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Stephen McKenna

Stephen McKenna

I studied Law at University College Dublin and graduated in 2003. Having successfully passed my entrance exams to the Law Society of Ireland to start my traineeship as a solicitor in 2004, I joined Eversheds in Dublin in 2005. In 2007 I qualified into the corporate/commercial team in Eversheds. I spent a number of years practicing in Ireland and, in later years, was seconded to a client with interests in the Middle East where I spent a lot of time travelling to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Libya.
Clyde & Co is a place that you can be yourself. A friendly and collegiate atmosphere allows you to develop your own style while building your core skills; not only the "black and white" legal skills but also soft skills that lawyers of today must have. Working at Clyde & Co not only makes you a great lawyer, but also allows you to be a commercial thinker to understand the client's needs.

In 2010 I decided to take a role as in-house corporate counsel/group legal counsel in the Abu Dhabi office of a European construction company. This opportunity allowed me to be the "other side of the table" and to gain some real life commercial insight a business from a client's perspective. Having spent two years in my in-house role, in 2012 I joined the Abu Dhabi office of Clyde & Co as an Associate and I have since progressed through Senior Associate and then more recently to Legal Director.  

I spend much of my time in both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices and I specialise in M&A/ joint ventures, corporate structuring, advising on establishing operations in the Middle East and providing general corporate/commercial advice.

I chose Clyde & Co not only because it is the Middle East's largest law firm, but also because the corporate practice is one of the most experienced in the region and its reputation speaks for itself. 

Clyde & Co is a place that you can be yourself. A friendly and collegiate atmosphere allows you to develop your own style while building your core skills; not only the "black and white" legal skills but also soft skills that lawyers of today must have. Working at Clyde & Co not only makes you a great lawyer, but also allows you to be a commercial thinker to understand the client's needs.

I enjoy working at Clyde & Co mostly because of the people that I work with, the interesting work that I face on a day to day basis, and having the satisfaction of providing clients with creative solutions to the legal issues.

Recently I have worked on a number of M&A transactions in many sectors ranging from cosmetic surgery, to oil & gas and the food industry. I have also advised on some more unusual transactions, including, believe it or not, the sale of a 15,000 year-old woolly mammoth fossil, which is considered to be the largest and most complete fossils to have ever been discovered.

I also form a key part of Clyde & Co's education team and I regularly advise schools and higher education institutes on the existing challenges they face operating in the Middle East and how to establish a business here, guiding them through a range of complex issues to protect their investment.

I have been involved in advising a number of start-up companies in Abu Dhabi, particularly coming out of some well-known universities or incubators, and providing the benefit of my legal and commercial experience to young entrepreneurs. It is fascinating to be involved in companies on the cutting edge of technology and to brainstorm concepts with bright minded individuals. This forms part of Clyde & Co's wider corporate social responsibility programme in the Middle East and how we can contribute to the community as a whole.

I have participated in Clyde & Co's long running Global Associate Programme, which is essentially an opportunity to spend time in different offices within the Clyde & Co global network.  I spent time in both our Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. This has led me to be involved in Clyde & Co's wider Middle East/China initiative, recognising the fact that Asia is a growth market and the growth of reciprocal investments between China and the United Arab Emirates.

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