Douglas G. Smith has more than 30 years of experience in the Middle East, as well as North America and Asia. Doug’s main areas of practice include corporate law, M&A, private equity, finance, corporate restructurings, joint ventures as well as corporate governance and regulatory matters. His practice has involved him in transactional work in numerous jurisdictions in the Middle East including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain as well as in East and Southeast Asia, encompassing Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, India, as well as other nations.

    Doug has been recognized for his corporate-commercial and M&A expertise on numerous occasions by Who's Who Legal and The Legal 500.

    Doug frequently speaks publically and writes on corporate and commercial law matters. He is a former lecturer at the University of Hong Kong as well as a guest lecturer at the City University of Hong Kong. Since 2016, Doug has been a guest lecturer at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

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    • Advised the Federal Ministry of Infrastructure Development of the United Arab Emirates with regard to a national PPP infrastructure programme for the United Arab Emirates and attendant legislation.
    • Engaged by the Dubai Government’s Department of Finance (DDoF) to conduct a review of the current public private partnership (PPP) legislative and regulatory framework in Dubai, to develop of a PPP strategy and policy, to prepare of PPP legislative, operational and regulatory guidelines and to assist in the identification of opportunities for PPP projects in the Emirate of Dubai.
    • Acting as lead counsel in representing the Government of Dubai on the US$2.65 billion financing of the extension of the city’s Red Line Metro to Dubai’s 2020 Expo site and the acquisition of 50-68 purpose-built trains.
    • Representing the Government of Dubai Department of Finance and Dubai Airport Finance Company in the US$27.5 billion financing of Dubai Airports.
    • Acts as counsel to various Government of Dubai and Dubai Financial Support fund entities in a wide variety of commercial matters.
    • Acted on behalf of a large Korean global engineering firm in connection with the sale of its training and engineering facility located in Jubail Industrial City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to a KSA integrated energy company.
    • Structured negotiated and advised on the acquisition by a Dubai-based integrated foods company of a controlling interest in one of the region’s largest fish and frozen foods processors from a special purpose entity owned by the government of Oman.
    • Advised on the sale of a strategic interest in a Dubai-based dry cleaning and restaurant group to a Qatar-based private equity fund.
    • Structuring a joint venture in Iraq for the import and distribution of heavy construction equipment and materials on behalf of a UAE-based trading group.
    • Advised a US-based defence manufacturer in connection with the procurement of various surveillance related systems by the Union Defence Force (armed forces of the United Arab Emirates) including negotiating and settling offset arrangements with the UAE Offsets Bureau.
    • Acted in the purchase by one of the UK’s largest events coordinators from the Government of Abu Dhabi of the rights to host the world’s largest defence exhibition.
    • Advised one of the world’s largest infrastructure companies on its tender for the world’s largest parking facilities project in Abu Dhabi including the concession structure and advising on the construction and concession documentation.
    • Acted on behalf of a Canadian oil and gas exploration and development company in connection with the US$1.91 billion acquisition of certain of its production assets in Central Asia by one of China’s largest State-Owned Enterprises.
    • Acting on the construction and operation of four international luxury brand hotels in Bali, Indonesia including structuring the form of the inward investment into Indonesia and negotiating and settling all relevant documentation.
    • Acting on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank in connection with an US$80 million ISDA Swap in respect of an India-based conglomerate’s operations in Indonesia.
    • Coordinated the completion of the acquisition of two Indonesian specialty chemical manufacturers as part of an approximately US$300 million global transaction, on behalf of a New York-based private equity fund by its Singapore-based operating subsidiary.
    • Advising a Hong-Kong based real estate group on their acquisition of an interest in an Indonesian joint-venture for the development of a commercial-residential complex in central Jakarta.
    • Advising a Japanese multinational in due diligence and its bid for the acquisition of an interest in the holder of a Jakarta water concession.


