Michael Chong

Michael specialises in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, and general corporate advisory matters, with a diverse clientele spanning sectors such as hospitality, information technology, government, and finance.


Before joining Afridi & Angell in 2024, Michael honed his expertise in international law firms in Singapore and Australia, where he focused on guiding clients through cross-border deals and regulatory challenges. His experience includes navigating complex legal issues and managing high-risk transactions.


Michael resided and worked as a legal consultant in Dubai, including at Afridi & Angell, from 2007 to 2014. He later moved to Singapore and then to Australia, where he served as a special counsel at a prominent legal services provider before returning to Dubai in 2024.

Alex Grant

Alex specialises in cross-border and domestic corporate transactions and has experience across a range of practice areas including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, warranty and indemnity (W&I) transactions, corporate restructurings, capital raises, and the formulation of comprehensive corporate and commercial agreements. His experience includes working across a range of jurisdictions and he is capable of navigating complex legal frameworks and ensuring the success of a range of diverse corporate ventures.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell in 2023, Alex spent four years as an associate in the corporate team of the London headquarters of a leading international law firm.

Doneen Ennis

Doneen is a real estate associate based in Dubai. Her expertise encompasses a wide range of areas and she excels in skilfully navigating intricate corporate and property landscapes.


Doneen’s notable experience includes advising on large real estate investment sales and purchases (including mixed-use, industrial, and office sites), conducting corporate real estate due diligence reports for a large international hotel group, and preparing high-level due diligence reports for financing matters related to real estate assets.


Doneen’s proficiency shines through in asset management, where she has acted on behalf of a diverse range of clientele, including real estate funds, large landed estates, private investment groups, and technology companies. Her capabilities extend seamlessly across retail, F&B, industrial, and office sectors, involving tasks such as leases, lease renewals, deeds of variations, licences for consent, and power purchase agreements. Her commitment to excellence and comprehensive skill set make her an invaluable asset in the field of real estate law.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell in 2023, Doneen spent several years as an associate in the commercial real estate departments in the London office of two UK-based law firms.

Manaf Khreis

Manaf advises on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures, as well as handling litigation and arbitration disputes.


His practice extends to regulatory and compliance, corporate governance, international transactions and corporate finance. Notably, Manaf’s experience has been instrumental in facilitating complex deals for clients across various industries including banking & finance, media & telecommunication, insurance and food industry. He has successfully represented clients in multi-million-dollar transactions, leveraging his expertise in structuring deals, drafting and negotiating agreements, and navigating regulatory requirements.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell, Manaf spent five years in both inhouse and private practice positions where he played a key role in developing bespoke legal solutions for corporate and commercial clients.


Some of Manaf’s representative matters include:


  • Advised an Abu Dhabi-based company on its acquisition transaction of two companies in England and Lebanon.


  • Performed a thorough exercise for a Forex Broker in Abu Dhabi including reviewing the Client Agreement and its policies pursuant to the SCA Rulebook Guideline.


  • Drafted employment and human resources policies for a UAE bank and provided consultation on its internal employment disputes.


  • Advised a local media company on an acquisition transaction of two companies in England and Lebanon.


  • Advised a bank on a USD 3.5 billion revolving credit facility where the bank was lead arranger.


  • Drafted Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism policies to meet the requirements of Abu Dhabi DED and ADGM regulations.


  • Advised the Capital Bank of Jordan on the sale of 24 per cent of its share capital to the Public Investment Fund (Saudi Arabia) valued at USD 185 million through a new share subscription.


  • Advised the Capital Bank of Jordan on its merger with Société Générale, valued at USD 220 million.


  • Advised Capital Investment, a subsidiary brokerage company operating in Jordan and the DIFC, in relation to its financial projects and transactions.


  • Incorporated and registered BLINK TradeMark, a digital bank owned by the Capital Bank of Jordan. BLINK is the first digital bank that offers credit lending in Jordan.

Luca Rayes Palacín

Luca specialises in corporate and commercial transactions, fund finance and formation, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures, offering comprehensive legal expertise.


His practice extends to regulatory advice, compliance, corporate governance, and boardroom advisory. Notably, a substantial portion of his work carries an international dimension.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell, Luca spent four years in the corporate team of an international law firm with an office in Abu Dhabi.


Some of Luca’s representative matters include:


  • Advising the subsidiary of a listed provider of energy resources on a financing and supply project in South America.


  • Providing ongoing advice on the incorporation, governance and good standing of different ADGM-domiciled investment vehicles.


  • Assisting a Turkey-based fintech provider in the implementation of a DIFC-based Joint Venture.


  • Advising an investment banking provider and listing consultant with respect to SCA-related obligations following a dispute arising from the listing of a company on ADX.

Maria Palmou

Maria is a senior associate with a diverse range of expertise, which enables her to provide counsel across various facets of the law. Her corporate and commercial proficiency encompasses the drafting, review, negotiation, and advisory aspects of a wide array of commercial contracts and proposed transactions. Maria excels in developing negotiation strategies, drafting board resolutions, and analysing proposed transactions, distribution and cooperation agreements, MOUs, and shareholders agreements.


With a background in advising and representing clients in commercial disputes, Maria is well-versed in international and domestic arbitration proceedings under the DIAC, LCIA, and ICC. Her substantial involvement in arbitration and court litigation processes and her experience in mergers and acquisitions equip her to offer clients a comprehensive skill set.


Maria is a frequent speaker at legal and industry-focused conferences, often presenting at legal training events. Her clientele in the UAE includes local government entities, private companies, investors, as well as contractors and developers. She also brings extensive experience in advising SMEs on sales and purchase agreements and transfer of shares transactions.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell, Maria spent five years as an associate in the corporate/commercial team of a legal consultancy firm in Greece and eight years as a senior associate in the Dispute Resolution Department of a legal consultancy firm in the UAE.


