CMS will partner with Feras Al Shawaf, a Saudi Arabian law firm based in Riyadh in an exclusive agreement. In addition to referral work, the two firms will seek opportunities for working together in Saudi Arabia, where clients require not only local know how but also the expertise of an international firm in various areas of law and industry sectors.
CMS now has one of the most extensive footprints in the MENA region. The Saudi Arabian firm will add to CMS’s existing presence in Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Oman, Turkey and the UAE, with associated offices in Iraq and Lebanon. Dubai is the hub of CMS’s MENA operations, with more than 100 lawyers across the region. In Dubai, the team will be relocating to a new office in Burj Daman in the DIFC in September 2017.
With the expansion into Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East, CMS is now connecting key business locations across the region. This is a similar strategy to that followed in Latin America. In January 2017, three Latin American firms from Chile, Colombia and Peru joined the firm, adding to CMS’s existing presence in Brazil and Mexico. By connecting offices, CMS creates seamless regional solutions.
For clients in the Middle East, CMS will link them with leading legal experts worldwide, supporting their internationalisation and participation in cross-border transactions and disputes. For clients outside the region, the linkage of the CMS offices means that any business that they plan in the Middle East can be supported by a team consisting of their local contacts and lawyers on the ground who speak the language and know the jurisdictions.
Duncan Weston, CMS Executive Partner for Global Development, commented, “MENA is a dynamic growth region that is gaining importance for our clients and Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the region. Our Middle East offices, particularly the Dubai office, have been working with Feras Al Shawaf for some time. Now as associated firms, CMS and Feras Al Shawaf will intensify this relationship, setting up an integrated team to ensure that a full and efficient service is provided at the right level.”
Feras Al Shawaf, Senior Partner at Feras Al Shawaf, commented, “CMS and Feras Al Shawaf have agreed to an exclusive association to seek and build on work opportunities in Saudi Arabia. With clients undertaking transformational projects as part of Vision 2030, Al Shawaf and CMS will bring their expertise together to better service those clients’ needs. Together with CMS, we can now offer our local and regional clients access to more than 4,500 lawyers worldwide who can support them with their business.”
CMS brings market-leading expertise in PPPs, infrastructure and TMC to the partnership. In the Middle East, CMS also has particular expertise in Construction, Energy, Banking and Islamic Finance, Lifesciences & Healthcare, Hotels and Leisure, Education and Real Estate.
Feras Al Shawaf provides deep local expertise and has strong relationships with key players in Saudi Arabia. The firm's focus areas include Corporate Law, Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Telecommunications Law, Litigation, Arbitration, Labour Law, Banking and Finance, Private Equity/Investment Law, Projects and Finance, Commercial Agencies and Franchises.
Cornelius Brandi, Executive Chairman of CMS, commented, “The partnership with Feras Al Shawaf is another good example of what sets CMS apart: pairing global vision with local experience. With our combined expertise, we will offer our clients high-quality service in the Middle East and globally.”
CMS now has 72 offices in 41 countries and more than 1,000 partners and 7,500 total staff.