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The news that Linklaters has tied-up with Allen & Overy’s (A&O) former local sponsor in Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz AlGasim is best read with a little bit of context.
Around this time in 2011, Linklaters’ tie-up firm in Singapore, Allen & Gledhill, ended its 10-year relationship with the magic circle firm to hold talks with A&O. The talks collapsed months later, leaving Allen & Gledhill without an international partner, but the damage had already been done by the public nature of the tussle.
Now, it’s entirely likely that Linklaters’ decision to get cosy with A&O’s local sponsor in Saudi was one of necessity - the Saudi legal market’s not that big and suitable candidates are thin on the ground - and it’s no great controversy to say that Linklaters can be ruthless when the mood takes it. The firm appeared to have few qualms about snatching away Slaughter and May’s Australian best friend, Allens Arthur Robinson (what is it with these ‘Allens’?), earlier this year.
Hell, when it comes to the firm being ruthless, even Linklaters’ own partners know the score.
Still, it’s hard to believe that the irony of the firm’s new Saudi arrangement was completely lost on managing partner Simon Davies.
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