A&O stays true to strategy with Istanbul launch

Allen & Overy (A&O) is launching an office in Turkey as the firm pushes ahead with its strategy to target growth markets.

The Istanbul office, which is expected to launch next spring, will only advise on English law, particularly project finance, capital ­markets, general lending and M&A. Local bar rules prohibit foreign firms from opening directly and ­practising local law.

London banking partner Charles Lindsay will move to Istanbul to lead the office. Senior associate Karen Lee, who specialises in capital markets, and banking ­associate Seyda Duman, a fluent Turkish speaker, will also make the move.

Global managing partner Wim Dejonghe said the firm has been looking seriously at Turkey for a year.

“Turkey’s strong economy, extensive privatisation programme, pressing demand for infrastructure investment and emerging status as an energy hub all present an immense opportunity for both Allen & Overy and our clients,” he said.

Asked if the firm’s plans in the country extend to tying up with a native firm and practising local law, he replied: “I’m not saying we’re going to do it, but we’re openminded about it.”

Following the launch A&O will have 40 offices worldwide. Dejonghe said that, although the economic climate may affect short-term plans to target growing economies, nothing has changed in the long term.

DLA Piper (The Lawyer, 23 February 2010) and Clifford Chance (25 November 2010) have both opened offices in Turkey in ­association with local firms.