Having spent Friday afternoon dealing with the fall-out of the departure of four bank finance and capital markets partners for Latham & Watkins (see story), the firm’s beleaguered PR staff had some more troubleshooting this morning with the news that a further eight partners are to follow in their colleagues’ footsteps for the rival firm, revealed by The Lawyertoday.
The eight hail from four different offices and between them cover conventional and Islamic finance, project finance, energy and metals and minerals expertise.
What they share is considerable Middle East experience – one of the jewels in White & Case’s crown – where clients have included Saudi Aramco and Saudi telecoms company Mobily.
Half of them sit in the region, one of them – Mohammed Al-Sheikh – heads the firm’s Riyadh office and is also co-head of the firm’s Islamic Finance Unit. Another – Villiers Terblanche – runs the Abu Dhabi office. There is talk that assistants in the region may follow their lead.
Chairman Hugh Verrier told partners today via an email that the firm is dedicated to the Middle East practice and that no Middle East offices would close as a result.
But given that the Abu Dhabi authorities require a minimum number of lawyers for an office licence to be renewed and Saudi regulations stipulate that all international firms must have a local sponsor, any further departures could spell another manic Monday.
P.S. – Seems like another former White & Case energy man is on the move: DLA Piper partner Neil Upton is understood to be in advanced talks with Greenberg Traurig Maher. We’ll keep you posted.