Vinson & Elkins has hired White & Case capital markets partner Sami Al-Louzi to further develop its Middle East practice.
Al-Louzi, who joined White & Case in 2002, represents major corporates on capital markets work with clients including Saudi mobile phone operator Mobily. He joins Vinson as a partner.
Although Al-Louzi is based in Abu Dhabi he was resident in White & Case’s Riyadh office from 2002-08 and has a particular focus on Saudi Arabia, where White & Case has a tie-up with Mohammed Al-Sheikh.
Ahmed El-Gaili has also joined the firm as a partner from Sullivan & Cromwell’s London office, where he was a senior assoiate. He is an energy project development and financing specialist with experience working on the Dolphin project - a transational gas project in the Middle East. He has previously lived in Saudi Arabia for 16 years.
Vinson currently just has Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices, but has a stated aim to develop its Saudi practice further.
In an interview with The Lawyer last autumn the firm’s Islamic finance partner Ayman Khaleq said: “We [already] have a solid Saudi practice and are looking to strengthen it. There’s a good chance we would look at making a serious assessment of having a Saudi office.” (5 October 2009).
Lewis Jones, managing partner of Vinson’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices said: “Both Sami and Ahmed have strong experience, as well as deep personal and professional connections in the region, and share a significant interest in Saudi Arabia, which is a key market where we intend to grow our practice. We’re also delighted that, with the addition of these two talented lawyers, our group now uniquely includes four native Arabic speaking partners with significant international experience.”
It is understood that Al-Louzi’s practice brings in in excess of $3m per year, with sources claiming that his remuneration at Vinson is expected to be over twice that of the package he earned at White & Case.
White & Case confirmed that Al-Louzi had left the firm.