Fasken follows Herbies by quitting Saudi alliance

Saudi Arabian firm Osool Law has terminated its agreement with Canada’s Fasken Martineau after two years, citing an “absence of joint strategy” as the reason the co-operation came to an end.

The news comes days after Herbert Smith Freehills announced that its exclusive association with Saudi firm Al-Ghazzawi Professional Association will come to an end in August as the two firms have “evolved in different ways” since the agreement was set up in 2008 (8 April 2013).

The Fasken-Osool agreement, managed by Fasken’s Paris office, was signed in March 2011. However, sources at Osool Law, which is based in Riyadh, said the Canadian firm marketed itself outside of the agreement and that a joint strategy could not be reached.

Insiders at Fasken said the reason for this was that a number of the firm’s Saudi clients wanted it to work with other people. “There’s nobody to blame here, it’s purely down to what our clients want,” said one source.

The firm’s Riyadh head, Paris-based Serge Gravel, said that Fasken’s revenues in the area have doubled over the last two years as the office specialises in infrastructure and construction, with recent cases including the multi-billion dollar Riyadh metro construction project, as opposed to the more crowded oil and gas industry.

Gravel also pointed out that westerners sometimes have “legends in their heads” about the situation for female lawyers in Saudi, adding that senior partner Anne Granger “is the one person to have gained top management by Saudi clients”.

Fasken has no plans to enter another formal agreement in the area for the time being. Osool, on the other hand, said it has already started negotiations with a number of international firms.

The termination notice was sent to Fasken this week and will be effective from the 15 June.