Addleshaw Goddard signals Middle East ambitions as it adds partners from Bracewell and Latham & Watkins for Riyadh debut

UK firm’s fourth office in the region to launch with five partners and eight-strong team of lawyers and paralegals

Ibrahim Siddiki(l) Homam Khoshaim Images courtesy of Addleshaw Goddard

Top 25 UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard (AG) is making a major play in the Middle East, hiring a trio of partners from rival firms including Latham & Watkins to open an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

The office will be AG’s fourth in the region – where it also has bases in the UAE, Oman and Qatar – and follows the firm more than doubling its MENA revenue in the past decade. 

The new office will be led from Dubai by Andrew Johnston, AG’s head of Middle East and Asia, who will divide his time between Riyadh and Dubai. 

The firm has also hired a trio of partners for the launch – Ibrahim Siddiki, who joins from Bracewell in Dubai, where he led the Saudia Arabia corporate M&A practice; Homam Khoshaim, an M&A specialist formerly at Latham & Watkins; and a banking and finance lawyer joining imminently from a US firm. Projects & infrastructure partner Alex Sarac completes the five-strong partner group and is relocating to Riyadh from AG’s Dubai office.

Johnston said: "Establishing an office in Saudi Arabia is a direct response to existing client demand and a decisive next step for our business in the Middle East, allowing us to better serve existing and future clients. 

“We have seen MENA revenue more than double in the past 10 years, and we have ambitious plans to grow revenue by at least 60% in the next five years. Accordingly, Saudia Arabia is an important market for us to be in as we strive to achieve our strategic ambitions in the Middle East."

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AG's presence in Saudia Arabia, the fastest growing country in the G20, is still subject to regulatory clearance. The firm said that its intention is to provide clients in the Kingdom with a full-service capability in order to support a wide range of inbound and outbound assignments.

The firm will hire eight mainly Saudi lawyers and paralegals for the new office to support the partners. The Riyadh team will offer services in corporate, banking and finance and infrastructure assignments and has sector expertise that AG said aligns closely with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 development drive, including in energy, oil and gas, renewables, infrastructure, transport, technology, hospitality, manufacturing and consumer goods.

News of AG’s planned Saudi Arabia launch follows a concerted expansion effort by the firm in Europe last year that saw it open offices in Germany in Frankfurt and Munich, set up shop in Luxembourg and establish a presence in Dublin through a merger with top local firm Eugene F Collins. 

US law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan also looked to Saudi Arabia recently, hiring Saudi litigator Nasser Alrubayyi as a partner last year to open an associated Riyadh office

And at the end of 2021 UK law firm HFW added finance expert Euan Pinkerton from Baker Botts to launch an on-the-ground transactional offering in Riyadh. 

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