Clyde & Co today (12 March) launches in Qatar, stealing Simmons & Simmons consultant David Salt to head the practice.
Salt is an influential figure at Simmons. He was instrumental in building Simmons’ Doha practice with partner Charles Pollok when it was set up three years ago and sources suggest that Salt’s move has unsettled Simmons’ Qatar-based senior associates, who may yet be tempted by a switch to Clydes.
“With David having been in our Qatar office from the beginning, he cast much influence over our associates, so there’s a real possibility that some will move over,” said a source at Simmons.
The loss of Salt, together with the possibility of associate defections, has left Simmons’ Qatar managing partner Andrew Wingfield unfazed.
“Of course it’s sad to see David go, but we’ll be continuing to grow and will expand the Doha office,” said Wingfield, who is currently in London interviewing for potential new recruits.
As revealed by The Lawyer (8 January), Clydes has committed itself to opening in March after being granted a licence by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority. The short lead time means that Salt, who was previously a Clydes partner from 1990 to 2002, is currently the only official Qatar lawyer.
As the firm opens its doors in Qatar today, the actual office will be tapping into its Dubai practice for lawyers, although it is said that lateral hires are imminent.
Partner Jonathan Silver, who heads the Middle East practice of 75 lawyers, including 13 partners, said: “Launching in Qatar is a natural extension of Clyde & Co’s Middle East operations and a major step forward in the development of the firm in the region.”