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Legal market overview
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime has been trying to suppress a popular uprising since March 2011, and with sanctions imposed on the country by the Arab League, the US and the EU, Syria’s two most important sectors – tourism and oil – have been deeply affected. The bans on oil imports are estimated to be costing the country approximately $400m each month and, in addition to the violence, the country has been hit by sharp falls in productivity, spiralling unemployment and ruined infrastructure.
Consequently, with the country on the verge of full-scale civil war and its economy having lost billions of dollars, most of Syria’s law firms have been unable to offer a full service. Furthermore, although most of the firms have predominantly domestic practices, Syria’s legal advisers have seen their international workloads diminish greatly, if not cease altogether. Nonetheless, international clients with Syrian business interests have required strategic legal advice from Syrian counsel on how to facilitate exits of their investments from the country or how best to suspend such investments.
Of note, Germany-based Amereller Rechtsanwälte retains its formal association in Syria through Al-Ahmar & Partners, in association with Amereller Rechtsanwälte, a specialist international law firm that focuses mostly on Arab business law.