Qatar > Foreign firms
Index of tables
Allen & Overy LLP
- Latham & Watkins LLP
Badri and Salim El Meouchi Law Firm
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP
- Shearman & Sterling LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
Allen & Overy LLP provides ‘good advice backed by the right level of commercial know-how’, and the three-partner office has expertise in three core practice areas: corporate and M&A, finance and dispute resolution. Managing partner Robert Porter and Chris Thornes lead on corporate matters, as does Samer Eido on the finance side. Recent highlights include advising Qatar National Bank on its proposed acquisition of Turkish private bank, DenizBank, and acting for Qatar Holdings on the conversion of $1.7bn and CHF2.5bn bonds issued by Credit Suisse. Dubai-based Chris Mainwaring-Taylor is the team’s key lawyer for dispute resolution; predominantly he acts in construction and infrastructure-related arbitrations, and gas pricing reviews. The firm continued its expansion in Doha by recruiting of counsel James Coleman from Linklaters.
Top-level corporate and finance practice Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘one of the best firms in the region, in terms of both quality and value for money’, and is regularly instructed on ‘the most complex and sophisticated transactions’. The team has been involved in a number of high-profile transactions, including advising the joint lead managers on the state of Qatar’s $4bn ijara sukuk issuance, one of the largest US-dollar sukuk offerings to date. Finance head Ahmad Anani is ‘an expert in Qatari law matters’, and senior associate Mohsin Iqbal is recommended for Islamic finance. Corporate head Andrew Macklin is ‘responsive, helpful and technically sound’.
Baker & McKenzie’s Qatar practice has two part-time partners, supported by five other partners predominantly based in the firm’s Abu Dhabi and Bahrain offices. Key figures include GCC managing partner Borys Dackiw, who splits his time between Abu Dhabi and Doha, and Bahrain-based Caroline Long and Ian Siddell. Highlights for the team included acting for Aamal Company on its proposed listing of global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange, and advising Qatar Holding on its acquisition of real estate in Poland.
Clifford Chance’s four-partner Doha office includes managing partner Richard Parris, Greg Englefield, Guy Norman and Mohammed Al-Shukairy. Highlights included advising Mannai Corporation and EFG Hermes on a $445m bid for Damas, a Middle Eastern jewellery company; and QNB as lead arranger on a QAR1bn forward lease facility to Northgate Company. The team was also recently appointed to Qatar Diar and Qatar Rail’s legal panels.
Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘well-respected and responsive’ three-partner team in Doha focuses on corporate law and dispute resolution, and it advised Interserve on a transaction through which its subsidiary acquired business assets from another company. Senior associate Emma Higham and managing partner David Salt are ‘very experienced’. Laura Warren heads the dispute resolution practice and has a strong focus on contentious construction issues.
Dentons suffered a blow with the loss of Middle East managing partner Leigh Hall and corporate partner Romi Nayef, who now works for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. International finance partner Safwan Moubaydeen now leads, and is ably supported by Martin Brown on finance matters and by Julian Pope, who acts in construction disputes. The office continues to advise Qatar National Bank and Al Jazeera, and was recently appointed to Qatar Railway Company’s legal panel.
Eversheds LLP focuses on corporate and M&A matters and dispute resolution, with the ‘knowledgeable’ Lana Habash leading on corporate transactions and ‘responsive’ regional managing partner Chris Jobson being the key partner for dispute resolution. Highlights included advising Barwa Bank on its acquisition of the Islamic finance division of IBQ. The team has also been retained to advise the Qatar Electricity & Water Co on Qatar’s electricity and water provisions. The office suffered a blow when Islamic finance head Amjad Hussain joined K&L Gates in May 2012.
Lalive in Qatar LLP’s ‘high-quality’ Doha office fields four full-time lawyers, with support from dedicated partners in Geneva. Clients include Qatar Luxury Group, Kahramaa and the Qatar Foundation. Geneva-based Georges Racine is noted for his work on corporate mandates, and the practice also advises on contentious construction matters. The team was bolstered by the arrival of well-respected corporate lawyer Stefan Jury from Al Tamimi & Company in association with Al Marri in December 2011.
