SJ Berwin eyes Riyadh launch post King & Wood Mallesons merger

SJ Berwin will open a second Middle East base in Riyadh following its merger with King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), which will go live on Friday (1 November).

Rob Day
Managing partner Rob Day

SJ Berwin has confirmed plans to expand its footprint in the Middle East to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The firm is planning to enter into an association with a local firm, which is yet to be named. The office is expected to be established at the beginning of 2014 and will be branded as King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.

Managing partner Rob Day said: “Our Middle East practise has grown successfully since we launched in 2009.  We are seeing increasing activity levels from clients based in the Kingdom, and of course Saudi Arabia itself is not only one of the largest markets in the region, but is also seeing a boom in projects activity. 

”With the additional benefit of our combination with King & Wood Mallesons and the ability to undertake cross border work between the Middle East and Asia, this is an obvious step to growing our presence in the region.”

The proposed Riyadh office will fall under legacy SJ Berwin’s European Swiss Verein umbrella. As part of the integration plan, SJ Berwin’s Shanghai operation will become part of King & Wood Mallesons’ Chinese arm, while its Hong Kong team will join the Hong Kong arm of the verein (31 July 2013).

SJ Berwin set up its first Middle East presence in Dubai in 2009 (6 April 2009), the same year when it opened in Shanghai (30 October 2009) and Hong Kong (23 March 2009). The Dubai office currently has five partners and 10 associates and counsel.

The Saudi capital has played host to a growing list of international firms. More recently, Squire Sanders (10 October 2012) and US firm Patton Boggs set up shop there (14 June 2012).