UK firms to storm Qatar as Middle East booms

A slew of UK firms, including Clyde & Co, Denton Wilde Sapte, DLA Piper and Trowers & Hamlins, are all expected to launch in Qatar as the Gulf state becomes the hottest legal market in the Middle East since international firms started pouring into Dubai.

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance have discounted opening in Doha after investigating the possibilities.

Of the firms poised, DLA Piper is the closest to launching and the firm is expected to widen its network further across the Gulf States, with Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain all potential sites for offices.

DLA Piper Middle East regional managing partner David Church said: “We have a developed strategy for the Middle East. For Qatar we have firm and committed plans to open our own operation.”

Trowers international department partner Ed Rose told The Lawyer: “Qatar is currently a missing piece of the jigsaw.”

Currently only Eversheds, Simmons & Simmons and Washington DC outfit Patton Boggs are based in Doha. Eversheds launched in October, the first international firm to take residency in the Qatar Financial Centre.

Clydes Middle East operations director Matthew Gill said: “We’re getting a lot of pressure from clients to set up there. We’ve been looking at it for a while and we’re very keen to go there.”