Construction boutique Fenwick Elliott mulls Doha launch

Construction specialist Fenwick Elliott is mulling plans to establish an international footprint with an office launch in Doha.

According to Fenwick Elliott’s senior partner Simon Tolson, the Aldwych-based firm is looking at opening an office in the Qatar capital in a bid to get more day-to-day work from its construction clients in the region. The launch would mark the first ever office expansion by the firm, international or otherwise.

“We’re looking at [opening] an office in Doha to act for our Middle East clients,” said Tolson. “The general view is that with most clients unless you’re on the ground then you won’t get the day-to-day work from them. So, we want to stick people out there – a couple of our partners and then hire a couple of local lawyers – and have five or six people based out there. But we’ll also have people flying out regularly.”

Fenwick Elliott specialises in contentious construction work, and handling a lot of oil and gas matters. Despite not having any international offices, the firm’s abbreviated LLP accounts for the 2011-12 financial year state that of the firm’s £9.6m turnover, £1.6m came from countries outside the EU but excluding north Africa, the US and Central Asia. Around £1.3m came from EU countries not including the UK.

In June, former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner Peter Gray, who was based in the firm’s Dubai office, instructed Fenwick Elliott construction partner Julian Critchlow in an attempt to claim over $180,000 in unpaid dues from the firm (14 June 2012).

News of Fenwick Elliott’s planned expansion comes after Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton yesterday announced that it had launched an office in Abu Dhabi (6 September 2012).