(MENAFN – Arab News) Herbert Smith, a London-based law firm with over 1,200 lawyers in branches world-wide, has established a formal and exclusive association in Saudi Arabia with the Al Ghazzawi Professional Association (GPA), one of the Kingdom’s largest and leading law firms.

The move is part of the British firm’s plan to establish a strong regional profile, particularly given the rapid development of the Saudi economy. The move follows the successful launch of its Dubai office in early 2007. It is also on course to open its office in Abu Dhabi shortly, pending final regulatory approval.

“Given the tremendous expansion of the Saudi economy and the welcome influx of foreign companies into the country, we thought it important to link up our local expertise with the international capability of a firm like Herbert Smith,” said Belal Al-Ghazzawi, managing partner of GPA.The formal association was concluded after the UK firm visited the Kingdom recently on a trade mission sponsored by UK Trade and Industry.

Al-Ghazzawi said that he believed that the association would lead to the addition of a valuable dimension to the service his firm could offer to clients. Behind this expansion lies fast-growing demand across theو Middle East for international energy and projects expertise allied with a full-service law capability in corporate, finance and disputes work.

Herbert Smith’s formal association with GPA in Saudi Arabia will allow it to offer a combined international/local law service in the important Saudi and Gulf market. GPA is a full-service firm with a strong international profile which has approximately 30 lawyers spread across offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.

Neil Brimson, Herbert Smith’s Middle East head, noted that he felt fortunate to have secured an association in the crucially important Saudi market with a law firm of the standing of GPA. “Their deep understanding of the Kingdom’s expanding business sector and marked international outlook make them a good fit with us.”

Herbert Smith is not a new name to industry in the Kingdom. The majority of its high-profile work to date in Saudi Arabia has been the firm’s role advising Sumitomo Chemical in its $9.8 billion joint venture with Saudi Aramco to develop the Rabigh refinery and petrochemical plant.

Recent major work in the Middle East includes advising Hydrogen Energy, the joint venture between BP and Rio Tinto, on plans to build a clean power plant in Abu Dhabi, as part of the emirate’s Masdar multibillion dollar initiative to develop sustainable energy in the region.



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