Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has strengthened its Middle East real estate practice with two partner hires in Abu Dhabi.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East head of real estate David Nunn joined BLP earlier this month to take up a newly-created role as real estate head for the Middle East and North Africa. Before relocating to the region five years ago, Nunn, who was based in Abu Dhabi, was a partner at Simmons’ City arm for eight years.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Kamal is set to join BLP on 1 February from the Dubai office of Hogan Lovells, where he has been of counsel and head of real estate for the Middle East since 2009.

BLP Abu Dhabi head John Sipling said: “The built environment sector has been core to our strategy in the Middle East and we were looking for some real estate partners who could dedicate themselves full-time to growing this practice, so we took soundings from clients as to who they rated and hired accordingly. We will be hiring a handful of associates in the short term to support our new partners.

The hires will take the total number of partners in BLP’s Abu Dhabi office to four. The firm launched the emirate office in spring 2009.

Simmons has named Duane Keighran as its new head of real estate in the Middle East.

BLP’s Middle East hires are the latest in a number of international appointments in recent months, including a six-strong corporate finance team from Holman Fenwick Willan’s Singapore arm in November 2010 led by practice head Alistair Duffield.