Legal Business Blogs

International expansion: openings for Charles Russell in Saudi; Eversheds in Durban; Osborne Clarke in Amsterdam

A trio of UK firms have this week expanded their international office base as Charles Russell agrees a formal association with Saudi Arabian firm Al-Soaib Law, Eversheds continues to enhance its operations in Africa via a tie-up with Durban-based Knight Turner and Osborne Clarke (OC) opens an office in Amsterdam with a four partner hire.

Charles Russell, which is currently in merger talks with Speechly Bircham, said on Sunday (1 June) that the association with Al-Saoaib Law is a key part of its plans for expansion in the wider Gulf region.

The firm, which already has offices in Bahrain and Qatar and has worked with Al-Soaib on international and cross-border matters, will now have offices in Riyadh and Al Khobar.

Head of Charles Russell’s Bahrain office, Patrick Gearon, said: ‘The formalising of our relationship with Al-Soaib Law further demonstrates our commitment to the region. Our story in the Middle East is one of growth, with over 20 lawyers now based in Bahrain and a team now also based in our new offices in Doha, a presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a natural next step and we are delighted to be able to team up with our friends at Al-Soaib.’

It comes after the top 50 firm last month unveiled healthy growth for the 2013/14 financial year, with revenue at the 310-lawyer firm up 7% while profit per equity partner (PEP) is expected to increase to around £350,000, constituting a 10% rise.

Yesterday (2 June), meanwhile, saw Eversheds build its footprint in Africa through an alliance with Durban-based law firm Knight Turner, a move which will see the local independent firm rebrand as Eversheds KZN. One of the most important manufacturing hubs in South Africa alongside Johannesburg, the firm’s entry into Durban follows the formation of its ‘pan-African’ strategy, leading to tie-ups with Mahons Attorneys in South Africa, as well as a presence in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Louis in Mauritius.

Eversheds chief executive Bryan Hughes said: ‘This latest agreement with established firm Knight Turner, forms a key part of our Pan African strategy as we firmly establish a presence in South Africa. Durban offers a strong commercial and logistics hub and we look forward to working collaboratively with the team at Eversheds KZN to offer a seamless client experience.’

Elsewhere, OC has made further inroads into the European legal market with the opening of an office in Amsterdam. Maintaining its focus on the digital sector, the firm has appointed Baker & McKenzie’s head of IP Michiel Odink to lead the team as managing partner of OC Amsterdam. Odink moves alongside fellow Bakers partner Jeroen Bedaux, who specialises in commercial litigation; London-based Norton Rose Fulbright IT partner Jeroen Lub; and employment partner Jorgo Tsiris who joins from Steins Bisschop & Schepel. Odink, Lub, and Tsiris are also all former Allen & Overy associates.

The addition of the Amsterdam office gives the firm a total of 18 offices in eight jurisdictions following the launch of its San Francisco office this year and Paris, New York and Brussels offices in 2013.

OC’s CEO Simon Beswick said: ‘As well as being a significant international hub, establishing our Amsterdam office gives us the increased ability to provide deep local and international market knowledge to our growing client base and access successful businesses in the Netherlands in the sectors in which we are strong. We intend to grow the office quickly over the coming months and are continuing our recruitment drive in the Amsterdam area.’