King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin (KWMSJB) has extended its footprint in the Middle East, through an exclusive association with the Law Office of Majed Almarshad in Riyadh.
Almarshad is a Saudi qualified of counsel, who has worked in the corporate practice of legacy SJ Berwin’s Dubai office since 2011. He will lead the new office, alongside new lateral partner hire Matthew Cavanagh who joins the firm in January from a global general counsel role at North American and European investment manager Christofferson, Robb & Company.
Cavanagh, who has previously worked at Linklaters and Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, has previously spent time working in Riyadh – specialising in particular in petrochemicals, oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure.
The office will focus in particular on the energy and infrastructure sector, housing its own regional projects team. It will specialise in corporate transactions, investment funds, financial regulation and dispute resolution. The office will also act as a centre for cross-border trade with an eye towards Middle Eastern, African and Asian markets.
While legacy SJ Berwin opened an outpost in Dubai in 2009, the merged firm’s Riyadh project marks the first time a global law firm headquartered in Asia has established a presence in the Kingdom. The new office will fall under legacy SJ Berwin’s European Swiss Verein umbrella (28 October 2013).
The Saudi capital has played host to a growing list of international firms. In 2013, Clifford Chance opened an outpost in the city (6 March 2013). Meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills and Fasken Martineau bought their Saudi alliances to an end citing strategic differences (11 April 2013).