Lawyer Peter Gray positions ADG Legal as a global catalyst in UAE
Gray emphasises the importance of thoroughly evaluating legal representation options, as the UAE’s legal market can be competitive and complex
The UAE has taken a prominent role in pushing the boundaries of legal reforms in the Middle East and North African region. Nevertheless, as UAE’s cities, especially Dubai, rapidly grow in sectors such as construction and technology, questions arise about whether the legal system can keep up with the pace. The Dubai 2030 vision — which seeks to create a progressive business environment, attract foreign investment, and enhance social equality, underscores the importance of such legal reform in achieving these goals.
As of 2023, the UAE’s population reached 10.17 million, reflecting a 0.89 per cent increase from the previous year. Partially linked to this growth is the rapid influx of expatriates since the beginning of the pandemic. Projections suggest that the population of Dubai alone will expand from 3.5 million to 5.8 million by 2040.
Significant legal reforms also attract expats to relocate to the UAE to take advantage of the changes. Several vital policies have contributed to attracting expatriates in recent years. Of the most notable is the ‘Golden Visa’, introduced in 2018, and marked a milestone in the UAE’s efforts to covet global talent and investment. This initiative allows investors, entrepreneurs, specialised professionals, and exceptional students to obtain extended residency permits. Additionally, amendments to civil laws have positively impacted social factors like cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and inheritance matters, providing enhanced protections for women and strengthening child custody rights.
The UAE also revised its foreign ownership laws in 2019 to encourage foreign investment and economic diversification. The changes permit foreign investors to own companies in specific sectors outside designated free zones, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. The UAE has also leveraged technology to streamline its legal processes, transitioning to online court systems and expanding remote proceedings. Initiatives like Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s push for smart government platforms also demonstrate the country’s commitment to utilising cutting-edge technology to enhance accessibility and services, such as adopting an online public notary system that operates beyond traditional working hours.
Authorities established specialised courts to resolve disputes efficiently, and remote court proceedings have become the norm. These advancements have improved efficiency, reduced costs, and provided a seamless experience for those utilising these services. The UAE has also addressed challenges in the digital economy, enacting laws to combat cyber threats and protect intellectual property.
Challenges arise alongside a plethora of opportunities as these significant reforms persist. With an increasing number of corporate executives and multinational companies relocating to the UAE, there is a growing demand for high-level legal advisory and representation.
Peter Gray, one of the founders of ADG Legal, believes that lawyers with extensive experience in UAE law and international expertise offer a unique blend of Eastern and Western legal knowledge. ADG Legal, a UAE-based law firm, has successfully positioned itself in the UAE’s legal landscape. Gray and his partner, Mohammed Al Dahbashi, identified a market gap for a boutique law firm offering local and international expertise. Subsequently and relatively quickly, ADG Legal grew from a small team of a handful to over 80 professionals of over 26 nationalities, each contributing unique skills and perspectives. This transformation reflects ADG Legal’s success in providing a client-centric, commercially focused approach.
Gray emphasises the importance of thoroughly evaluating legal representation options, as the UAE’s legal market can be competitive and complex. He advises clients to assess law firms based on their experience, track record, and approach to legal problem-solving. He also highlights the significance of understanding the local and international legal landscape when dealing with complex cross-border cases. Being well-connected within the region with a deep understanding of UAE laws and regulations is crucial for effective legal representation.
ADG Legal’s distinctive approach focuses on delivering results and practical solutions over credentials. Gray believes that a highly qualified, client-focused team that combines local and international expertise can offer more value to clients than traditional credentials alone.
ADG Legal’s presence in the UAE also offers strategic advantages for facilitating legal and business services for companies looking to expand into Africa, a continent that many analysts argue is primed for explosive growth in the 21st century. Gray also sees the potential for substantial economic growth and investment opportunities in Africa, backed by the UAE’s logistical advantages as a business hub. ADG Legal leverages its local and international network to assist clients in navigating African markets, addressing regulatory complexities, and fostering successful cross-border transactions.
Gray has also authored books highlighting investment opportunities in Africa and the UAE, showcasing his expertise in legal and business matters. As ADG Legal continues to grow and expand its footprint, Gray envisions a future where the firm plays a pivotal role in supporting companies and individuals in their legal endeavours.
Ultimately, as the UAE’s legal reform efforts continue to attract expatriates and businesses, positioning the country as a global investment and innovation hub, ADG Legal, under the leadership of Mohammed Al Dahbashi and Peter Gray, stands out as a law firm that bridges Eastern and Western legal expertise that can provide vital and practical legal solutions to a diverse range of clients who want to leap into lucrative opportunities for the future.