Dr Maria Casoria, Ph.D., FHEA, ACIArb – Senior Consultant and Academic

Dr Maria Casoria acts as an independent senior business, legal, and internationalization consultant in addition to holding an academic position as Associate Professor of Law in Bahrain. Until mid-2023, she served as the Executive Director for Overseas Operations and a Visiting Professor of Law at West Virginia University (WVU) in the United States. Before joining WVU, she acquired academic, administrative, and legal practice experience in Italy, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Casoria holds a Bachelor of Law and International Organizations, a Master of Laws, and a Ph.D. in Markets Law, all from the University of Siena, Italy. She is an Italian-licensed Attorney and Mediator in Civil and Commercial Disputes, an Associate at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom.

Dr Casoria’s scholarship includes publications in both English and Italian on various topics in the fields of Commercial Law, Competition Law in Digital Markets, and Arbitration, topics on which she has also been speaking at international conferences. Amongst other accomplishments, she has been a Global Stiefel Fellow in Antitrust and IP Rights at the New York Law School – Institute for Information Law & Policy, USA, and she has actively contributed to research projects awarded the prestigious European Union Jean Monnet Grant with the University of Siena and other European universities and organizations.

Melanie Collishaw – Associate Director, Aldar Hospitality

Melanie Collishaw has more than 20 years’ experience working on high profile deals in both private practice and in-house on PFI projects such as the Home Office, HM Treasury PFI and a variety of health and education deals in central London.

She has provided construction, real estate and outsourcing advice as an in-house lawyer on numerous legal issues relating to Bouygues UK, the Olympic Delivery Authority, Lusail, Dubai Properties, and District 2020 in relation to their projects. She now works for Aldar Properties as Associate Director Legal advising on numerous strategic acquisitions, structuring, construction, real estate, and outsourcing matters, as well as being a board member of Aldar Hotels and Hospitality and Chairman of their audit committee.

Melanie is included in the Legal Business GC Power List Rising Stars and described as, "calm, methodical, very good technically." She has also been included in the GC Power List Middle East with the following write up:

"Proactive, positive and extremely professional’ and ‘one smart lawyer’, Melanie Collishaw has built a sterling international reputation for her role in major property transactions, with particular expertise in PFI schemes. As Dubai Properties’ legal head, she was an influential figure both in the real estate sector and the region’s wider in-house community. During her time at Lusail, Collishaw handled some of Qatar’s most significant projects, including the world’s largest global 25-year concession district cooling agreement. Her work in the 2012 London Olympic Project delivery team also received high acclaim. During her four years working on the project, Collishaw covered a broad spectrum of planning and operational issues, including the transfer of obligations for the Park’s legacy transformation and running."

Huw Davies – Barrister, Arbitrator and Mediator

Huw Davies qualified as a barrister in the UK in 1998 and has since practiced in both the UK and Qatar. Huw’s broad experience of employment issues, regulatory frameworks, corporate governance, commercial contracts, investment agreements and construction related matters, both within the public and private sectors as a lawyer, mediator and negotiator, has transitioned well into his alternative dispute resolution practice (

Huw previous worked in Qatar for ten years and has extensive experience advising both private and public sector firms in developing and securing commercial contracts and regulatory frameworks and translating complex legal and compliance requirements into practical solutions.

Prior to working in Qatar, Huw held a number of senior governmental positions in Wales, United Kingdom, working as a legal advisor to the government. Huw is an accredited Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) commercial mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a panel member of the London Court of International Arbitration, Qatar Chamber of Commerce, Sport Resolution and the International Court of Dispute Resolution Centre Qatar (Mediation).

Arnaud Depierrefeu – Partner, LPA Avocats

Arnaud Depierrefeu is a Partner in the Paris office of LPA-CGR avocat. His practice focuses on the Middle East region, with a particular focus on the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar where he was based and practised for 10 years.

With more than 20 years of private practice, Arnaud specializes in corporate structuring (establishing, transforming, and liquidating legal entities, negotiating joint-venture agreements) and in projects development in emerging markets, in particular in the energy, infrastructure, construction and defence sectors.

