International law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) today announced the expansion of its specialist Middle East legal offering with the launch of three new Associations in Riyadh, Beirut and Kuwait City. The move significantly extends the firm’s geographical footprint across the Middle East region, now with offices in Dubai, Riyadh, Beirut, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, and further strengthens and diversifies the capabilities of the existing team, taking the total number of lawyers working across the region to 40.
Operating through associations with established local law practices Al-Enezee in Riyadh and El-Khoury & Partners (EKP) in Beirut, both of which have well recognised practices and a strong portfolio of regional business, HFW will continue to represent local businesses and government entities as well as multinational companies, financial institutions and private investors throughout the MENA region. The combined Saudi and Beirut-based team of 15 lawyers, led by Ziad El-Khoury alongside Khulaif Al-Enezee (Riyadh), Wissam Hachem (Riyadh) and Hadi Melki (Beirut) has more than 15 years ‘on the ground’ experience.
In Kuwait, the firm will operate through an association with Rula Dajani Law Office, headed by the firm’s Middle East Managing Partner Rula Dajani Abuljebain, to provide a range of onshore legal services across the firm’s core industry sectors, and including local litigation. Rula will split her time between Dubai and Kuwait.
Offering clients a unique blend of local market insight, industry expertise and commercial pragmatism, HFW’s Middle East team is ideally positioned to support local, regional and international clients with the full range of transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution legal services.
As Middle East economies continue to diversify, the financial and business regulatory environment throughout the region is expected to rapidly evolve over the coming years. Through its new associations, a significant strategic development for the firm, HFW is well positioned to support its clients through this transition. The firm’s capabilities span a number of sectors, including energy, construction and infrastructure, insurance, shipping, ports and terminals, aviation, corporate, commercial and finance, all of which continue to drive the Middle East regional economy.
“We recognise the importance of the Middle East region to world trade and as such, it has become an increasingly important part of our growth strategy,” said HFW’s Senior Partner Richard Crump. “The addition of these Associations rapidly moves HFW into the top tier of firms operating in the region in terms of geographical footprint and size of team, which in turn enhances our experience and language capability and, importantly, provides greater cultural understanding to better serve our full client base across the region.”
HFW’s Middle East Managing Partner Rula Dajani Abuljebain commented on the launch today saying, “The Middle East has vast potential for growth across a range of industries and it deserves specialist rather than generalist legal capability. Lawyers in our Middle East team have some 25 years collective experience of working in the region in our chosen industry sectors. We are therefore able to provide clients with legal advice which comes from a commercial understanding of the business environment in which they operate. Our clients have told us they find this combination invaluable.”
Ziad El-Khoury, lead Partner in the Riyadh and Beirut offices added, “At a time when the trend in the Middle East legal sector is to downsize or retrench, these Associations demonstrate HFW’s vision and commitment to Middle East region. They bolster HFW’s cross-regional service capability, and consolidate and complement already strong corporate, commercial, capital markets, energy and projects practices, and enable the firm to extend the reach of well reputed insurance, shipping, aviation and mining practices into Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Kuwait.”
Khulaif Al-Enezee, Partner of the Saudi association Al-Enezee commented : “We are delighted with our association with HFW. There is increasing room for specialisation in the Kingdom, particularly in terms of deploying economic diversity. Clients and government entities are looking for advisers who have the know-how and experience of working with global businesses in growth areas and being integrated into HFW’s global platform strengthens our capabilities significantly.”
The Middle East offers many opportunities for growth and these new Associations come just six months after the Saudi Stock Exchange, the Tadawul, opened up to foreign investors and at a time where the Government of Saudi Arabia is working to limit its reliance on hydrocarbons by driving growth and diversification across the private sector.
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