The firm, which has had an associate relationship with Fares Al-Hejailan for the past two years, has ended that tie-up for an exclusive relationship with The Law Firm of Salah Al-Hejailan (LFSH), which is run by Fares’s father Salah.
Under the previous arrangement Fares was Freshfields’ sponsor, while the magic circle firm also operated a non-exclusive strategic alliance with LFSH. The two firms are based in the same office building in Riyadh.
Joseph Huse, managing partner of Freshfields’ Middle East and North Africa practice (MENA), said: “Freshfields has known LFSH for more than 15 years and it’s been our preferred counsel for that time. Approximately two years ago we launched our formal presence in Saudi Arabia, which was undertaken through a licence of Fares’s. We saw this as a series of incremental steps leading up to full association [with LFSH].”
Fares, who set up his own law firm to allow the magic circle firm to practise in the kingdom will “essentially” discontinue that entity, according to Huse.
The MENA chief emphasised that Fares, now co-head of the firm’s Saudi corporate practice and a partner, is “one of the best and brightest upcoming Saudi lawyers”.
“We’re extremely excited about his career with us,” he added.
LFSH was established in 1967 and Salah was licensed in 1962. Asked whether the new Saudi sponsor was still practicing, Saudi managing partner Tobias Muller-Deku said that while Salah is not “in the office every day” he “still [does] case work”.