Banking on Dubai

One of the best things about being a trainee at Norton Rose is the opportunity to spend a seat on secondment to one of our international offices.

With offices worldwide, there are plenty of locations to choose from and the majority of trainees are eager to experience life in Asia, Australia, Europe or the Middle East for a few months.

I am spending the last seat of my training contract in our Dubai office, in the banking team. The team undertakes a huge diversity of work, ranging from general bilateral and syndicated lending to acquisition finance and project finance transactions. Many of the deals have an Islamic finance element to them.

Debt capital markets work is also a major focus for the banking team and I have had the opportunity to get involved in some of the high-profile deals they work on.

Our clients are generally major global and regional investment banks and large corporates who are active in sectors such as financial institutions, energy, infrastructure, real estate, retail and telecommunications all over the Middle East and beyond.

As with international seats generally, there is opportunity to take on a greater level of responsibility on deals than is perhaps the case in London. Drafting, reviewing and managing conditions precedent are still staples of the trainee diet, but I have also had the chance to draft security documents on a number of deals and assist with drafting and reviewing loan agreements.

There is also scope for greater client contact and, given the cross-border nature of many of the deals (it is rare in the Middle East to be involved in a transaction that is purely focused in one jurisdiction), trainees are likely to be involved in liaising with local counsel.

Outside of the office, Dubai is a great place to live with plenty of things to keep you occupied in the evenings and at weekends. It is a city that has everything, from picturesque beaches and huge shopping malls to rooftop bars and the world-famous hotels which are all very much a must-see. There is even an indoor ski centre with real snow, so you can tell your friends you have been skiing in the desert!

A number of international firms send trainees out to Dubai so there is a large network of trainees, as well as other young professionals, to keep you company as you explore what Dubai has to offer.