Fast-growing Middle East firm adds former White & Case London litigation chief for City launch

Disputes heavyweight John Reynolds joins to launch Meysan Partners’ first office outside Middle East

John Reynolds Image courtesy of Meysan Partners

Fast-growing law firm Meysan Partners has hired disputes heavyweight John Reynolds to launch its first office outside the Middle East, in London.

Reynolds will serve as managing partner of the new office, which will focus on commercial and investor-state disputes for a range of clients including corporates, state-owned entities and high-net-worth individuals. He will also act as firmwide head of international disputes at Meysan, which has grown from a handful of lawyers to more than 140 staff across seven offices since it was founded in Kuwait in 2015 by former Carlyle Group general counsel Bader El-Jeaan and Abdul Aziz Al-Yaqout, who was previously Middle East regional managing partner of DLA Piper. 

El-Jeaan commented: “We’re proud of the success of our business in the [Middle East] but international expansion has always been part of our ambition. As a highly evolved and exciting market, London is an obvious choice that our clients want us to explore. We are confident that this will solidify and strengthen our offering to enable us to better serve our clients with their most complex and challenging disputes.”

Reynolds has joined the firm alongside an associate from London boutique Avonhurst, which he joined in 2021 to launch a disputes practice. Before that he spent more than 15 years at White & Case as head of the London litigation department and global co-head of the firm’s financial institutions practice. 

Described by The Legal 500 as a “titan of the London litigation landscape”, Reynolds is expected to grow the new office at pace and build out Meysan as a destination firm for corporate and M&A disputes, investor-state arbitration, finance litigation, shareholder disputes, investigations, crisis management, fraud and competition litigation and international commercial arbitration. 

Reynolds commented: “After 30 years at some of the world’s leading law firms, I am excited to bring that experience to Meysan to help build a business with real focus and momentum. Now, more than ever, London is one of the preferred locations for international litigation and arbitration, and remains a significant arena in international dealmaking. Couple that with the incredible pace of economic growth in the Middle East and its ascendency as a global powerhouse in business, and in law, and you have a unique market opportunity.”

Meysan said it was looking in London to match the rapid pace of growth it had achieved in the Middle East, where it has increased revenue by 230% over the past five years. The firm focuses on deals as well as disputes and said it was aiming to “attract some of the industry’s leading litigation and corporate teams who are looking beyond the challenges and established ways of working within larger rivals”. 

The firm launched a dedicated disputes practice in 2017 led by well-regarded partner Waleed Al Tattan and in 2019 marked its first international expansion with the launch of an office in Beirut. Since then it has also opened doors in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai and last year bolstered its litigation practice in Kuwait through a merger with local boutique Arkan Legal Consultants. 

El-Jeaan said: “The pace of change in our region, and in the legal profession more broadly, means that we’ve always been ambitious and progressive in our business. So, as our region grows its reputation, we’re hoping to attract people who crave that momentum. We think that it’s an exciting proposition.”

An Avonhurst spokesperson said of Reynolds’ departure: “We wish John every success in his new venture.”

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