Two of the leading UAE based law firms, Saleh Alobeidli & Co and International Consultant Law Office (ICLO) announced their merger and the combined entity will continue doing business under the ICLO name with the aim to bring clients a combination of enhanced capacity and experience.
The law firm is also launching its Start-Ups & SMEs Practice in support of UAE’s position as a global centre for entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer, and innovation. Headed by Biancka Gracias, the team will address a wide range of legal issues faced by start-ups and SME’s in the region. Matters including forming the appropriate entity to protect intellectual property, business from personal injury lawsuits, advice on investor relations, and assistance on day-to-day operations of the business will also be a part of the package.
According to recent data by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, the SMEs sector represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country and provide jobs for more than 86 per cent of the private sector’s workforce. In Dubai alone, SMEs make up nearly 95 per cent of all companies, employing 42 per cent of the workforce and contributing around 40 per cent to Dubai’s GDP.
Biancka Gracias, Partner and Head of Start-ups & SMEs at ICLO, commented “The UAE has several regulations in place for smooth and fair conducting of businesses, and every entrepreneur needs to abide the law in terms of formation, practice and application. I am thrilled to join this team of extremely talented law professionals and to deliver exceptional value to our clients.”
Biancka Gracias has more than 18 years of experience in the corporate/commercial legal sector with core expertise to counsel start-ups in all stages of development and to help them overcome their legal challenges in the country of operation. She has been an active member of various start-up hubs in the region, such as Dubai Development Authority, Founders Institute (Dubai Chapter), Sheraa, startAD (the global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by its partner Tamkeen), Khalifa Fund, Dubai Computer Group, Faster Capital, TiE Dubai and in5 to provide weekly legal advisory sessions to members.
ICLO will offer support to local and international clients in arbitration, litigation, corporate & commercial law, real estate & development, mergers & acquisitions, and investment & tax. The law firm also boasts a team of highly specialised international arbitration lawyers qualified in multiple jurisdictions with experience across a wide range of dispute resolution industry sectors.