“a leader in the profession in the Middle East” and “an extremely intelligent and effective lawyer who ‘is efficient and deals with matters expeditiously’.” 
The Who's Who of International Arbitration


Alain Farhad is a partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice and head of the dispute resolution practice in the United Arab Emirates.

He acts as legal counsel or as an arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings arising out of commercial contracts, construction projects or investment protection treaties.

He has experience in resolving disputes relating to many different business sectors, with a focus on the oil and gas, infrastructure, trading and real estate industries. He has also represented a number of governments, as well as state-owned entities in commercial or investment treaty disputes. Alain has been based in Dubai since January 2011. Prior to relocating to the Middle East, he practised international arbitration in Paris. He is a French qualified Avocat à la Cour and a member of the New York Bar. He holds law degrees from Paris Sorbonne University and Cornell Law School.

Alain has been appointed to serve as a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the ICC UAE Arbitration Commission. He is regularly invited to speak at a variety of international arbitration conferences globally.

He is fluent in English, French and Farsi.

He joined Mayer Brown in 2019.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • Farsi
  • French


Prior to joining Mayer Brown:

Experience as Arbitrator

  • Alain has received more than 40 appointments as sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator appointed by a party or an arbitral institution, or chairman of arbitral tribunals in commercial disputes arising from a wide range of commercial and construction contracts.

Experience as Counsel

  • Alain has acted as counsel and advocate in more than 40 international arbitration proceedings conducted under the ICC, ICSID, DIAC, LCIA, CRCICA and UNCITRAL Rules in many different jurisdictions.

Investment Treaty Arbitration

  • Counsel to the government of Croatia in an ICSID arbitration initiated by MOL under the Energy Charter Treaty.
  • Counsel to the government of Ukraine in an UNCITRAL arbitration initiated by OAO Tatneft pursuant to the Ukraine-Russia bilateral investment treaty in relation to the control of a Ukrainian oil refinery.

International Commercial Arbitration

  • Counsel to an international holding company in an ICC arbitration governed by UAE law in relation to a project relating to the development of a distribution network in Ethiopia.
  • Counsel to an Emirati real estate development company in several multibillion-dollar DIAC arbitration matters governed by UAE law arising from project development agreements in the UAE.

Construction Arbitration

  • Counsel to an Emirati entity in an LCIA arbitration governed by Moroccan law arising out of a construction agreement concluded in relation to a real estate project in Morocco.
  • Counsel to an Emirati entity in pre-litigation and ensuing ADCCAC arbitration proceedings against an Emirati contractor for delays and defects in a construction project in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.


Cornell Law School, LLM

University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Maîtrise en droit


  • New York
  • Paris


  • Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Member of the UAE Arbitration Commission Steering Committee
  • Member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR
  • ‘Alain Farhad is one of the leading arbitration lawyers in the Dubai market. He has great technical expertise both from common law and civil law perspectives having qualified in both New York and Paris. He is clever and highly strategic in his thinking.’ - Legal 500 EMEA 2022, UAE: Dispute Resolution: Arbitration and International Litigation.
  • Alain Farhad at Mayer Brown is best known for his international arbitration expertise, sitting as an arbitrator as well as appearing as counsel in a range of commercial disputes. He also is active in the DIFC courts. The Legal 500 EMEA 2021 note that Alain 'is exceptionally competent and knowledgeable on disputes concerning construction and wider commercial issues.' and 'is a standout individual who is a true expert in international arbitration. As a French qualified lawyer he has a different and more international perspective than many English qualified partners in other firms.’
  • The Who’s Who of International Arbitration has described him as “a leader in the profession in the Middle East” and as “an extremely intelligent and effective lawyer who ‘is efficient and deals with matters expeditiously’.”
  • Chambers Global 2018 notes that Alain “is acclaimed for his expertise in dispute resolution” and is described as “raising the standard of any dispute”.
  • The Legal 500 2018 describes Alain as “one of the rising stars of international arbitration”.