ADG LEGAL WELCOME’S NEW PARTNER JOHN PODGORE
East is not East, and West is not West – and everyone meets in Dubai
Much has changed since Kipling wrote the “Ballad of East and West” in 1889, including our perception of culture and place. John Podgore joined ADG this week to head its Dubai-based Transactional Practice Team out of his frustration with the failure of big Western law firms to break out of the “East-West” paradigm, which focuses on the business links between the US and the Middle East (for American firms) — and between the UK and the Middle East (for British firms).
John is a veteran of these types of firms, having first come to Dubai in 2005 as a key member of the opening team for US law firm Akin Gump — and he has been a partner in other American and British firms since then (aside from a brief stint as general counsel). “I want to break the paradigm,” says John “I am an American who speaks fluent Arabic and fluent Russian – but I also have a track record of significant deals in Africa and Asia with a Middle East nexus”.
John’s childhood (largely in Africa) – and studies at Damascus University Faculty of Law in Syria and at St. Petersburg State University in Russia – means that he’s not really of the West nor of the East, but more and more of the center. And the center increasingly appears to be Dubai (especially if deal flow, hotel occupancy, and the setting for social media influencers/content creators are any guide).
“We’re ecstatic that John is now with us,” says Mohamad Al-Dahbashi (Managing Partner of ADG) “he embodies ADG’s interest in covering all points of the compass from Dubai (not just the points with 5-star Western chain luxury hotels) – and he’s in already in the process of expanding our transactional practice group – it’s kind of funny, we forget he’s American — as one minute he’s coordinating post-closing activities involving Hamriyah Free Zone authorities with an Arabic-speaking team – and the next he’s sketching out a transaction involving an unsanctioned Russian fertilizer company with our Russian speakers – and later he’s trying to get us to hire a talented African lawyer who studied at his alma mater (Princeton University). I consider John as crème de la crème of cross-border legal practitioners and having him with us only shows the capabilities of firms rising from this part of the world.”
Welcome to ADG John!