He also heads the firm’s Middle East Desk in Paris, set up to support the firm's French clients in the development of their activities in the Middle East but also Middle Eastern clients in their projects in France.

Before joining LPA-CGR avocats, Arnaud was a partner of Simmons & Simmons based in Doha and a member of the Energy & Infrastructure Projects team. Previously, he worked at Gide (in France and China) and then at UGGC law firm (in China and Qatar).

Dr. Radwa Elsaman – Rule of Law Advisor, Adjunct Law Professor at Cornell University

Dr. Radwa Elsaman is a legal professional, professor of law, and a Rule of Law advisor with a focus on the MENA region. She is currently an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School.

Dr. Elsaman has provided consultancy services to both governments and private sector entities. Her collaboration with USAID, the World Bank Group, the IDLO, the European Investment Bank, and the GIZ, spans multiple projects, including the automation of Economic Courts in Jordan, capacity building for judges in Egypt, economic stabilization support for Syria.

Earlier, Dr. Elsaman's tenure at international law firms, including Dentons and DLA Piper, focused on representing clients, primarily financial institutions and multinational corporations, in regulatory and transactional affairs.

Dr. Elsaman has delivered numerous specialized speeches at prestigious platforms and her writings have been featured in globally recognized law journals, including those affiliated with institutions like Cornell University, UCLA, Tulsa, George Mason, and more. She has been a valuable contributor to the Cambridge Handbook on Comparative Law, issued recently, and is presently working on the ABA's Franchising Guidebook. She holds memberships in diverse international professional associations and possesses legal licenses in multiple jurisdictions.

Dr. Luc Grynbaum – Head of the Department of Law, Economics and Management at Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Luc Grynbaum is an Associate Professor of Law Faculties at the University of Paris. He specialises in digital business law (including telemedicine), insurance and liability. He is also a member of the Law and Health Institute, University of Paris.

HHJ Christopher Grout – Circuit Judge, High Court of England and Wales

HHJ Christopher Grout Christopher sits as a Circuit Judge, assigned to the Southeastern Circuit, and is based at Woolwich Crown Court.

Prior to this appointment, he held fee-paid judicial posts as a Deputy District Judge, Deputy District Judge (Magistrates' Courts), and Recorder, and was the Registrar of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution from 2012-2022. Prior to that, he practised at the Bar, specialising in criminal defence work.

Christopher has a passion for advocacy and so, having previously held the post of President of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple's Mooting Society, regularly assists with advocacy training for undergraduates, graduates, and legal professionals.

Rima Hadid – General Counsel, Emirates Investment Authority; Governance Advocate | International Legal Consultant | Top 50 Most Influential Women in Finance in the Middle East | the Legal500 GC Powerlist

Rima Hadid is an accomplished legal advisor with comprehensive private practice and in-house experience gained over two decades, most notably in two key Sovereign Wealth Funds (“SWF”). She currently holds the position of General Counsel at the Federal Sovereign Wealth Fund of the UAE, where she leads Corporate Law and Funds specialists along with the Compliance function. Her role requires her to lead structural and corporate reforms on strategic government assets; review and advise on investment mandates in private equity, and other forms of liquid and structured investments; advise on all legal matters arising from the SWF’s implementation of the Federal government’s investment strategy. Rima has played an instrumental role in materialising local, regional and global M&A transactions throughout her career, across various sectors.

Yosr Hamza – Director of Legal & Compliance – Middle East, Gartner

Yosr Hamza is a bilingual multi award-winning tech legal director with both a private practice and in-house background.

Yosr has more than a decade of legal experience. She held various positions allowing her to gain significant experience in executive negotiations, legal risk management, corporate governance and compliance, crisis management and acting as a trusted business advisor to the C-Suite and top management. She moved in-house and played a key part in establishing and managing the legal, data protection, ethical, compliance & ombuds team supporting the Middle East
region in Gartner.

