The Middle East: The rough with the crude

The Middle East: The rough with the crude

The global economy is slowing and so too is the Middle East. In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)almost halved this year’s growth forecast for the MENA region to 1.3%, from its previous estimate of 2.5% in October 2018. Dragging everything down is the oil sector – particularly in Saudi Arabia – US sanctions in Iran, and geopolitical tensions in other economies such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

But such downgrades are no surprise for lawyers in the region. ‘There is no doubt the region is going through a downturn,’ says Richard Gimblett, resident managing partner of the Dubai arm of Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), which has more than 50 lawyers across its offices in Riyadh, Dubai, Kuwait City and Abu Dhabi. ‘The volatile price of oil obviously hasn’t helped. These are still largely petro-economies, although they are trying to diversify.’ Continue reading “The Middle East: The rough with the crude”

‘The right opportunity’: HFW reacts to client demand with strategic consultancy business

‘The right opportunity’: HFW reacts to client demand with strategic consultancy business

Maritime and insurance specialist HFW has set up a standalone consultancy arm, branded HFW Consulting.

The new business, launched today (3 October), will be headed up by the firm’s director of learning and development, Chris O’Callaghan, and will initially focus on Middle Eastern, Asian and Australian clients. Continue reading “‘The right opportunity’: HFW reacts to client demand with strategic consultancy business”

Client Intelligence Report: Data View – Middle East Focus

Client Intelligence Report: Data View – Middle East Focus

Demonstrating value is paramount for all in-house legal teams, concerned as it is with how legal work intersects with business objectives and strategy. When measured against the global data, firms in the Middle East reported that they demonstrated value mainly via the same two criteria as the rest of the world; through the commercial aspect of their advice and their risk mitigation abilities. However, the Middle East reported that commercial and business advice was the most important characteristic by a far larger margin than the average. In the Middle East, this was the most prized metric for measuring value added for 46% of respondents, as opposed to 38% in the global average. This implies that legal teams in the Middle East are more likely than average to be relied upon to contribute to the strategic direction of the company. This links in with Middle Eastern general counsel’s greater likelihood of being part of the management structure of their businesses, and shows that in-house legal professionals here are often more integrated with the business than the global norm. Continue reading “Client Intelligence Report: Data View – Middle East Focus”

After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback

After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) made headlines in 2017 by pulling off mergers in the US and Australia, but 2018 has started with the firm retrenching internationally, closing in Kazakhstan and Abu Dhabi while Paul Hastings raided its Japanese corporate team.

NRF Tokyo head of corporate, M&A and securities Eiji Kobayashi joined Paul Hastings’ Japanese base in mid-January, with a four-person team, including two associates, one paralegal and one secretary, to follow him a few weeks later. Continue reading “After an expansive 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright starts year with Asia pullback”

Lawyers On Demand set to break into the Middle East with Dubai launch

Lawyers On Demand set to break into the Middle East with Dubai launch

Lawyers On Demand (LOD), Berwin Leighton Paisner’s(BLP) freelance lawyers spin-off, is due to launch in the Middle East with a new Dubai office, breaking into an increasingly competitive legal market.

It is understood that the opening is on track for early autumn. Continue reading “Lawyers On Demand set to break into the Middle East with Dubai launch”

LLP latest: Dentons European and African business turns over £169m as top-earning member pockets 60% more

LLP latest: Dentons European and African business turns over £169m as top-earning member pockets 60% more

Dentons‘ UK, Middle East and Africa business has seen turnover increase 7% to £169m for the financial year ending 2015/16, up from £157m the previous year, according to the firm’s LLP accounts. Continue reading “LLP latest: Dentons European and African business turns over £169m as top-earning member pockets 60% more”