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ROBYN WALLER, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION & DISPUTES

What’s your background?

I am an International Construction Disputes specialist, with experience in a variety of Gulf jurisdictions including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and RAK in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and KSA.  I have been working as a lawyer in Dubai for over eight years now.

I have a degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Masters in Islamic Law.  After graduating from my first degree I worked for the Legal Services Commission while studying for my GDL, LPC and Masters.  I then moved out to Dubai to work as a paralegal in the commercial team of a UK law firm.  I stayed with this firm to do my training contract in their London office - after two years in London I was very ready to come back to the Gulf!  I qualified with the same firm, into their International Construction Department, based in the Dubai office.

Why did you choose to work here?

I moved to Gowling WLG in 2015.  My choice to move to Gowling WLG was based entirely on the people I would be working with. James Foster (the partner in charge of International Arbitration and Construction Disputes) and Courtney Rothery (director in the International Arbitration and Construction Disputes Team) have stand-out reputations amongst their peers in the Gulf legal community for being excellent lawyers, highly professional, and generally nice people to work with.  In addition, I have also always preferred to work in smaller teams because of the increased responsibility, excellent exposure to clients and high quality work from the outset. 

What was the recruitment process like?

I had a formal interview with James Foster (partner) and went for coffee with a director. 

What makes Gowling WLG different from other firms?

The Dubai office is a very collegiate place to work.  As the office is smaller, we all know each other pretty well and socialise as a group regularly. As I write, we are all looking forward to our office party which is being hosted by one of the partners and his wife, in the garden of their villa.  There is also every opportunity to develop a particular specialism or start your own initiatives. For example, I was interested in promoting CSR and sustainability issues in the office and received a lot of support and encouragement from both the UK and Dubai office to lead these initiatives.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about working here?

It's ambitious, positive and optimistic in its outlook which matches the Dubai mentality perfectly.

What do you do outside work?

Indulge in luxury travel!!  I am also a calligraphy, watercolour and letterpress printing craftswoman and am starting up a boutique design and printing studio.

"My choice to move to Gowling WLG was based entirely on the people I would be working with."