Clifford Chance ends Saudi links

Clifford Chance has ended its formal association with Saudi Arabian firm Salah Al-Hejailan with the departure of its resident partner Anthony Abrahams.

Abrahams has left Clifford Chance to join the Singapore office of Australian corporate law group Allens Arthur Robinson.

He had been with the firm for 23 years, spending over 20 years at the Paris office.

Abrahams, who is qualified in Australia and France, has spent the past two years on secondment with Saudi Arabian firm Salah Al-Hejailan, which was associated with Clifford Chance. A Clifford Chance spokesman said the association had since been “loosened” and Salah Al-Hejailan now handled referred work as a correspondent firm.

Abrahams was instrumental in establishing the association in 1978 but said Clifford Chance's decision to loosen ties did not affect his decision to leave.

“I'd really announced my intention to leave the firm when I went to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The Australian-born lawyer said he wanted to move closer to home and was travelling regularly from Singapore to Australia. He said he was attracted to Allens Arthur Robinson, a federation of five Australian law firms, because of the group's extensive involvement in Asia.

Abrahams is experienced in infrastructure law, specialising in construction, and is servicing French and European clients in Asia from the Singapore office.

“The infrastructure projects that Allens Arthur Robinson are most involved in are railway projects in Jakarta and Indonesia and hydroelectric and energy projects in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia,” he said.

Tim L'Estrange, managing partner of Allen Allen & Hemsley, a member of the group, said: “Anthony's practice has frequently involved joint ventures on large international projects, straddling a number of different legal systems. It is this experience with different systems which can be applied to the massive infrastructure deals being undertaken in Asia.”