How much do lawyers earn in UAE? (2020 Updated)

Many lawyers in the UAE are optimistic about the prospects of the region, particularly, which will certainly have a positive impact on legal recruitment throughout the Middle East, specifically within construction and corporate due to the large amount of investments that will be put into infrastructure projects over the next few years. The trend also continued throughout 2020 for international law firms to set up business here with a number opening new offices across the region.

International and local law firms continue to recruit across a variety of practice areas. Dubai remains the key hubs for legal recruitment with construction and corporate becoming focal practice areas for local and international law firms. In addition, there is always an interest in lawyers from top-tier law firms with strong litigation, international arbitration, oil & gas, project finance and banking experience.

How much do Lawyers earn in UAE?

The average earnings of freshly qualified lawyers in the UAE can range anywhere between AED 195,000 – AED 325,000. A 9 years experienced lawyer can earn as mush as AED 895,000 in a year. With flights, relocation packages and bonuses being offered in addition to taxfree salaries, the UAE remains an attractive option for lawyers who are considering relocating internationally.

Roles are increasingly becoming available due to expansion of teams rather than replacement, which is another sign of increasing optimism in the market. However, the bar for candidates still remains high with firms requesting experience from leading law firms along with first-class academic backgrounds.

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Lawyers qualified in England & Wales, Australia and New Zealand continue to be the preference for most top US and UK firms. There is an increasing appetite across law firms in the Middle East to hire lawyers that are already based in the region with previous experience and knowledge of the laws being very important. Another trend that continues is the requirement for bilingual lawyers, fluent in both spoken and written Arabic.
Partner recruitment is buoyant among US and international firms, but an established presence and portable following remains key.

The highest level of activity is still occurring at the junior/mid-level end of the market, with the majority of instructions being for lawyers with 1-4PQE.

In terms of what clients are looking for, Arabic language skills combined with a UK/US education continues to be the key criteria for most roles. Most of our clients, regardless of whether Arabic skills are required, want candidates to be already based in the region.

General Counsels, GCC wide, are on the whole very optimistic about the coming year, but the interview process is becoming longer and more stringent, perhaps to avoid some of the hiring mistakes that were made the last time there was buoyancy in the market.

lawyers in uae

Abu Dhabi and particularly Dubai remain very high on candidates’ list when considering a move to the region. The lifestyle in the Emirates is unparalleled and the amount of multi-national companies looking for lawyers to be based in the UAE is increasing.

The UAE used to be seen as a place to spend 2-3 years and then move on but due to there being more senior roles based there, coupled with a tax-free environment, candidates are happy to be based in the UAE for the foreseeable future.

With the UAE winning the rights to host the 2020 World Expo there is an increased surge in optimism and certainly sectors such as Construction and Real Estate will see growth.

How much do Lawyers earn in UAE with Private Practice?

Experience LevelYearly Salary (AED)
Newly Qualified195,000 – 325,000
1 Year 220,000 – 380,000
2 Years240,000 – 440,000
3 Years260,000 – 545,000
4 Years275,000 – 650,000
5 Years300,000 – 690,000
6 Years315,000 – 750,000
7 Years335,000 – 770,000
8 Years400,000 – 830,000
9 Years450,000 – 895,000

How much do Lawyers earn in UAE with International firms?

Experience LevelYearly Salary (AED)
Newly Qualified325,000 – 360,000
1 Year 390,000 – 450,000
2 Years425,000 – 545,000
3 Years460,000 – 595,000
4 Years515,000 – 700,000
5 Years540,000 – 755,000
6 Years565,000 – 795,000
7 Years615,000 – 820,000
8 Years660,000 – 900,000
9 Years780,000 – 950,000