Allen & Overy opens office in Saudi Arabia

Published Date
Mar 25, 2024
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Allen & Overy further expands its Middle East presence by launching its own office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Allen & Overy (A&O) has received its license to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the Kingdom) from the Saudi Ministry of Justice and has opened its own office in the Kingdom, ahead of its merger with Shearman & Sterling to become A&O Shearman, which is on track for May 1. With a physical presence in Riyadh, it will strengthen and expand existing relationships with leading Saudi Arabian clients, as well as support international clients looking to invest in the region, by linking A&O’s client base - and A&O Shearman’s future combined clients - and quality brand with a presence on the ground. A&O’s Riyadh office will be an integral part of the firm’s global network, consolidating its position in the Middle East for top-end complex work.

A&O’s team on the ground includes partners Hosam Ibn Ghaith and Haris Meyer Hanif, both of whom have experience working on some of the largest, most complex and unique transactions in the region for a variety of high-profile clients. Following the completion of A&O’s merger with Shearman, they will be joined by Shearman’s strong team in Riyadh, led by Dr. Sultan Almasoud, who has headed the firm’s presence in the Kingdom for nearly a decade, and includes partner Mohsin Suleman.

Hosam Ibn Ghaith joined from Hassana Investment Company, the investment manager of Saudi Arabia’s social security and pension fund GOSI (General Organization for Social Insurance) where he spent six years as General Counsel, giving him an exceptionally client-centric and commercial approach. Prior to that, Hosam practised at two leading Saudi law firms operating at the time in cooperation with A&O. Hosam has spent almost 15 years advising on complex, high-value transactions representing Saudi and multinational companies on various matters including Saudi corporate law, capital markets transactions and Islamic finance across a range of sectors including financial institutions, private capital and energy amongst others.

Haris Meyer Hanif rejoined the firm earlier this year from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP where he was Head of Finance in MENA for over 11 years, spending two years at A&O in Dubai prior to that. He is recognised as a market-leading lawyer in his field, specialised in complex restructuring and insolvency matters, leveraged and acquisition financings and private capital transactions across the Middle East and Africa. He has acted on some of the most innovative restructurings and financings in the region and, alongside Dubai-based partner Adam Banks, will establish a senior bench of restructuring and capital solutions specialists covering the entire region.

Khalid Garousha, regional managing partner for the Middle East and Turkey and interim global managing partner at A&O, commented: “We are thrilled to announce the opening of our office in Riyadh as we look forward to supporting the Kingdom further on its ambitious diversification programme as part of Vision 2030. A&O has had a strong presence in the Middle East since 1978, including a long history of advising clients in the Kingdom, and as A&O Shearman we look forward to continuing to combine the best of global and local to offer our domestic and international clients a full-service offering, bringing a breadth and depth of resource that we believe is unmatched. We are delighted to have established an independent office in the Kingdom and we look forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Wim Dejonghe, senior partner, added: “Our office in Riyadh is a natural extension of our long-standing presence and reputation in the Middle East. This strategic investment reflects our confidence in the growth potential and opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we are proud to partner with Hosam Ibn Ghaith and Haris Meyer Hanif, both leading lawyers who are well-known to many of our key clients in the region, and soon with Dr. Sultan Almasoud and his team. We look forward to offering our clients the benefit of our combined expertise, experience and innovation.”

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This content was originally published by Allen & Overy before the A&O Shearman merger