Trowers pulls out of Riyadh as sole lawyer defects to alliance firm

Trowers & Hamlins has been forced to terminate its exclusive alliance in Riyadh after its last associate in the city jumped ship to the firm’s local ally.

Abdullah Mutawi
Abdullah Mutawi

The Lawyer reported in September (12 September 2011) that Trowers was left with just one associate in Riyadh and today the firm’s United Arab Emirates head Abdullah Mutawi confirmed that the associate has now left to join the firm’s Saudi Arabia associate firm Feras Alshawaf Law Firm.

Trowers’ exclusive tie-up with Feras Alshawaf Law Firm was dependent on the former having at least one employee in the country and now that employee has resigned, the formal alliance has come to an end. According to Mutawi, the associate, Abbas Khan, was frustrated at Trowers’ failure to redeploy another partner to Riyadh.

“We’ve had some troubles keeping people in Riyadh as it’s not easy to recruit people into Saudi,” said Mutawi. “We’re having discussions now about how we recruit the right people and deploy them to maximum effect”

Mutawi stressed that Trowers and Feras Alshawaf continued to work together on an informal basis and that Trowers was not planning to abandon Saudi Arabia as a jurisdiction.

“Our intention is not to move away from Saudi Arabia at all,” said Mutawi. “Indeed, it would be very difficult for a firm like ours to do that because a lot of our corporate clients are very focused on doing deals in Saudi Arabia.”

Kahn, who joined Feras Alshawaf as a partner, added: “I had an excellent relationship with Trowers and I left on a positive note. My firm still has a good relationship with Trowers, though not as formal, and we’re working together on a number of projects.”

In May 2011 Trowers closed its Jeddah office less than a year after opening in the Saudi Arabian city (23 May 2011).