King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) confirmed today (3 April) that it is closing its Riyadh office, one of two bases the firm has in the Middle East.
Legacy SJ Berwin opened its only Saudi base in 2014, following its merger with Sino-Australian giant KWM, through an association with a local law firm led by corporate lawyer Majed Almarshad. As well as Almarshad, the firm had one other partner in the office, Glenn Lovell.
In a statement, KWM said following its ‘relaunch of offices’ in Europe and the Middle East earlier this year, the firm and the Law Office of Majed Almarshad have reached a mutual agreement to exit from their arrangement. KWM’s Middle Eastern presence continues through its Dubai office, which is currently home to four partners including former senior partner contender Tim Taylor QC. Dispute resolution partner Andrei Yakovlev is also based both in London and Dubai.
The spokesperson said: ‘KWM China remains committed to its Dubai office, which will allow KWM to continue to service its clients in the Middle East. The Dubai office will continue to support clients in dispute resolution, corporate and construction matters.’
‘However as the agreement to exit the arrangement is still being finalised, we cannot comment on any individual partner, fee earner or staff member at this stage,’ they added.
Riyadh was one of the bases retained by KWM China following the collapse of its European entity, legacy SJ Berwin, which went into administration earlier this year.
This closure also comes as KWM halved its US partnership last month, after losing New York-based international funds partner Parik Dasgupta to Reed Smith.
An initial administrators’ report into KWM’s now defunct European arm, released last month, states that unsecured creditors are expected to lose £33.5m as Quantuma continues to sift through the affairs of legacy SJ Berwin.
Read more in: ‘Shattered – The final days of ‘SJ Berwin’