Reed Smith appoints leading disputes partner in Dubai

James Willn

Global law firm Reed Smith announced today that James Willn has joined the firm as a partner in its Energy & Natural Resources Group in Dubai. Willn, who joins from Stephenson Harwood where he led the firm’s construction practice across the MENA region, is widely recognised as one of the leading sanctions lawyers in the market.

With more than 14 years’ experience, Willn advises a broad range of clients, primarily within the offshore oil, gas, construction, energy and maritime industries, on the formation of international contracts and disputes,

“We are excited to welcome James to Reed Smith, he is one of the leading disputes lawyers in the market with extensive experience advising clients on projects in the energy and offshore maritime sector. His arrival underpins our position as an industry leader,” said Praj Samant, chair of Reed Smith’s Energy and Natural Resources Group. “James is held in exceptionally high regard, both by his colleagues and clients within the region, and his construction experience will be of great benefit to the team here in the UAE, and our clients within the region, and globally.”

Willn’s significant expertise extends to litigating disputes for offshore and onshore contractors as well as shipyards, negotiating contracts on construction, shipbuilding, offshore drilling and long term charter contracts of specialist offshore vessels.

He has also been providing strategic advice to clients operating in the offshore energy sector, in respect to the ever-evolving nature of international and regional sanction regimes and is regarded as a market leader in this field. 

Sachin Kerur, office managing partner of the firm’s Middle East offices, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a talented and ambitious lawyer to the team here in Dubai.  James’ wealth of experience will further enhance our leading energy, construction and shipping capabilities across the globe.

Willn, said: “Reed Smith is a market leader with an impressive reputation within the energy, construction and transportation industry. I am delighted to have joined a firm where I can use its truly global and collaborative platform to develop my practice.”

Over the last 12 months, Reed Smith has significantly grown its Energy and Natural Resources Industry Group with the hire of commodities finance partner Daniel Birch, and leading oil and gas partner James Atkin, both in London, regulatory partner Jonathan Marcus in Washington, disputes partner Timothy Cooke in Singapore, and duo Ryan T. Purpura and Megan S. Haines in Pittsburgh.

Reed Smith is deeply involved in the evolving landscape of the energy industry – having helped clients of all sizes navigate and succeed in the sector. It’s multidisciplinary Energy and Natural Resources Group comprises around 160 lawyers worldwide, combining regulatory, transactional, financial, environmental health and safety, projects and construction, and litigation disciplines.

About Reed Smith:

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, we deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for our clients. Our deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters. Now celebrating more than 140 years of service, our firm spans 30 offices with 3,000 people, including 1,700 lawyers.