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Clifford Chance becomes first international law firm to establish a partnership in Saudi Arabia

6 January 2014

Clifford Chance becomes first international law firm to establish a partnership in Saudi Arabia

  • 50% of the Clifford Chance lawyers in Riyadh are Saudi nationals
  • New career opportunities created for Saudi law graduates
  • Mohammed Al-Jadaan to continue as special adviser to Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance today launched a joint Saudi and foreign owned law firm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a team of 30 permanently based Saudi and foreign lawyers. It is the first international law firm to do so. Mohammed Al-Jadaan remains special adviser to Clifford Chance and Khalid Al-Abdulkareem and Abdulaziz Al-Abduljabbar join Clifford Chance as partners.

The development is the next step in the evolution of Clifford Chance's long term connection with Saudi Arabia and part of its broader strategy for ambitious growth across the Middle East.

The first-of-a-kind partnership reinforces Clifford Chance's commitment to Saudi Arabia, creating new employment opportunities for Saudi nationals.

The new five partner team includes two of the leading and most awarded Saudi lawyers in the Kingdom, Abdulaziz Al-Abduljabbar and Khalid Al-Abdulkareem, and recognised English lawyers, Omar Rashid, Paul Latto and Tim Plews. The transactional lawyers of Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm, with which Clifford Chance has had a cooperation agreement since 1998, have all been integrated into the Clifford Chance practice bringing the total number of lawyers to 30 with 20 support staff – believed to be the largest private practice team resident in Saudi Arabia.

"Being able to offer clients the very best support in Saudi is critical to our commitment to the region. We are delighted that our new partnership combines top tier Saudi and international lawyers in a single partnership structure which is focused on the values and principles which our clients expect", stated Riyadh Office Managing Partner, Tim Plews

Mohammed Al-Jadaan remains Managing Partner of Al-Jadaan and, together with the Al-Jadaan team, will now focus on litigation, mediation, legal strategies and structuring focused advice. Mohammed will continue to support Clifford Chance in his role as special adviser.

Mohammed Al-Jadaan said, "This development is great news for the Saudi legal market and its young talent who will now have the opportunity to train with and develop their careers in one of the world's leading international firms, ensuring they benefit from an institutionalised career path. I am confident that the service offering of the team in Saudi will reach new heights now that it has the absolute commitment of Clifford Chance”.

Clifford Chance Managing Partner, David Childs said, "Clients are increasingly looking for sophisticated support from Clifford Chance in major fast-growing markets. Ambitious domestic organisations, such as those we advise in Saudi, as well as our multinational clients want us to be able to provide this combination of deep local expertise and broad-reaching international experience. As a result, we are committed to investing in developing our capabilities and talent base in these markets. I am therefore delighted that we are now operating a joint Saudi and international owned partnership and that we will be the first international firm to offer young Saudis the opportunity to develop their careers with us."

Clifford Chance continues to be recognised for its cutting-edge work in Saudi Arabia. In the past year, the team has advised on some the largest Saudi deals including the SAR15.2 billion GACA sukuk, Ma'aden SAR7 billion financing, SAR475 million Dallah Healthcare IPO, Savola Group's SAR1.3 billion acquisition of shares in Savola Foods Company and Azizia Panda United Company and continues to advise on the Jabal Omar development in the holy city of Makkah.

The Clifford Chance Saudi Arabia team has been consistently ranked Tier 1 for each of its practice areas by Chambers Global, IFLR1000 and Legal 500. The Clifford Chance Riyadh team has been part of the Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm that has won the prestigious IFLR “Saudi Arabian Law Firm of the Year” award for the past eight years.

Clifford Chance has in the past three years launched offices in Doha, Casablanca and Istanbul as it continues to serve clients across the Middle East and North Africa.