A corporate lawyer is a legal professional specializing in business law. There are further specializations within the corporate law in Dubai as in other countries around the world. The larger international law firms tend to offer teams of lawyers that focus on different aspects of business law.
Some corporate lawyers will specialize in company formation and incorporation throughout the UAE as well as specifically in Dubai. These attorneys can work with UAE nationals, foreigners or those foreign business owners seeking to partner with a UAE sponsor in the formation of a mainland business.
In addition to company formation and incorporation, corporate lawyers can also work with established businesses in many different ways. They can provide legal assistance in business restructuring and organization as well as assist in mergers and acquisitions.
To understand the many roles and services that corporate lawyers in Dubai can provide for new or existing businesses, a closer look at the services offered will be helpful.
New Business Formation
The process of setting up a business in Dubai either in a free zone or as a mainland company is relatively streamlined and structured. However, there are specific steps and approvals that must be followed and obtained.
Specific documents and agreements have to be in place, including the selection of the type of business, the agreement with the sponsor (when applicable) as well as the approval of the business name. Additionally, in the UAE for free zone or mainland companies, the business must have a location prior to the license for the business being granted.
The corporate lawyer can provide guidance and oversight of the process for a free zone and a mainland company formation. They will also provide insight into the different choices and options available when setting up the business, explaining all benefits and possible challenges with each choice or option.
For foreign investors and business owners, using a Dubai-based corporate attorney will be critical. These legal professionals can assist in choosing the ideal business type and the best free zone based on the type of business and other qualifying factors.
For larger companies and entities with a board of directors or for organizations and agencies with shareholders and boards, having a corporate lawyer to consult with when drawing up policies, procedures and governance items will be critical.
There are many complex areas around corporate governance, both in the public and private sector. Meeting all legal requirements for setting up everything from a code of conduct to an ethics policy for the company needs to be done within the limits of the law.
In addition, drafting contracts and assisting in the development of corporate transactions and even establishing non-compete and disclosure policies are all important considerations that should be done by a corporate lawyer. When these issues are overlooked and not addressed there is an increased risk for the company should there be an issue with a disgruntled employee or other similar types of employment concerns.
Making a mistake on these types of governance documents can pose a risk to the company. It can also create internal disputes or other issues that can be costly and disruptive to attempt to resolve at a later date.
Employment law is another area where both corporate leaders and managers should look for advice and assistance from corporate lawyers. Avoiding common mistakes in the hiring, firing, and management of employees can prevent this issue from becoming legal issues that the company has to deal with at a later point in time.
International law firms are the ideal option when working with international vendors or suppliers or a UAE mainland or free zone company. This is a better option than a UAE-based company as the international experience allows the law firm to protect your business across the globe.
With more foreign businesses moving into Dubai, particularly as free zone companies, corporate lawyers are in demand for drafting international sales agreements and for managing agreements with international suppliers of raw materials for production and manufacturing companies in Dubai.
With this type of corporate law, it is essential that the lawyer not only understand the business law in the UAE but also on an international scope. There is no value in drafting an agreement that is void in another country due to specific language or clauses in the agreement.
Ideally, a business that is doing business with international buyers and sellers should look for a Dubai legal firm with offices, attorneys or presence in those countries. There are some top law firms in Dubai that have networks of highly trained attorneys in Europe, the UK, Singapore, Russia as well as across the Middle East and Asia. While business may not have transactions in all of these countries, the extensive experience and understanding of laws in these areas an always be helpful when the business grows and expands the market coverage.
The Issue of Specializations Within Corporate Law
Often the corporate lawyer will need to be very well versed in the industry as well. Large law firms in Dubai tend to have specialized teams that focus on legal matters within different sectors of business. These sectors can include construction, shipping, and marine, real estate, banking, financial sector business, technology, entertainment as well as the protection of intellectual property.
The more specialized the lawyer’s training and experienced, the better suited they are for providing the level of legal services required by a company. While some small law firms may specialize in corporate law, they typically do not have international experience, which can put a business at a disadvantage in negotiations and contracts.
Large law firms in Dubai are also well-versed in handling the large transactions that are common in the banking, manufacturing, shipping and merger and acquisitions sectors and transactions. It is important to evaluate and assess the various law firms based on their experience in handling transactions similar to the scale and value of your transaction.
In Dubai, as in the rest of the world, the more the transaction is worth on a monetary basis, the higher the level of risk for all parties involved. This is where an experienced corporate attorney is essential. This professional is responsible for seeing to the best interests of the client, proactively providing protection, risk reduction, and carefully crafted contracts that address possible areas of conflict, misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
The ideal scenario for business in Dubai doing business nationally or internationally is to have a corporate lawyer as a consultant. This allows the lawyer to become very familiar with the business, the comfort level with risk for the business owner, as well as a thorough understanding of the business goals.
With this information, the corporate lawyer will draft agreements, make recommendations and provide consulting services that will dovetail with the needs of the client. This is a truly bespoke type of legal service that is designed to provide information and legal interpretation of the possible options to consider.
A long-term relationship between a business client and a corporate lawyer in Dubai is very positive for the business. They have a trusted legal consultant and voice to turn to for help in making decisions, in limiting any possible legal risks or delays in obtaining a deal as well as in getting the best possible outcome in legal situations. Contact STA Law Firm for more information.