White & Case in limbo in Saudi Arabia

White & Case has ended its Saudi Arabian association with Waleed Al-Nuwaiser after five years.

The US firm partnered with Al-Nuwaiser after Latham & Watkins poached its former associated partner Mohammed Al-Sheikh, but the alliance broke down late last year, The Lawyer can reveal.

At the time Latham also picked up partner Christopher Langdon and the majority of the associates at White and Case’s Riyadh office.

A White & Case spokesperson said: “White & Case continues to provide Saudi and international law advice to our clients. We’ve agreed a new association in Saudi Arabia and it’s business as usual for our clients.”

It is unknown which firm White & Case has agreed to work with and when the relationship will come into effect.

Saudi Arabian law requires foreign law firms wishing to operate in the kingdom to either work alongside an associated domestic firm or set up a joint venture. The joint venture model requires a Saudi national who works in the legal profession to own at least 25 per cent of the share capital of the firm. So far only Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co have opened a joint venture in the Kingdom.

White & Case has had a presence in Saudi Arabia since 1989.

Last week The Lawyer revealed that Clifford Chance’s joint venture was under threat after the Saudi Ministry of Justice launched an appeal to overturn the decision which granted the magic circle firm its join venture licence.

The appeal was launched after Clifford Chance Saudi partner Abdulaziz Al-Abduljabbar left to start his own firm in December.