Mark Gilligan specializes in corporate and commercial law. Based in the firm’s Abu Dhabi office, he provides UAE, GCC and international clients with advice on a variety of commercial transactions and arrangements, including structuring and completing commercial contracts, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. Having worked in both local and international law firms over the course of several years in the UAE, Mark has the technical ability and practical understanding of the legal landscape in the UAE to provide efficient and practical legal advice.

    Mark has experience advising international and local clients on the legislative and regulatory considerations and alternatives applicable when operating in the UAE marketplace, including the corporate formation process both in the UAE and its Free Zones, and on distribution, commercial agency, franchising and services agreements.

    Throughout his career in the UAE Mark has developed working relationships with many UAE Regulatory Agencies including the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA). Mark regularly assists clients in navigating the regulatory regimes applicable to private equity transactions, fund placement and establishment, and investment management activities in the UAE.

    Award Mouse thought multimedia interface book medal screen monitor
    • Representing a prominent engineering firm in the potential acquisition of waste treatment facilities in Dubai.
    • Assisting a privately owned, US based transportation management company in the negotiation and corporate structuring of a joint venture arrangement with a leading UAE transportation company.
    • Representing two Korean engineering firms in the formation of separate joint ventures with a publicly traded construction company in Abu Dhabi.
    • Representing a US based defence contractor with its corporate structuring requirements in the UAE, including working under an extremely tight time frames to establish multiple branch office in preparation for a government tender for the provision of cyber security related services to the UAE Government.
    • Representing one of the UAE’s prominent trading companies in the negotiation and sale of the distribution rights to an international clothing brand.
    • Advising on the sale of a strategic interest in a Dubai-based dry cleaning and restaurant group to a Qatar-based private equity fund.
    • Advising a UAE based food and beverage operation in creating a full suite of documentation for its franchising operations in various MENA jurisdictions.
    • Advising a Singapore based private equity firm on the purchase of biomedical intellectual property rights from a UAE registered entity, including negotiating all transfer documents and advising on the structuring of security arrangements in compliance with UAE legal requirements. 
    • Advising a UAE based investment institution with the winding down and liquidation of a DIFC based asset management firm.
    • Representing parties involved in the sale of a US based engineering firm active in the MENA region.
    • Advising a US based hotel management company on its employment and corporate structuring requirements in the UAE.
    • Advising a UAE based investment management firm on all aspects of its registration with the SCA and the investment managers registration as investment manager to a Luxembourg based UCITS fund with the CSSF.


    • Law Society of Ireland, Diploma in Finance Law, 2009
    • University College Dublin, B.A., (Int.), 2004


    • Law Society of England and Wales
    • Law Society of Ireland

    {{}} {{insights.source}} {{insights.type}}


    • Author, “An Overview of UAE Agency Law,” InHouse Lawyer (September 2011)
    • Author, “Legislative Advice for Establishing JV’s and LLC’s in the UAE,” InHouse Lawyer (April 2010)
    • Author, “The Butterfly Effect: Changes to UAE Company Law and Dubai’s Free Zones,” InHouse Lawyer (December 2010)
    Speaking Engagements
    • Speaker, “Attracting and retaining Talent” IBA Law Firm Management Conference (Asia Pacific Regional Forum) – Panelist - (20 June 2014)
    • Speaker, “Doing Business - Abu Dhabi”, Brisbane Lord Mayoral Business Mission (Abu Dhabi, September 2014)
    • Co-Chair and Speaker, “Fundamentals of International Legal Business Practice” one day training event organized by International Bar Association in conjunction with the Singapore Law Society (Singapore, 19 June 2014)
    • Speaker, “Joint Venture Agreements in UAE,” Training course, Law Society of England and Wales and the College of Law, Center of Excellence, DIFC, Dubai, UAE (Dubai, November 24, 2011)
    • Co-Chair and Speaker, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”, International Bar Association Annual Conference, multidisciplinary practices and alternative business structures for law firms and their role in modern legal practice (Tokyo, October 2014)
    • Speaker, “Overview of FCPA, UK Anti-Bribery and UAE Bribery Legislation” (Abu Dhabi, September 2014)
    • Speaker, “Commercial Agreements\ UAE Agency Law,” Training course, Law Society of England and Wales and College of Law, Center of Excellence, DIFC, Dubai, UAE (June 2011)
    • Speaker, “Introduction to the New Companies Law in the UAE - Change is Coming,” Irish Business Network / South African Business Association, Dubai, UAE (May 13, 2010)
    • Speaker, “Introduction to the New Companies Law in the UAE - Change is Coming,” Canadian Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates, Dubai, UAE (April 14, 2010)
    • Speaker, “Key Considerations When Entering Distribution Arrangements in the UAE,” Big 5 - International Building and Construction Show, Dubai, UAE (November 22, 2011)
    • Speaker, “Overview of UAE Company Law,” Hult University, Dubai, UAE (July 21, 2010)
    • Speaker, “You can’t go home again……..or can you?”, International Bar Association Annual Conference, identifying and retaining lawyers for expatriate placements (Tokyo, October 2014)

    Award Mouse thought multimedia interface book medal screen monitor