News Releases

Leading Corporate Partner Vanessa Abernethy Joins Baker Botts L.L.P.

Firm Continues Growth in Middle East


DUBAI, UAE, September 4, 2011 -- Vanessa Abernethy, who has extensive experience representing clients in capital markets transactions throughout the Middle East, joined Baker Botts L.L.P. today as a partner in the firm’s Dubai office.

Abernethy specializes in transactional and advisory work. She has advised clients raising capital through equity securities in the region, both privately and through IPOs, and counseled clients on mergers and acquisitions and listings on NASDAQ Dubai, the Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.

“Vanessa’s wealth of experience in the corporate and financial sectors of the Middle East further strengthens our capabilities there,” said Baker Botts Managing Partner Walt Smith. “The addition of Vanessa to our team demonstrates our commitment to providing highly-skilled lawyers who can handle some of the most complex transactions in the Middle East.”

Baker Botts now has 25 lawyers working out of three offices in the region -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh. During the past 12 months, the firm has added seven new lawyers -- including Abernethy -- to its Middle East operations. These lawyers have a wealth of experience in counseling on Islamic financing, conventional lending and project finance, construction and nuclear energy issues.

Even during recent economic unrest in the Middle East, Baker Botts has experienced increased client demand for its services. Two of the more visible recent representations involved project development and financing work for the Saudi Electric Company (SEC), as well as counsel to Mitsubishi Corporation on its South Gas Project.

On the SEC matter, firm lawyers provided counsel in all aspects (international and Saudi law) for the company’s Independent Power Project (IPP) Program. Project Finance magazine recognized a portion of this work -- the $2.1 billion financing for Saudi Arabia’s PP-11 project -- as its 2010 “Middle East Deal of the Year.”

“Since opening in Riyadh more than 10 years ago, in Dubai in 2005 and Abu Dhabi in 2009, our Middle East portfolio has expanded beyond energy industry issues,” said Robert W. Jordan, Partner in Charge of the Middle East practice for Baker Botts. “While we remain heavily involved in energy, we are now regularly working on complex and novel projects and sophisticated transactions throughout the region, particularly involving government entities. We will continue to expand our capabilities to support the needs of clients either based in the region or looking to do business here.”

Abernethy has advised clients on a number of high-profile matters. She counseled a sovereign-owned entity in the hospitality industry with its proposed acquisition of a 33 percent stake in a global hotel chain. She also represented a Lebanese group in the mining industry in connection with its acquisition of a 70 percent stake in a UAE-based company with mining operations in Guinea.

She is a member of the NASDAQ Dubai Practioners’ Committee, which is a panel of capital markets experts from the legal, financial and banking industries who assist the exchange with various matters and meet as a Committee for discussion on strategy and new initiatives.

Prior to joining Baker Botts, Abernethy was a corporate partner in the Dubai office of Simmons & Simmons. She earned her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand and a Stock Exchange diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia. She is admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales.

More information about Baker Botts’ Middle East practice is available here.

About Baker Botts L.L.P.
Baker Botts is an international law firm with over 725 lawyers and a network of 13 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients’ industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Throughout our 170-year history, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit