US firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle has become the first international law firm to open an office in Turkmenistan.
The firm has launched in the Central Asian state with five full-time associates, two relocated from other Curtis Mallet-Prevost offices and three hired locally. Istanbul managing partner Ali Gursel will spend the majority of his time in Turkmenistan, with another Istanbul-based lawyer also splitting time between the two offices.
The venture came off the back of advice provided to the Turkmen government. Gursel explained that Curtis Mallet-Prevost specialises in acting for foreign sovereign states on arbitration and other issues, and first picked up Turkmenistan as a client two years ago.
Gursel said the government raised the possibility of a Curtis Mallet-Prevost office in the capital Ashgabat and worked with the firm to make it a reality.
“We’re honoured to be asked,” Gursel told The Lawyer.
He said the country’s regulatory regime was well developed, adding that it had been relatively simple to establish the office despite the lack of precedent.
“It’s not a well-known jurisdiction, it’s not a place foreign law firms go to every day,” Gursel added.
Future development in Turkmenistan and in the wider region was likely, said Gursel, identifying Uzbekistan as a likely jurisdiction for Curtis Mallet-Prevost to establish an office in the future. Curtis already has offices in the Kazakh cities of Astana and Almaty, founded in 2008.