Norton Rose (Middle East) LLP’s Qatar practice is mainly run from the London and Dubai offices, and has ten partners including practice head Jeremy Edwards and Erol Huseyin, both based in London. The team recently advised key client Qatar Electricity & Water Co on its purchase of a minority stake in AES Oasis from IDB. Other clients include Barwa Group, Qatar Mining and Qatar Petroleum.
One of three international firms licensed by the Qatar Ministry of Justice, Patton Boggs LLP has a long history in Qatar and ‘a broader professional level of expertise than most’. This ‘first-class’ team has ties to a number of government entities, including Qatar Railways Company, which it is advising on the $35bn Qatar Railway project. The team is also advising on the New Doha International Airport development, and counts Qatar Airways as one of its clients. Managing partner Robert Hager leads the team, which also includes the ‘very experienced and measured’ Sonia Barber and Hussein Damirji. Former managing partner Susan Bastress returned to the firm in November 2012.
Simmons & Simmons Middle East LLP is ‘very strong on Qatari law, and has been around in the country longer than most’. The office underwent a reshuffle following the departure of finance head Samer Eido to Allen & Overy LLP and Jason Majid to Clyde & Co LLP, as well as the loss of two associates. The ‘excellent’ Andrew Wingfield remains Middle East regional head, and is supported by recently promoted partner Philip Norman, who leads the construction and disputes practices. Clients include Barwa Bank, Qatar National Bank and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.
UGGC & Associés is one of three international firms licensed by the Qatar Ministry of Justice. Managing partner Arnaud Depierrefeu handles a large volume of inbound investment work by French and European companies. Recent work includes providing contractual and regulatory advice to GDF Suez Qatar Block 4 on its gas exploration activities in the region. Other clients include JCDecaux and Bouygues Construction.
White & Case LLP recently advised on a number of high-value capital markets transactions, including the $5bn sovereign bond offering by the state of Qatar, and a two-part $4bn bond issuance by the state of Qatar’s special purpose vehicle. On the corporate side, the team has acted for Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Investment Authority. Key partners include ‘world-class lawyer’ Michiel Visser, who is based in Doha, Michael Turrini in Abu Dhabi, and London-based practice head Philip Stopford.
Lebanese firm Badri and Salim El Meouchi Law Firm is ‘an excellent outfit’. ‘Great’ managing partner Chadia El Meouchi heads the team, which has strengths in domestic and international corporate matters and disputes. The group recently advised an international aerospace and defence company on its acquisition of a business in ten jurisdictions in the Middle East and Africa as part of a joint venture with a UK company. Other clients include Doha Bank and JPMorgan Chase.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Dubai office has a strong Qatari client base. In 2012, it advised the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee on its appointment of a programme management consultant, and acted for Qatar Holding on the establishment of a joint venture with the Fonds Marocain Touristique as part of a $2.5bn investment into the Moroccan tourism industry. Pervez Akhtar and London-based Bruce Embley are the key partners.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘focused, dedicated and knowledgeable’ team is advising Qatar Petroleum and the Qatari government on the gas-to-liquids project developed by Shell. Qatari Diar is also a client. Joanna Addison provides ‘formidable support in turning commercial wants into contractually practical solutions’.
At Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP, Dubai-based partners Nick Parden, Imtiaz Shah and Rahail Ali have strong ties to Doha, and act for a mix of Qatar-based clients as well as inbound investors into the country. The team advised QInvest on its joint venture acquisition of EFG Hermes’ investment banking and brokerage business in the Middle East.
Shearman & Sterling LLP’s London office advises foreign investors and Qatari entities on finance, corporate and M&A matters, and receives assistance from colleagues in Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi. The London team recently advised Dolphin Energy on its $1.3bn bond offering, and Frankfurt-based Roger Kiem assisted a Qatari state-owned entity with a global acquisition. Other clients include Qatar Holding and Qatar Electricity & Water Company.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has a strong presence in the oil and gas sector. In 2012, the team advised RBS and other senior lenders on the $10.4bn Barzan natural gas project. It also advised CITIC Capital Holdings on its $215m sale of a 22% stake to Qatar Investment Authority.