Some of Maria’s notable matters include:


  • Counselled a major Dubai free zone authority in a DIAC arbitration (DIAC, UAE law) in a dispute relating to non-payment of rent following the termination of a commercial land lease in Dubai. The lease was categorised as a Musataha agreement under UAE law and was valid for a period of 50 years.


  • Advised and acted for the Claimant in a shareholders and employment dispute relating to a restaurant business in the DIFC.


  • Provided counsel for the Second Defendant in a case with freezing orders with a penal notice issued by the DIFC Courts against the First Defendant and the Second Defendant to not dispose in any way, deal with or diminish the value of any of their assets which are in the DIFC or outside the DIFC on the basis of a judgment and a worldwide freezing order granted by the Courts of England and Wales.


  • Advised and acted for the Claimant in a dispute relating to the construction of a major commercial and residential building in Al Barsha South (Dubai) and, in particular, concerning issues of entitlement to an extension of time, additional costs, variations, liquidated damages, and claims of defects.


  • Advised and represented the Claimant against the employer in Dubai Courts (proceedings filed by the employer in breach of the arbitration agreement and potential arbitration).


  • Advised and acted for the Respondent in a DIAC construction arbitration in final award set-aside application proceedings.


  • Advised and acted for the Claimant in a DIAC commercial arbitration in the recognition and enforcement of a final award application proceedings.


  • Advised and acted for the Claimant, a leading owner, developer and asset manager of hotels in the Middle East and Australia, in a dispute relating to the construction of a hotel in the UAE.


  • Advised and acted for the Defendant, a distributor and wholesaler provider in Dubai, in a dispute in the Dubai Courts concerning a breach of a loan agreement, breach of a distribution agreement and default in a share purchase agreement.

Noran Al Mekhlafi

Noran is an associate based in Afridi & Angell’s Dubai office and practices in the dispute resolution team. With over five years of experience in dispute resolution in Dubai, Noran specialises in DIFC litigation and arbitration disputes. She has particular experience in areas of commercial, employment, and construction disputes, and holds a strong track record of working in several complex high-profile cases in the DIFC Courts.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell, Noran spent four years as an Associate in DIFC litigation and arbitration in the Dubai offices of UAE-based law firms.

Stanley Andrew Lee Schama

Lee is a barrister from the UK who specialises in complex and high value disputes and his practice extends across a broad range of commercial law, both in advice and advocacy. His work is principally focused on:


  • international and multi-jurisdictional banking disputes


  • corporate and personal insolvency


  • money laundering and asset tracing


  • commercial and white collar crime


  • general commercial disputes involving breach of contract, breach of trust, negligence and aspects of residential and commercial property law.


Lee’s practice also encompasses several niche areas including defamation, aviation, competition, intellectual property and trademark infringement, and taxation.

Stephanie Nazareth

Stephanie joined Afridi & Angell in 2023. She advises clients in domestic and cross border transactions in connection with acquisitions, divestitures, mergers and corporate restructuring matters. She has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating various legal documents including sale and purchase agreements, joint venture agreements, shareholder agreements, escrow agreements, corporate guarantees and non-disclosure agreements.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell, Stephanie was an associate at a leading law firm in Mumbai. She has extensive knowledge and experience in relation to general corporate, mergers and acquisitions and private equity laws and practices in India.


UAE experience:


  • Advising a construction engineering company on its joint venture with a local engineering and construction company in Abu Dhabi.


  • Advising multiple foreign companies on the establishment and incorporation of special purpose vehicles/holding companies in the Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM).


  • Advising a foreign company on restructuring and transfer of  interests in group companies located in the UAE free zones.


India experience


  • Representing an investment advisory firm on its fund raising through the issuance of optionally convertible redeemable preference shares.


  • Representing a private equity fund on its minority investment in a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.


  • Represented Reliance Retail Ventures Limited along with its wholly owned subsidiary, Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited, on acquisition of the entire retail & wholesale, logistics and warehousing business of the Future Group. Assisted in due diligence of Future Consumer Limited and assisted in review of disclosure letter under the transaction documents.


  • Representing Vopak India B.V. on its acquisition of 49 per cent shareholding in a pan-India joint venture entity with Aegis Logistics Limited which created one of the largest independent tank storage companies for LPG and chemicals.

Ramesh Fernando

Ramesh has considerable experience in litigation and dispute resolution, with extensive abilities in contract negotiations and large-scale disputes. Ramesh has also advised and drafted legal opinions and agreements for large multi-national corporations and other non-governmental entities and investors when retained to advise on potential legal issues, regulatory steps, and changes to applicable legislation.


Prior to joining Afridi & Angell in 2022, Ramesh practiced law in Sri Lanka as an Attorney-at-Law / Legal Counsel in the Chambers of Mr. Geoffrey Alagaratnam, President’s Counsel, during which time Ramesh was involved in several landmark pro bono public interest litigation cases before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. These included cases filed against public authorities for gross negligence in failing to prevent the Easter Sunday bombings of April 2019, as well as the petition challenging the President’s unconstitutional exercise of power in pardoning former Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake.


Ramesh was also the Research Assistant to the Commercial Law Reforms Sub-Committee of the Ministry of Justice Sri Lanka which was tasked with advising the Minister of Justice on commercial law reforms and drafting several pieces of legislation including a new Arbitration Act and a Mediation Act.


From 2017 till 2022, Ramesh lectured on company law at the Royal Institute of Colombo.