Duane Morris enters Oman via joint venture with Al Mashaikhi

Duane Morris has planted its first flag in the Middle East by sealing an association with the Al Mashaikhi Law Firm in Muscat, Oman.

London partner Jeffrey Rodwell will relocate to Muscat to serve as managing director of the office alongside Al Mashaikhi founding partner Said Al Mashaikhi. It is not yet known if any London-based associates will be moving over with Rodwell, but the firm said in a press statement that it will coordinate its Omani involvement through London.

Under the new association the firm will be known as the Dr Said Al Mashaikhi and Partner Law Firm – a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) representative office of Duane Morris. The other five GCC countries are The Kingdom of Bahrain, The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, with the office able to provide legal advice across the entire region.

The firm’s chairman John Soroko said the two firms had been in talks for over a year, highlighting Oman’s “role in international commerce, affluent population and a modern, open economy,” as reasons why the firm sees the region as a hub for business opportunities. In a statement the firm said its interest in Oman was sparked by its relationship with ICT, LLC, an investment banking firm with “significant interests” in the country.

Earlier this year the firm opened in Palo Alto, California with the addition of former K&L Gates IP litigation partner Karineh Khachatourian, who became managing partner of the office (3 January 2013).

Rodwell was not available for comment at the time of writing.