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Trowers & Hamlins has announced the closure of its Cairo office, citing uncertainty over the long-term outlook for Egypt.
In a statement issued today (3 January) the firm said with effect from 31 December 2013 “no further work” would be carried out by Trowers & Hamlins in Egypt. Resident managing partner Sara Hinton and “a number” of other Cairo-based fee-earners have joined local firm Ibrachy & Partners. Trowers said it would cooperate on a best friends basis with the lawyers and Ibrachy in the future.
Managing partner Jennie Gubbins said the firm had temporarily closed in Cairo last year as a precaution due to the ongoing unrest in Egypt and to ensure the safety of its staff. She added: “Although the situation has improved somewhat since the January 2011 revolution, the longer-term outlook for the country remains uncertain.”
The past two years have seen significant change in the firm’s presence in the Middle Eastern region. Trowers has lost partners to Addleshaw Goddard, which opened in both Dubai (11 July 2012) and Oman (15 January 2013) with hires from the firm. It also terminated its alliance in Riyadh after a number of departures (23 February 2012) while former Saudi Arabia head Adrian Creed left for Clyde & Co (11 January 2012). The firm previously closed its Jeddah office in 2011 (23 May 2011).
Trowers’ decision to close in Cairo leaves Dentons as the only international firm with an office in Egypt, although others including Baker & McKenzie, Crowell & Moring and DLA Piper have a presence via local associations. Last year Norton Rose Fulbright (7 June 2013) and Shearman & Sterling (10 June 2013) also indicated a desire to launch in the jurisdiction.