Duane Morris LLP Opens Joint Law Venture in Oman, Establishing Presence in Gulf Region
28 Mar, 2013
Duane Morris LLP has opened its first office in the Middle East through a joint venture with the Al Mashaikhi and Partners Law Firm, a multi-practice law firm in Muscat, Oman. The newly established joint venture, to be known as the Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi and Partner Law Firm—A GCC representative office of Duane Morris and significantly expands the capabilities and geographic reach of both firms.
The Omani firm was founded by name partner Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi, and Duane Morris partner Jeffrey Rodwell, formerly based in the firm’s London office, has relocated to Muscat to serve as the managing director.
Duane Morris previously expanded its global footprint with the formation in 2010 of an enhanced joint law venture with Selvam LLC in Singapore, creating Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, followed in 2011 by a strategic alliance with Mexico City firm Miranda & Estavillo. Duane Morris also has offices in London as well as in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, in addition to its 20 U.S. locations.
“We are excited about the opportunities that our new venture with Dr. Al Mashaikhi and his colleagues opens for our clients and the firm,” said Duane Morris Chairman and CEO John Soroko. “Oman’s key location and role in international commerce, as well as an affluent population and a modern, open economy, create an abundance of business possibilities. Our two firms have been in talks for more than a year, and by formalizing our relationship as a new joint venture with Dr. Al Mashaikhi’s firm, Duane Morris greatly expands not only its transactional capabilities in Oman, but also throughout the Gulf region.”
Oman’s prominence as a member of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a trade and economic alliance that facilitates regional commerce among key states in the region, enables the joint venture to provide legal services across the entire region. The other five GCC countries are The Kingdom of Bahrain, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
“We are pleased to join forces with such an excellent and long-established American firm,” said Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi, founder of the Al Mashaikhi law firm. “Duane Morris has a strong presence in the United States and globally, as well as an impressive reputation for client service. We look forward to leveraging the global Duane Morris platform and working with the firm’s lawyers to expand the services we offer. We believe our mutual reputation for superb legal service will have a great impact on the business community that we will now serve together.”
Dr. Al Mashaikhi has more than 15 years experience practicing law in Oman and the GCC states. His experience encompasses advising banking and financial services clients, foreign direct investment as well as business and commercial law and foreign claims.
Because Omani law is modeled on the British legal system, and much of the cross-border transactional volume flows through London as the key financial center, Duane Morris will coordinate its Omani involvement through its London office. The firm’s initial interest in Oman was sparked by its relationship with ICT, LLC, an influential investment banking firm with significant interests in the country.
By many international indices, the Sultanate of Oman is one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab world, and is also the oldest independent state in the region. Oman is strategically located at the juncture of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, known as the Gulf of Oman. While its principal exports are petroleum-based, the country also has a significant financial services sector that is active both regionally and globally, as well as interests in the metals industry. As a member of the World Trade Organization, Oman enjoys full diplomatic relations and trade relationships with all the world’s developed countries.
Additionally, Oman has historically close ties with Southeast Asia and the Far East, particularly with Singapore, from where Duane Morris currently provides legal services throughout Southeast Asia.