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Clifford Chance announces association with AS&H in Saudi Arabia

22 August 2016

Clifford Chance announces association with AS&H in Saudi Arabia

Leading international law firm Clifford Chance today announced that it has entered into an association with the newly established Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm (AS&H) in Saudi Arabia.

The association will commence operations later this year. It will replace the stand-alone Clifford Chance law firm that was licensed in 2013 by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment.

AS&H has been formed by three past and present members of Clifford Chance's talented and widely recognised cohort of senior Saudi lawyers: Majid Al-Sheikh and Mansoor Al-Hagbani, along with Dr. Fahad Abuhimed, most recently a deputy minister at the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. Dr. Fahad is an alumnus of Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm, Clifford Chance's former Saudi association firm, and previously spent a year on secondment to Clifford Chance.

Robin Abraham, Clifford Chance Regional Managing Partner for the Middle East commented: "The wide-ranging Transformation Programme outlined by the Deputy Crown Prince in April this year is unlike anything seen before and presents tremendous opportunities for the economy, businesses and people of the Kingdom. We believe our new association with AS&H, the leading lawyers amongst the next generation of Saudis, will build on our existing market leading position as Clifford Chance to provide the depth and range of specialist capabilities that will be critical to our Saudi and international clients during this period of change."

As well as the existing services provided by Clifford Chance, the addition of Dr. Fahad Abuhimed means the new association will offer Saudi and international clients best-in-class support across legislative drafting, regulatory, public policy and dispute resolution legal services.

Dr. Fahad, Managing Partner of AS&H, added: "We expect the coming months and years to see a significant increase in the demand for legal services in Saudi Arabia, with a greater requirement for deep specialisation across a broader range of expertise. We are delighted that Clifford Chance has agreed to join with us to offer clients the breadth of legal services that will be needed. Together, we will offer clients a sizeable pool of talented Saudi and internationally-qualified legal professionals supported by experienced and committed leadership. We know the Clifford Chance team personally and respect their long-standing commitment to the Saudi market and the development of the Saudi legal profession. We are looking forward to working together to ensure a seamless transition for clients and staff when the new association becomes operational later this year."

Senior Clifford Chance Saudi partner, Khalid Al-Abdulkareem, will continue to contribute his in-depth expertise and insight to deliver a smooth and successful integration between AS&H and Clifford Chance. His tremendous track record in corporate and M&A law alongside his managerial experience will be paramount in supporting all stakeholders throughout the process of integration. Khalid explained: "My priority is to ensure that we continue to deliver world-class legal services to our Saudi and international clients and to build a new generation of capable Saudi lawyers. I am proud to support this association."

Between Clifford Chance and AS&H, the new association will have six partners, more than any other law firm in the Kingdom, offering clients the greatest depth of top Saudi and internationally qualified foreign lawyers as well as continuity and stability. The Saudi lawyers and business services staff currently employed by Clifford Chance in Riyadh will transition to AS&H. Clifford Chance partners Khalid Al-Abdulkareem, Omar Rashid and Mohamed Hamra-Krouha, along with Clifford Chance's internationally qualified foreign lawyers based in Riyadh, will continue to work alongside AS&H's Saudi lawyers. AS&H will operate from Clifford Chance's current offices at Business Gate in Riyadh.

The new association will replace the operating arrangements established by Clifford Chance in Saudi Arabia in 2013. Since that time, Clifford Chance's practice in the Kingdom has gone from strength to strength, consolidating a reputation established over many decades of engagement with Saudi clients. Since 2013, Clifford Chance has advised on major mandates such as the establishment of the Saudi Telecom Company's SAR5 billion sukuk issuance programme; the US$10 billion revolving credit facility for Saudi Aramco; and, the Public Investment Fund's acquisition of a US$1.3 billion stake in Korea's POSCO E&C. Clifford Chance has also invested in recruiting and developing both Saudi legal talent and internationally qualified foreign lawyers based permanently in Riyadh.

Robin explains: "Saudi Arabia is an important market for our clients and our firm, and we are committed to ensuring that we are best placed to support our clients' needs in the Kingdom. In the current environment, we believe that our association with AS&H provides the best platform for providing the range of expertise and continuity of first-class client service experience that underpins our firm."

The new association will provide support to clients across corporate / M&A, finance, equity and debt capital markets, anti-trust and competition, privatisations, financial services, real estate and construction, legislative drafting, regulatory, public policy and dispute resolution.