CMS has entered into an exclusive association with Saudi Arabian firm Feras Al Shawaf, giving the firm a presence in nine Middle Eastern countries.

The tie-up will see the firms refer international work between each other while Riyadh-based Feras Al Shawaf will handle CMS’s domestic work in Saudi Arabia.

The 11-strong firm, consisting of senior partner Feras Al Shawaf, two partners, seven lawyers and one counsel, provides CMS with its first presence in the region’s largest economy. CMS already has its offices in Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Turkey and the UAE, while its association with Al Jad provided associate offices in Lebannon and Iraq for over 10 years.

Feras Al Shawaf brings a wide range of practices to CMS: the firm listed corporate, TMT and finance among a host of other offerings.

Shawaf said: “CMS and Feras Al Shawaf have agreed to an exclusive association to seek and build on work opportunities in Saudi Arabia. With clients undertaking transformational projects as part of Vision 2030, Al Shawaf and CMS will bring their expertise together to better service those clients’ needs.

“Together with CMS, we can now offer our local and regional clients access to more than 4,500 lawyers worldwide who can support them with their business.”

The firm has expanded rapidly since announcing its three-way merger with legacy Nabarro and legacy Olswang. It now has 72 offices across 41 countries and opened its first office in Monaco after partnering with Pasquier Ciulla & Marquet in July.

Three Latin American firms also joined the CMS network earlier in the year.

CMS global development partner Duncan Weston said: “MENA is a dynamic growth region that is gaining importance for our clients and Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the region. Our Middle East offices, particularly the Dubai office, have been working with Feras Al Shawaf for some time.”