Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has been awarded “Crisis Management Team of the Year” and “Diversity Initiative of the Year” at Law.com’s annual Middle East Legal Awards.
The Awards recognise exceptional achievement in the Middle East legal sector and work on precedent-setting, game-changing projects and initiatives.
This year, Law.com named Norton Rose Fulbright “Crisis Management Team of the Year” for its market-leading cyber incident and boardroom crisis management practice which supports large corporates and data rich companies across all sectors. Led by Dubai-based partner and Head of Middle East Corporate, M&A, Securities and Cyber Risk, Adjou Ait Ben Idir, the Middle East cyber response team includes various members including counsel Shabnam Karim.
The team advises regularly on the investigation, containment and remediation of a broad range of data breaches and other cybersecurity incidents. The team provides both Middle East-specific cyber response support and draws upon the firm’s global cyber capabilities to provide multijurisdictional advice to Middle East-based clients.
Norton Rose Fulbright additionally won “Diversity Initiative of the Year” for its Middle-East diversity and inclusion strategy championing gender parity in the workplace and encouraging the attraction and retention of black, Asian and minority ethnic employees across the firm.
The new race and ethnicity strategy includes a commitment to a 2025 target of 15% BAME partners and 25% BAME employees, a programme of reverse mentoring , sponsorship and new career development programmes for BAME talent. This strategy has been complemented by Active Bystander and Active Inclusion training that provided valuable practical tips and tools on how to challenge racism and other forms of unacceptable behaviour.
In 2014, Norton Rose Fulbright set a goal of having women comprise 30% of the partnership and key management committees by 2020. The firm achieved the global target for representation on its management committees, while coming close to the goal for overall representation of women in the partnership. In February 2020, Norton Rose Fulbright announced its new aspirational gender diversity target: a minimum of 40% women, a minimum of 40% men and 20% flexibility to be truly inclusive. The ratio forms the basis for a range of gender metrics, including overall partnership; management committees and leadership roles (including client relationship partners and business services leaders; partner promotions; external partner candidates; and senior business services hires.
Adjou Ait Ben Idir, who was also nominated in the Diversity Champion category at the Awards for her leadership on numerous D&I initiatives, commented: “We’re delighted to be recognised by Law.com for our achievements and initiatives. We are proud of our market leading cyber risk practice, which we launched few years ago and have been steadily building ever since. We help clients, including C-suites and boards, in the context of major transactions or cyber incidents, navigate complex legal issues related to data protection, privacy and cyber security in the Middle East and globally. Equally, we recognise our role in driving forward programmes that improve diversity and inclusion in our business and enable everyone to achieve their potential.”
Mohammed Paracha, head of Middle East, commented: “These awards reflect the strength and growth of our Middle East practice and our commitment to our clients and our people. For over 40 years, we have helped clients do domestic and outbound business in the region, enabling them to achieve their strategic objectives. Within our firm, diversity and inclusion are paramount and integral to our success so we’re delighted to be recognised for our initiatives in this area. Congratulations to our entire team.”
Over the past 18 months, Norton Rose Fulbright has grown significantly in the region with several lateral hires including Nicholas Kramer, Nicholas Robinson and Kayaan Unwalla in the UAE and Zayd Alathari in Riyadh.