Getting into a job as a lawyer in UAE is more complex than it may seem. It is a challenging and competitive market, and the bar is high. To make it in the UAE, more than having a good degree and a few years of experience are required. It is also important to have an affinity for the Arabic language, as this is a key requirement for most roles.
Many law firms in the Middle East are expanding their teams and hiring in various practice areas. These include banking, oil and gas, construction, IT, and corporate. The market is a bit slow at present, but optimism is growing. Several top-tier law firms are now establishing offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh. They are always interested in lawyers with litigation and banking experience.
If you are planning to work in the Middle East, you should have a clear understanding of local law and a good grasp of Arabic. It is also a good idea to develop your drafting skills. Translating legal documents into Arabic is especially useful in the UAE.
In-house jobs are another option for experienced lawyers. These jobs are generally 10-20% lower than in-house salaries in other countries. They are available at the start of a career, and the pay can vary depending on the nature of the organization. Traditionally, firms offered substantial ex-pat packages, but these have fallen recently.
A large number of employers can secure residency visas for their employees, which can be a key advantage for a lawyer looking to move to the region. These visas allow you to live and work in the UAE for a certain period. For most employers, you can stay for a minimum of two to four weeks. Depending on the firm, you may be required to pay a fee for your accommodation and other services.
The salaries of lawyers in the UAE are high. They can expect to earn between AED 195,000 and AED 325,000 per year. The salary can be as high as AED 895,000 if you have nine years of experience. For most in-house jobs, the salary does not include the cost of housing or allowances for private medical insurance.