Yosr is a known champion women’s empowerment and creating opportunities for others who come from under-represented backgrounds (especially for those who are most marginalized and cast aside) to thrive throughout their career journey through mentorship, sponsorship and authentic storytelling. She co-established and leads Gartner Legal DEI Council. She currently serves on Gartner’s Gulf CSR Board Committee, the Board of Mosaic at Gartner ERG and Women at Gartner ERG. She is on the advisory board of the in-house community and the Juris Centre of Excellence for Legal Education and Training by Middlesex University. She is a Board Director for ACC MENA Chapter and serves on the leadership of New to In-House Network, International Legal Affairs Network, and the Women in the House Network.

Cassandra Heilbronn – CEO, Private Family Office

Cassandra Heilbronn is the CEO for a Family Office of a Saudi Royal Family, responsible for overseeing strategy, investments and general operations internationally. Prior to this, she practised as a lawyer in Australia and Saudi Arabia predominantly in Sports & Corporate Risk.

Cassandra acted as President of Women Lawyers Association of Queensland from 2016 to 2018 and has held a number of Board positions, in addition to various appointments, including the Judicial Appointment Advisory Panel by the Attorney-General of Queensland.

In 2022, Cassandra was named an Honourary Member of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland, the youngest to be awarded such membership in the association’s history. Cassandra was listed by Queensland Business Monthly as a ‘Top 20 under 40’ in 2017 and regularly features on the Who’s Who List of Australian Women.

Luigia Ingianni, Commissioner, QFC Employment Standards Office

Luigia Ingianni is an employment lawyer and policy maker with 30 years of exponential experience in labour laws, conciliation, mediation and adjudication of labour disputes, leadership, organisational behaviour and change management, across different countries and legal systems (common and civil law jurisdictions).

She holds a Master’s degree in law, a Post-Degree Master in Human Resources and Communication, an Executive Women in Leadership Program with London Business School, and is a qualified conciliator and mediator of labour disputes certified by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITCILO), trained by Harvard Law School – Program on Negotiation (PON) and accredited by the Centre for effective Dispute resolution (CEDR).
She has established the first administrative employment dispute resolution centre in the Middle East operating under the ILO guidelines and is also a certified ITCILO Participatory Gender Audit (PGA) Facilitator, specialised in gender and organisational change.

Policy maker and advocate for gender equality and women empowerment, Luigia has designed innovative legislation and policies with particular focus on gender equality, decent work, harassment and violence in the workplace, justice and partnerships - UN SDGs 5, 8, 16 and 17 - and is also a member of the WHO working group of the World of Work Dialogue.
Luigia is Adjunct Professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law and regularly lectures on employment laws, negotiation and mediation, gender equality and leadership at different universities including Qatar University, Carnegie Mellon University Qatar, Georgetown University Qatar, Aberdeen University and cooperates with the European University of Rome, HEC Paris, University of Parma and the ITCILO on topics related to the world of work.

Dr. Alia Jenayah – Legal Counsel, Alstom

Dr. Alia Jenayah has a diverse background, including in academia, in-house legal practice, and private law across various sectors. Armed with a 2017 Ph.D in public law from a joint program between both universities of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Tunis El Manar, Alia also holds an LL.M in International Business Law from Sorbonne/Assas International School and INSEAD in Singapore.

Alia’s pivotal in-house experience at Veolia Africa & Middle East Legal Department involved the entire lifecycle of projects, dealing with contracts like O&M and EPC agreements, responding to public tenders, and handling dispute resolution.

After several internships in English and French law firms like Clifford Chance, FIDAL, and DLA PIPER, Alia transitioned to the Paris Bar and spent significant time at Bird & Bird and Norton Rose Fulbright law firms, specializing in energy, infrastructure, and projects development and providing exposure to diverse projects in France, Africa, and the Middle East.

Currently, as Legal Account Manager for major clients at Alstom, Alia navigates legal aspects across infrastructure, signalling, rolling stock, and supplies in the transport sector. She has worked on projects such as the Grand Paris Express, promoting sustainable mobility and technological innovation.

Maria Kavaratzis – Head of Legal & Compliance MENA, CBRE

Maria Kavaratzis is the Head of Legal & Compliance MENA of CBRE, the global leader in commercial real estate services and investment. With over 20 years’ experience gained in private practice and in-house roles, Maria has provided her expertise in notable transactions, iconic projects as well as law reform initiatives.

