Building a department

Author: | Published: 1 Dec 2009

Simon Crompton
Managing editor

Most lawyers that have built a new legal team talk enthusiastically about the experience. Omar Rahman, general counsel and head of legal at Noor Bank in Dubai, was setting one up in an entirely new bank. The CEO told him that he knew nothing about legal departments, so Rahman was on his own. It was an absolutely blank slate.

Rahman had experience of working in-house: he came from Western Union, where he had been regional counsel for two years, covering the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But that was one part of a much larger team. Neither that nor his previous work at Denton Wilde Sapte in Abu Dhabi was much preparation for creating a new department.

Noor Bank itself was set up in 2007 by decree from Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, to give the emirate an outward-facing financial institution. Dubai has no shortage of banks...