Linklaters is sending two lawyers to Saudi Arabia after entering into an agreement with local firm Zamakhchary & Co.
Managing associate Omar El Sayed will be relocating from Linklaters’ Dubai office to lead the firm’s Saudi Arabia operations.
Linklaters is also expected to make a lateral hire in the region later this year.
Following the agreement, the firm’s Saudi Arabia group will be able to offer on-the-ground support to Linklaters’ clients doing deals in the region.
Zamakhchary & Co has been working in partnership with Linklaters for several years, with a focus on corporate M&A, capital markets, finance and project finance.
In the Middle East, Linklaters already has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia has attracted plenty of interest in the last few years, with Dechert most recently launching an office last October.
Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co had been the only two international firms to operate solely under their own names in the Kingdom, running their businesses through a mixed local and foreign lawyer partnership.
A year ago Clifford Chance ended its mixed partnership and launched a new association with newly formed domestic firm Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm. The change in legal status came about following a legal battle concerning the validity of international joint ventures in the region, which was understood to have placed the magic circle firm’s office under threat.
Clydes still operates a mixed partnership in Saudi Arabia with The Law Office of Abdulaziz AL-Bosaily, which was created in March 2015.