Allen & Overy launches Riyadh office

Law firm Allen & Overy is the latest international professional services firm to open an office in Saudi Arabia.

According to Allen & Overy, the office opening in Riyadh is designed to demonstrate the “growing significance” of the region for its clientele and to “solidify its foothold” in the region.

The Saudi business is the firm’s third Middle East office alongside existing offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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It will be led by corporate and commercial partner Hosam Ibn Ghaith alongside Haris Meyer Hanif who joins from Freshfields where he was head of finance.

The move comes ahead of Allen & Overy’s planned merger with Shearman Sterling which would create a global law firm with more than US$3.5 billion in revenue.

The office opening also comes four years after Allen & Overy’s termination of an alliance with local law firm Khoshaim & Associates in favour of collaborating with a “broader spectrum of law firms within the kingdom”.

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Allen & Overy joins a number of asset managers, asset servicers and investment banks that have recently opened an office in Saudi Arabia.

One reason for this trend is the Saudi government’s initiative to encourage more firms to set up a physical presence in the kingdom by ruling that any firms wishing to tender for state-backed projects must have their regional headquarters based in Saudi Arabia.

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