Winner of Thomson Reuters’ Asian Legal Business Middle East “In-House Lawyer of the Year” award in 2021 and finalist of the “General Counsel of the Year” award at the 2021 The Oath Middle East Legal Awards, Maria is admitted as a solicitor and barrister in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia and has held a number of general counsel/head of legal positions in a variety of industries in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe.

As Head of Legal & Compliance of CBRE MENA, Maria leads a team of dedicated lawyers and compliance professionals and is responsible for all legal, governance and compliance for CBRE in the MENA region.

Dr Tenia Kyriazi – Deputy Director of Teaching & Learning at Middlesex University Dubai

Dr Tenia Kyriazi is the Deputy Director of Teaching & Learning at Middlesex University Dubai. She holds a PhD in International Law, an LL.M. in International Law with International Relations, an LL.B and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. She is also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). Dr Kyriazi is a member of the Athens Bar Association (Greece) and the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre.

Dr Kyriazi’s research interests include international human rights law, international organisations, international judicial organs, and legal education. Her work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals.

Oliver Mould – Managing Director, Head of In-House (EMEA), Jameson Legal

Olly has worked in the legal services sector for over 15 years, with the majority of his time spent founding and working for high-growth, entrepreneurial businesses. He is highly experienced in flexible lawyering, managed and outsourced workflows and legal technologies. He is incredibly empathetic to the challenges General Counsels face in today’s ever-changing legal landscape and has a wealth of experience helping lawyers to get what they want – and deserve – from their careers.

Olly has broad geographic experience and has founded, launched, and run businesses in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and the United States. He is well-versed in most regulatory regimes pertaining to legal services and ALSPs. He is currently the Interim COO of Jameson Legal – an award-winning legal recruitment business with a leading footprint in the Middle East. Jameson legal also has established flexible lawyering (JCS) and legal technology (JLT) brands, both of which are being rolled out on a global basis.

Catriona Nicol – Senior Legal Counsel, Qatar Financial Centre Authority

CATRIONA NICOL is a Senior Associate at McNair International, focusing on international commercial arbitration and litigation. She formerly practised as an associate at a global law firm in the City of London, providing general UK and international corporate tax, and at a US boutique litigation firm which specialised in high-profile, high-stakes litigation. She has written widely on matters relating to international arbitration and litigation, and taxation. She obtained her BA (Jurisprudence) from Oxford University in 2005 and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales in 2008 and the State Bar of California in 2011.

Elisabeth Sioufi – Commercial Lawyer and Human Rights Campaigner

Elisabeth Sioufi is a lawyer and member of the Beirut Bar Association since 1980, with expertise in Corporate Law, Human Rights Law, and International Criminal Law. She lectures on freedom of religion and human rights at the Faculty of Religious Sciences at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

Elisabeth is currently the Director of the Institute for Human Rights of the Beirut Bar Association and the President of the Women’s Committee at the International Association of Lawyers (Union Internationale des Avocats, UIA), where she was previously the President of the Human Rights Commission for five years. She is a consultant on human rights, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law. She has led many seminars and workshops in Lebanon and Europe. She has written articles on human rights issues such as human trafficking, violence against women, and children at risk, implementation of international conventions, human rights in places of detention, and prevention of torture.

From 2017 to 2018, Elisabeth was an advisor to Lebanon's Ministry of Human Rights Affairs. In 2018, she received the Gold Medal from the Beirut Bar Association for her achievements towards the Bar, and in 2014, she was awarded by the US Department of State for combating trafficking in persons.

Marieke Witkamp – Judge and Arbitrator

Marieke Witkamp is a Dutch trained judge, with five years of legal experience in the Middle East, an LL.M in US law and a Texas bar licence. She has more than 20 years’ dispute resolution experience in a wide range of commercial disputes.

Marieke gained her dispute resolution experience as a judge in the Netherlands, an attorney in Qatar, a lawyer in Texas, USA, and as in-house counsel in Qatar and the Netherlands. She now focuses on her work as an international arbitrator. Her areas of expertise are commercial contracts and maritime, insurance, construction and energy law.