Vinson & Elkins eyes Saudi Arabia launch

The US firm already has Gulf offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but is looking to expand its presence into the region’s largest economy.

Vinson & Elkins Islamic finance partner Ayman Khaleq said: “We [already] have a solid Saudi practice and are looking to strengthen it. There’s a good chance we would look at making a serious assessment of having a Saudi office.”

The Saudi legal market is highly protected and international firms must sign up with a Saudi lawyer in order to open an office there. The US firm is believed to be talking with potential candidates with a view to establishing a tie-up.

With Dubai having stagnated and Saudi possessing enormous hydrocarbons wealth and growth potential, Saudi has become en vogue among the international legal community of late.
Clyde & Co, Eversheds and Lovells all recently launched in the country.