Clifford Chance brings Saudi ally team aboard for mixed practice launch

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  • I know it is important to constantly talk things up as being "first of a kind" or "taking things to the next level" when writing articles about Saudi Arabia.

    But how exactly is this different from the structure being used at A&O, Jones Day, Fulbrights and any number of other firms where the local Saudi partner is also a partner in the international partnership? Can you explain this to me please?

    To me, it just looks like a couple of the Saudi partners have changed their hats to CC hats while the others still have their Al Jadaan hats on. Hardly a ground-breaking change is it? Or am I missing something significant?

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  • This new arrangement doesn't appear to require a local sponsor. Maybe they got permission to set up a new entity without local sponsorship.

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  • CC's restructured operation will be a locally registered professional partnership in which CC can own up to 75% of the shares and Saudi nationals who are licensed as lawyers in Saudi Arabia must own at least 25% of the shares. This differs from all other international firms' operations, who have associations with locally admitted lawyers, but who do not themselves have a presence in Saudi Arabia.

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  • Thanks. The fact that it is a PSC was not clear from the article itself.

    I wonder how long it took between application and approval.I heard about DLA applying for a PSC some years ago, but never heard the outcome.

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  • - Integration does not hinge on whether the legal structure is a local partnership or an unincorporated JV with a local partner.

    - Integration comes down to having a ‘one team’ approach, instead of having Saudi lawyers who are pigeonholed into local law advice.

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  • - For all the marketing rhetoric about its new corporate structure, CC and Al Jadaan remain two completely different organizations – where the Saudi part acts as local counsel while the bulk of the transactional stuff is done by a few international lawyers on the ground and, for the most part, out of CC Dubai. The same division of labour essentially applies to the other Magic Circle firms, e.g., A&O, Freshfields and now Links. The rest is really PR fluff.

    - Only a handful of international firms actually train and integrate Saudi lawyers as part of their international team on the ground. These tend to be US firms – especially Latham and White & Case. Baker McKenzie is trying. In other words, US firms work harder on achieving integration, e.g., by having local lawyers work on deals alongside international lawyers, as opposed to having a ‘local team’ and an ‘international team.’

    - Independent local firms that have international lawyers also tend to work harder on integration than the MC firms.

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  • Ben, you're more likely to get a Saudi lawyer working on your deals with A&O and Freshfields than with Latham's or Baker's. It's a matter of which lawyers are working where at a given time rather than "American v British".

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