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How Helene Mathieu got her start in the UAE

Helene Mathieu is a Canadian lawyer who has been practicing law in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for more than 23 years. When Helene Mathieu first came to the UAE in 1994, she did so mostly because she wanted to work abroad. But little did Helene Mathieu know that she would eventually help pave the way for many other female lawyers as one of the first Western women to successfully obtain a professional trade license for a legal consultancy in the UAE.

When she decided to make this drastic career move, Helene Mathieu actually had to look at an atlas to figure out where the city of Dubai, where she would be working, is located. After all, the city had yet to gain much international recognition at that point in time. Her initial contract was only for six months with the option to stay longer if she pleased. Helene Mathieu loved her experience in Dubai and made the easy choice to continue practicing law there.

At that point in time, Dubai was under new leadership, and Helene Mathieu could see that the city was heading in the right direction and wanted to be part of the its progression. She did this by opening her own legal consultancy in the Middle East in February of 1998.

It was very difficult and took about a year and a half for Helene Mathieu to obtain her license for her legal consultancy, but once she did, the growth of Helene Mathieu Legal Consultants started in earnest. “Helene Mathieu Legal Consultants” was the name approved for the consultancy by the city of Dubai’s Economy Department, and initially, Helene Mathieu was concerned that the name could come off as self-centered. However, she eventually learned that the assignment of this name was a blessing in disguise. Soon, those in the Middle East looking for a female lawyer or a French lawyer would find Helene Mathieu, and would seek her out for legal advice. This might not have been the case if her name had not been in the consultancy’s title.

Helene Mathieu wanted to start her legal consultancy because she sensed that the role of lawyers was beginning to expand in Dubai as the country changed, developed, and opened up to the rest of the world. Her consultancy offers all legal services except for going to courts; this is because Helene Mathieu is not a licensed legal advocate; rather, she is a legal consultant who can provide legal help in other areas such as assisting individuals to prepare for court or those who are undergoing arbitration.

Helene Mathieu Legal Consultants aims to be a one-stop-shop for those in need of legal services and Helene Mathieu wants to be able to have a long-term relationship with her clients and assist them through all of their legal needs.