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Middle East: DLA Piper opens second office in Saudi Arabia with plans for a third

Following its Canada merger last month with Vancouver-based Davis, DLA Piper has embarked on further international expansion opening a second office in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah and plans for a third in the country.

DLA first opened in Saudi Arabia in 2006, with an office in the country’s capital Riyadh, and though it has had a base of operations in the major urban centre of Jeddah previously, this marks the first official office in the city. It will be run by legal director Rakesh Bassi, who joined DLA Piper last year from Clifford Chance.

The third office opening is planned before the end of the year and will take the total number of Middle East offices to eight. It will be located in the country’s eastern province and will service both locally based clients and those based in Bahrain.

Peter Somekh, DLA Piper’s Middle East managing partner said: ‘Saudi Arabia has always been a key country for both the regional and international firm and our expanded presence in the Kingdom is testament to our continued focus and investment. We already have over 20 lawyers permanently based in Saudi, 18 of whom are Saudi nationals and all are internationally qualified, and we’re looking to further expand the team over the coming year.’

Eyad Reda, managing partner for Saudi Arabia added: ‘Our focus for the last five years has been to build a client base around the sectors that are key to the Kingdom and where the wider firm has strong expertise, namely banking and finance, energy, technology, hospitality and leisure, and real estate.’

DLA Piper’s Canadian merger last month added around 250 Canadian lawyers, including 112 partners to the firm’s 4,000-lawyer operation. It becomes just the fourth international firm to have a major presence in the country, following Norton Rose’s merger with Ogilvy Renault in 2011, and SNR Denton’s triple merger with Fraser Milner Casgrain and Salans in 2013, while Baker & McKenzie has had a presence in Canada since 1962. DLA Piper has a presence in 33 countries around the world.