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Expansion mode: HSF reopens in Saudi Arabia with new association

In its third office opening in a year, following on from launches in Düsseldorf and Johannesburg, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has reopened in Saudi Arabia through a local association.

HSF has entered an exclusive association with corporate-focused Saudi firm – the Law Office of Nasser Al-Hamdan – and bolstered the launch with partner hires from White & Case and DLA Piper.

Its new association firm is run by managing partner Nasser Al-Hamdan, a corporate lawyer specialising in capital markets transactions who becomes a HSF partner through the tie-up. He established the firm just 18 months ago after seven years as general counsel at a Riyadh-based investment management firm Jadwa Investment.

Adding further firepower to the launch, HSF has also hired projects partners Euan Pinkerton from White & Case in Riyadh and Anthony Ellis from DLA Piper in Dubai. Based in Riyadh since 2011, Pinkerton advises on the financing and development of projects, including Islamic finance. Ellis spearheaded DLA Piper’s push into large-scale power, water and process plant projects mandates in the Middle East and Africa.

Riyadh is HSF’s third Middle East office, with of eight partners and 31 lawyers working out of its Dubai and Doha offices. The move follows a turbulent period for the firm in the region, arriving five months after shutting down its Abu Dhabi office and three years after terminating its association with Saudi Arabian firm Al-Ghazzawi Professional Association (GPA).

The firm’s Middle East head, Zubair Mir, said: ‘Saudi Arabia is the only Arab nation belonging to the G20, has the largest projects market in the Middle East and is in the process of diversifying its economy, modernising its infrastructure and creating jobs. Our association with Nasser Al-Hamdan, which brings a leading corporate capability into Saudi Arabia, and the hire of projects partners Euan Pinkerton and Anthony Ellis, are therefore important steps for the firm.’

Sonya Leydecker, co-chief executive at HSF, added: ‘Together with our recent launches in Johannesburg and Düsseldorf, this will be our third major investment in strengthening the firm’s presence across the EMEA region, a key focus for the firm to provide clients with a truly global offering.’