Birt joins from Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle where she was partner in Dubai. She previously worked at Freshfields’ London and Dubai offices. Birt has been brought in to help lead and enhance the commercial disputes practice in the Middle East.
Joining along with Birt is senior associate Matthew Harley whose practice focuses on commercial disputes, particularly disputes relating to Africa and the Middle East.
With over a decade of arbitration, mediation and expert determination experience in the Middle East, Birt has a broad commercial disputes practice in a variety of industry sectors including oil and gas, energy and water, construction and engineering, project development, distribution, and M&A.
She represents state, national and multi-national clients under the rules of the ICC, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, DIAC, ADCCAC, ICDR and UNCITRAL, with seats in the major arbitral centres as well as various GCC jurisdictions, and subject to numerous governing laws, including those of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the laws of England & Wales. Birt sits as an arbitrator in commercial disputes. She also has full rights of audience in the DIFC courts.
Her arbitration experience includes securing a favourable outcome for Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas in trifurcated LCIA arbitration proceedings concerning the public US$39 billion dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
In addition to her arbitration work, Birt advises clients under regulatory investigation, including from various EU competition authorities, the World Bank, and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK.
Sachin Kerur, Reed Smith’s Middle East office managing partner, said: “We have been looking for the right partner to grow our commercial disputes offering and Antonia is a perfect fit. She is a proven talent in the Middle East legal market with the skills required to advise our clients on their most complex disputes. Antonia has a reputation and track record in leading a successful commercial disputes practice. We are very pleased to have her on board.”