LATHAM & WATKINS has unveiled plans to open three new offices in the Middle East, focusing on M&A, private equity, project development, structured finance and capital markets. US firm Latham & Watkins already boasts more than 2,100 lawyers in 25 offices worldwide.
The new offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Doha, Qatar, are slated to open towards the end of the first quarter of 2008.
A number of the firm’s partners and associates will be transferred to the region as part of Lathams’ Middle Eastern strategy, with a recent article in The Lawyer magazine suggesting that at least three partners and 12 associates will be transferred before the year is out.
Corporate partner Rindala Beydoun has moved across from Vinson & Etkins LLP to helm the expansion. Beydoun is buoyant about taking up the challenging role as office managing partner for all three offices.
“I am excited to be part of Lathams’ vision to build a significant Middle East practice as another strategically-important hub in its global expansion,” he said.
Latham & Watkins has an impressive track record in the region, working on the Nakilat liquefied natural gas ship financing in Qatar, the largest ship financing project ever completed. Other high-profile clients in the region include TAQA, and the Qatar Investment Authority.
“We have deep experience representing clients on both their inbound and outbound investment in the region,” said William Voge, global chairman of Lathams’ finance department and chairman of the firm’s Middle East strategy committee.
“The increase in cross-border and regional deal activity presents significant opportunities for our strengths in the twin areas of corporate and finance.”