Mayer Brown announced today that Charles Salem Hallab and Tahan (Tom) Thraya have joined the firm as Corporate & Securities partners, significantly expanding Mayer Brown’s Middle East practice and strengthening the firm’s global transactions offerings. Previously, Messrs. Hallab and Thraya were partners with Baker & McKenzie LLP. Joining them in the move to Mayer Brown are key associate members of their team.

Mr. Hallab was chair of Baker & McKenzie’s corporate and securities practice in Washington DC, and leader of both its Middle East practice and its international joint venture and strategic alliance practice for North America. Mr. Thraya led Baker & McKenzie’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) corporate and commercial practice and was a founding partner of that firm’s Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha offices.

At Mayer Brown, Mr. Hallab will serve as Chair of the Middle East practice and will be a leader of the International Joint Venture and Strategic Alliance practice for the firm. Mr. Thraya will serve as Head of the Middle East corporate and commercial team. Their practices complement Mayer Brown’s existing Middle East Disputes and International Arbitration offerings by focusing on a broad spectrum of sophisticated corporate transactions such as bilateral and multi-lateral joint ventures, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, major industrial and infrastructure projects and an array of complex commercial arrangements. Messrs. Hallab and Thraya have successfully represented numerous multinational companies, governmental agencies and investment entities across the globe and throughout the Middle East, with a focus on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. Mr. Hallab and, initially, Mr. Thraya will be based in the firm’s Washington DC and Chicago offices. Subject to regulatory approval, Mayer Brown plans to open an office in Dubai in 2016, where both partners will play key roles and where Mr. Thraya is expected to serve as the local partner-in-charge.

“The arrival of Charles and Tom’s team is very exciting, as it greatly enhances our ability to advise multinational companies and other key clients on a wide range of corporate, commercial and other matters inbound to and outbound from the Middle East and across the globe, and serves as an ideal addition both to our international transactional offerings and to our DC corporate team,” said Mayer Brown Chairman Paul Theiss.

“Charles and Tom’s corporate and transactional experience dovetails perfectly with Mayer Brown’s existing disputes and international arbitration capabilities in the Middle East, thereby enhancing our offerings to multinational companies and our clients there, so we are delighted to have them aboard,” added Raid Abu-Manneh, Co-Head of Mayer Brown’s Middle East Dispute and International Arbitration practice.

Mr. Hallab advises clients on both corporate and commercial transactional matters, with particular emphasis on international business collaborations, including acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and other ongoing bilateral or multilateral contractual arrangements. He has managed a variety of corporate and commercial transactions inbound to and outbound from the Middle East, with a focus on GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Mr. Hallab has also handled a variety of transactional matters in the carbon-emissions-reduction arena. He earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He received an undergraduate degree in international affairs and economics from the George Washington University.

“I am very excited about enhancing Mayer Brown’s footprint and strength in the Middle East and about building on its remarkable success by further developing and defining its international joint venture and other cross-border transactional offerings with the close and client-focused collaboration of my new colleagues around the world,” said Mr. Hallab.

Mr. Thraya is a fluent Arabic speaker, with particular experience in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq. He has worked in the Middle East for nearly a decade, advising both private and public sector clients in the areas of cross-border and domestic mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, international and domestic joint ventures, private equity and global corporate reorganizations. Mr. Thraya also advises clients on a wide variety of commercial, employment, investment, compliance and investigations matters. Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie, he was a lawyer in Mayer Brown’s Corporate & Securities practice in Chicago. Mr. Thraya earned a JD from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Calgary.

“I am focused on advancing Mayer Brown’s global Corporate & Securities practice, which will enable us to better serve current and future clients in the Middle East and across the world; we could not be more excited about this opportunity,” added Mr. Thraya.