    • Durham University, Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Islamic Finance Programme, 2010
    • Queen's University, LL.B., 1981
    • Queen's University, B.A., 1978


    • Ontario, Canada
    • Hong Kong
    • England and Wales
    • Recognized in The Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa 2019 for United Arab Emirates – Energy and Infrastructure

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    Speaking Engagements

    • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) – In-House Counsel Certification Programme, “Managing Outside Counsel and Legal Service Providers”, Dubai, UAE, 7 March 2019.
    • Association of Corporate Counsel In-House Counsel Certification Programme, “Corporate Governance in the United Arab Emirates”, Dubai, UAE, 1 May 2018.
    • Citi Private Bank Family Office Leadership Program, “Family Offices in the Middle East: Next Generation, Wealth, Tax, and Beating the Odds”, Dubai, UAE, 19 April 2018.
    • Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, “International Investment Law – Joint Venture and Shareholders Agreements”, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 21 February 2017.
    • SAMENA (South Asia – Middle East – North Africa) Telecommunications Council, “Sub-Sea Cable Operations in MENA - Regulatory Framework Perspectives”, SAMENA Submarine Summit 2015, Dubai, UAE, 9 March 2015.
    • International Bar Association, “The World Invests in Asia & Asia Invests in the World – Asia-Middle East Trade”, IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum, Tokyo, 22 October 2014.
    • International Bar Association, “The Fundamentals of International Legal Business Practice – Cross-Border M&A in Asia” co-presented by the IBA Law Firm Management Committee and the IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum, supported by the Law Society of Singapore, Singapore, 19 June 2014.
    • Asia Pacific Regional Forum, International Bar Association panel “Getting From A to B: Supply Chain Logistics and Agreements”, IBA Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 8 October 2013.
    • South East Asia Corruption and Compliance Summit 2013, “Interpreting local Corruption and Compliance Laws and Guidelines”, Beacon Events, Singapore, 17 September 2013.
    • Asia Pacific Regional Forum/Inter-Pacific Bar Association and Arab Regional Forum of the International Bar Association panel “Asian Investment in the Middle East”, IBA Annual Meeting, Dubai, UAE, 31 October 2011.
    • Law Society of England and Wales and UK Trade & Investment delegation to the International Bar Association Annual Meeting, “The Legal System of the United Arab Emirates: An Overview”, British Consulate in Dubai, UAE, 30 October 2011.
    • Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, “Commercial Agencies in the UAE”, Workshop, Dubai, UAE, 27 July 2011.
    • Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum - Middle East, Moderator: “Managing Legal Risk Without Killing the Deal” panel, Dubai, UAE, 18 May 2011.
    • MEED Mergers and Acquisitions Summit, “The Legal Framework for M&A: Strategies, Pitfalls and the Legislative Landscape”, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 9 December 2009.

    Publications and Presentations

    • “United Arab Emirates Issues National Public Debt Law”, Banker Middle East, October 2018.
    • “Doing Business in the United Arab Emirates”, SPB Insight and the American Chamber of Commerce in Abu Dhabi, 31 January 2018.
    • “New UAE Pledge Law Takes Effect”, SPB Insight, 19 March 2017.
    • “The UAE’s New Mini-Insolvency Law – What Does it Mean?”, SPB Insight, 4 April 2016.
    • “Duties and Liabilities of Directors in the United Arab Emirates”, SPB Insight, 12 February, 2016.
    • “Employment Law in the Dubai International Financial Centre”, SPB Insight, 21 January 2016.
    • “Dubai’s Public Private Partnership Law”, SPB Insight, 17 December 2015.
    • “Shareholders’ and Joint Venture Agreements in the United Arab Emirates – A Checklist”, SPB Insight, 11 November 2015.
    • “Insolvency Reform in the United Arab Emirates on the Horizon”, The National Law Review, October 2015.
    • “Creation of the Abu Dhabi Global Market”, Squire Patton Boggs LLP, October 2015.
    • “Equity Capital Markets in the United Arab Emirates: An Overview”, Thomson Reuters - Practical Law, July 2015.
    • “The New United Arab Emirates Commercial Companies Law”, Squire Patton Boggs, July 2015.
    • “Banking and Finance Special Report: MINTing it and Banking on a Better 2014”, Asian-MENA Counsel, Contributor, March 2014.
    • “Constitutional Court Raises the Bar for Terminating Employment in Indonesia”, International Bar Association Asia Pacific Forum, September 2013.
    • “Negotiating and Settling Joint Venture Agreements”, International Bar Association, Asia Pacific Forum, March 2013.
    • “Doing Business 2013 – Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium Size Enterprises”, The World Bank/International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, November 2012.
    • “Shareholders’ Agreements In The United Arab Emirates - An Overview”, Mondaq, December 2011.
    • “Shareholders’ Agreements in the United Arab Emirates”, International Bar Association Guide on Shareholders’ Agreements, October 2011.
    • “Foreign Ownership Restrictions from the Perspective of the Gulf”, International Bar Association Journal, August 2010.
    • “Commentary on the Dubai World Insolvency Code - Toward A Clearer Path”, Mondaq, January 2010.
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