23 Aug 2016

Clifford Chance forges new association in Saudia Arabia

Clifford Chance (CC) has reworked its Saudi operations amid an investigation into its previous licensing arrangements in the region.

Fedor Selivanov

The firm has entered into an association with new Saudi firm Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani (AS&H) that will come into effect from 1 November. The new firm has been established by former CC lawyers Fahad Abuhimed, Majid Al-Sheikh and Mansoor Al-Hagbani, all three of whom will be partners. Mr Abuhimed, who had left his position as a deputy minister in the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment to launch AS&H, will serve as managing partner. The new firm will be based at CC’s existing office in Riyadh, with all Saudi lawyers currently employed in the city by CC transferring to it. 

Licensing controversy

The association will replace Al-Jadaan, the stand-alone Clifford Chance law firm that was licensed in 2013 by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment. The jointly Saudi and foreign-owned law firm was the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, but came under scrutiny earlier this year when local courts began reviewing the role of local officials in awarding the firm its license. A former employee of Al-Jadaan has alleged that the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment acted unlawfully in licensing the firm under the Professional Companies Regulation.

Sources: Legal Business; Legal Week