
Khalid A. Al-Thebity, Corporate
Steven Bainbridge, Sports & Entertainment
Stephen Kelly, Real Estate, Development & Hospitality
Sarah Mahood, Real Estate, Development & Hospitality
Christopher Skipper, Corporate
Campbell M. Steedman, Corporate

Of Counsel:

David A. Colson, Litigation
Rebecca Comerford, Real Estate, Development & Hospitality
Omar Hegazy, Entertainment & Media
Tomás Solís, Litigation
Brian J. Vohrer, International Arbitration & Litigation

Associates and Trainees:

Andrew Moroney, Sports & Entertainment
Luke Robinson, Corporate
Omar Al Harbi, Corporate
Hannah Fox, Sports & Entertainment
Lama Al-Mogren, Corporate

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2650 attorneys in 47 locations in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. The firm is a 2022 BTI “Highly Recommended Law Firm” for superior client service and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law Global 100 and NLJ 500. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab. The firm is recognized for powering its U.S. offices with 100% renewable energy as certified by the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program and is a member of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program. The firm is known for its philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: