Jones Day awaits ruling on Saudi negligence claim

Gouldens' US merger partner Jones Day Reavis & Pogue has been hauled over the coals in a High Court case in which it was accused of professional negligence

The US firm, together with a former Jones Day lawyer, was accused by the Saab brothers of acting for both sides on a share placement they made with the Saudi American Bank.

The key witness was former Jones Day of counsel Mohamed Amersi, who spent five days on the stand.

While Amersi and the firm deny the allegations, when asked what the firm's policy on conflict checks was, Amersi replied: “It was not common for lawyers to get involved in at least what I understood to be filling out forms, of which there were quite a few.” He indicated that the issue was left to secretarial staff.

On the second day of his cross-examination, Amersi was asked whether he gave any thought to the professional conduct rules he would be bound by while working for Jones Day in Saudi Arabia.

He replied: “The thought never crossed my mind. I can't recollect that I looked at a rulebook to see how I'm supposed to conduct myself.”

At the end of the hearing, lawyers for the Saabs tried to amend their claim and plead fraud and dishonesty. However, Mr Justice Smith declined to allow this on the basis that Amersi had already left the country.

The case was vigorously contested by Jones Day through its law firm Richards Butler and Stephen Rubin QC of Fountain Court. A ruling is expected this week.