Herbert Smith is set to open an Abu Dhabi office in January with the intention of having a Saudi Arabian presence in due course.

Senior partner David Gold said the firm has already signed a lease for premises in Abu Dhabi and expects to have received its licence by the end of the year.

He added that the intention is to run the office as an extension of Dubai with the likelihood that two lawyers will move across on launch. In total the office will have five lawyers, with at least two transferring from London, and will focus on projects.

Herbert Smith opened in Dubai earlier this year after poaching finance partners Nadim Khan and Zubair Mir from Norton Rose. It has since strengthened its presence in the Emirate by transferring Paris-based international projects partner Neil Brimson, Tokyo projects partner David Laurence, London M&A and projects partner Stephen Rayfield and London litigation partner Craig Shepherd.

Gold said the firm will boast 30 lawyers in Dubai by the end of the year and as such is moving into new accommodation next month. Currently the firm is based in the Emirates Towers but has taken on larger premises in the heart of the financial district.

“Next we want to have a presence of some kind in Saudi Arabia, but are yet to work out what that will be,” Gold added.