THE NUMBER OF international law firms setting up camp in the Middle East is growing at an exponential rate. But an Australian strategic management consultant says New Zealand firms are unlikely to attempt expansion into the area, which some say is the fastest growing legal market in the world at the moment.
Consultant Phil Clark, who was formerly the managing director of both Mallesons and Minter Ellison in Australia, said he was “not convinced the Middle East is a good proposition for either Australia or New Zealand”.
“I’m not too wound up about the Middle East,” Clark said.
“There are certainly trade connections, but lawyers don’t make money out of trade, they make money out of investment, and I don’t think we have the investment flow there yet.”
A number of top UK firms have had offices in the Middle East for some time, including Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Denton Wilde Sapte and Simmons & Simmons.
A host of Magic Circle firms are now setting up in the region, including Freshfields, Herbert Smith, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, and Linklaters.