find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Minters filling a Gulf in practice

Minters filling a Gulf in practice

THE VAST majority of Australians in the Middle East work for international or local firms, but more Australian firms are now tapping into an economy rapidly diversifying from its oil base.Minter…

THE VAST majority of Australians in the Middle East work for international or local firms, but more Australian firms are now tapping into an economy rapidly diversifying from its oil base.

Minter Ellison is now planning to expand its presence in the region, after special counsel Andrew Thomson spent the past 18 months building up contacts and working on projects in the region for local clients, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

An Arabic speaker, Thomson — a former federal Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games in the 1990s — says the fact that many of the company managers in the Gulf States are either Australian or British helps Australian law firms and lawyers to pick up work there.

He said there are also many similarities in the way the economy is evolving to Australia’s development.

“You often encounter clients — or at least those managers instructing you — who are Australian or British,” he said. “That means, I think, that Australian law firms and a lot of lawyers themselves have gone to work for British firms that are there. I think they’re very well suited to it in what I might call the decorum of the business, the way you do things.”

His work in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the more difficult jurisdictions for expats to work in due to cultural differences and security concerns, has involved drafting new law for the Saudi Government, including the new general tourism law, which he completed last year in conjunction with a local firm, Mohamed Al-Sharif.

He said Minters are looking at expanding their work on law reform in Saudi. “We want to do more … law reform work because there are a lot of Australian law reforms that the Saudis are interested in — things like water law reform, urban transport, basic infrastructure [work].”

Other areas for reform include property law, but there are is also commercial work in major projects available, Thomson notes.

He stresses the work they can do is not advising directly on Saudi law, but advising through local law firms on the approach that has been taken to similar areas in Australia.

Gilbert+Tobin similarly built on its expertise in telecommunications reforms in Australia to advise clients in Asia and then the Middle East when the telco markets were deregulated there.

But what makes it worthwhile going to the Middle East in the first place? Thomson said it helps broaden the opportunities for their Australian clients because Minters can advise them on how to go about it. But it’s also about encouraging potential clients to invest in Australia.

“We want more Gulf clients to start investing in Australia. Australia is the lowest sovereign risk if you want to invest in the Chinese economy,” he said.

“Demand here is so highly correlated with the Chinese economic cycle now that for a lot of our portfolio managers, once they understand the relationship between China and to some extent India and this country, Australia is by far the most efficient place to invest their capital long term in terms of risk and reward.

See the Middle East report starting p30

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Minters filling a Gulf in practice
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Oct 20 2017
Lawyers warn against mandatory sentencing measures amid political jeers
Mandatory sentencing has become a topic for politicians on both sides of Federal Parliament to jostl...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...