City firm Trowers & Hamlins has established a formal association with Qatari law firm Hassan Alkhater Law Office
A local presence will increase Trowers' chance of making successful bids on projects. To date, the firm has not been successful in a single bid for a project, said Nick Edwards, Trowers' international projects partner, who specialises in water projects and infrastructure. Trowers has a strong influence in the Middle East, with offices in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cairo, Dubai and Oman. Its head of international Martin Amison claims that the firm carried out half the total number of project financings in 2001 in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises most Middle Eastern states. This was based on research by the Middle East Economic Digest into the number of project financings.
"Hassan will get more local work as a result of our international client base, and we get more international work out of Qatar" Nick Edwards, Trowers & Hamlins
Commenting on the new association, Edwards said: "Qatar doesn't have much money to hand but has a lot of gas underground, so project financing makes sense as they're therefore earning as they go along. Most of the project financiers will have dabbled in Qatar. It will be easier for us to bid now for legal work in conjunction with Hassan rather than doing it on an ad hoc basis. "Hassan will get more local work as a result of our international client base, and we get more international work out of Qatar." Hassan has advised in Qatar on the privatisation of the Qatar telecommunications provider and in the setting up of the first privately-owned power and water desalination plant. Trowers plans to dispatch associate Joanne Addison to Qatar in the near future. The firm cannot establish an office in Qatar because local rules bar this. However, Hassan Alkhater, who established the Qatar firm, is a former Trowers lawyer, so connections run deep. Alkhater said: "The relationship with Trowers adds the regional and international dimension that will enable us to provide a more comprehensive legal service to clients doing business in Qatar."