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Editorial

Legal market overview

Egypt has fared relatively well since the election of Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi in 2014. The country has obtained a $12bn loan package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and there is political will to push through economic reforms aimed at reviving foreign direct investment, stabilising inflation – which has risen to around 10% – and tackling currency devaluation, which has caused fears among international investors about possible difficulty in repatriating dividends.

Egypt’s legal system is complex and Egyptian law qualified lawyers are in great demand across the region. Many local firms are centred on long-serving senior partners and families of lawyers. However, some are adopting a more modern approach including the fast-growing Matouk Bassiouny, which now employs over 120 lawyers. Other important full-service domestic firms include Al Kamel Law Office, Shalakany Law Office and Zulficar & Partners Law Firm. Zaki Hashem & Partners, Attorneys at Law is one of the oldest and largest firms, having been active since 1953, and now employs over 100 lawyers. Litigation-focused Karim Adel Law Office has a claim to be the oldest, having been established in 1939.

Some leading international firms have offices in Cairo, often in partnership with local lawyers. These include Helmy, Hamza & Partners (member firm of Baker & McKenzie International) and Dentons Egypt LLC. The latest international firm to establish operations in the country is MHR & Partners in association with White & Case. Its Cairo office comprises White & Case LLP partners who relocated from London and Abu Dhabi, as well as local hires from Zaki Hashem & Partners, Attorneys at Law and Orascom.

Ibrachy & Partners has a UK-qualified partner and Levari in association with Pitmans LLP is a tie-up with a UK firm. Khodeir, Nour & Taha changed its name to Nour & Selim in association with Al Tamimi & Company, which brings together Egyptian lawyers with a leading firm across the Middle East. Large Italian firm BonelliErede recently opened offices in Egypt and Ethiopia – its Cairo office has three full-time partners and also works in close collaboration with local firm Kosheri, Rashed & Riad.

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