Some time ago, we received this request by email:
Is there any way to do a posting or open thread about what COLA biglaw firms are handing out overseas? Specifically, I was interested in what associates are getting to go to Dubai.
At the time, we viewed the topic as rather obscure, of interest to just a handful of people. Why not do an open thread on, say, lawyers in Burkina Faso? (No offense to Burkina Faso.)
But maybe we underestimated the allure of the Middle East — which will, thanks to gushing oil revenues, own most of the U.S. soon anyway. On Sunday, we heard this from a tipster at Latham & Watkins:
Here’s an email that went out to the firm today [about LW opening offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha]. Why Sunday? No idea, but rumors were going around about it, so they probably wanted to make an announcement before it leaked out. [Update: A tipster tells us, "Sunday is the first day of the work week in Dubai. Friday is the day of rest, so the weekend is Fri-Sat, not Sat-Sun."]
Apparently, some Latham corporate associates have been asked if they would go to these new offices for a certain period of time. I have no details, but I hear they are getting handsome benefits and bonuses to go there. With domestic corporate/finance work slow, this is an opportunity for the firm to shore itself up by moving people there from slower offices.
And Latham isn’t the first major law firm to venture into the region in 2008. Late last month, Dewey & LeBoeuf announced the opening of a full-service Dubai office.
Check out the Latham memo, after the jump. And if you’d like to talk about legal job opportunities in the Middle East, please treat the comments to this post as an open thread (because who knows when we’ll post again about this part of the world). Thanks.
LATHAM & WATKINS — MEMORANDUM — EXPANSION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
TO: ALL PERSONNEL
FROM: BOB DELL
SUBJECT: EXPANSION IN THE MIDDLE EAST – DUBAI, ABU DHABI AND DOHA
We are pleased to announce Latham & Watkins’ expansion into the Middle East with the opening of our newest offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Doha, Qatar. We expect these three offices to open late next month.
Our Middle East offices will focus on M&A, private equity, project development and finance, structured finance, leveraged finance and capital markets, and will significantly bolster our practice in one of the most dynamic markets in the global economy. While we already have substantial experience advising companies and financial institutions operating in the Middle East, having a physical presence in the region is strategically very important for our continued global expansion. The region’s significant M&A and investment work — including both cross-border and regional deal activity — present significant opportunities for our Corporate and Finance practices.
Corporate partner Rindala Beydoun will serve as the Office Managing Partner for the three offices. Rindala has broad experience across a number of industries and has advised extensively on M&A and private equity deals and real estate projects in the region. She joins us from Vinson & Elkins LLP, and worked previously in a senior in-house position at MasterCard International.
A number of other Latham partners and associates will transfer to our Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha offices in the coming months. They will bring a wide range of experience and expertise with them, as well as core values of the Latham culture. One of the most important aspects of our successful growth over the past several years has been our consistency in maintaining the quality, teamwork, collegiality, meritocracy, entrepreneurship and committee-driven management style that have been so vital to our “one-firm” culture. These and other firm attributes will continue to drive our success.
Please join us in welcoming Rindala to the Latham & Watkins family, and share in our excitement about our newest offices in the Middle East.
* Please note: we have issued a firm press release to the media announcing our Middle East expansion. If you receive a media inquiry related to this announcement, please do not comment and refer all inquiries to Bill Voge or Rindala Beydoun, or to Geoff Burt in the firm’s press office.
Latham & Watkins to Launch in the Middle East [Latham & Watkins]
Dewey & LeBoeuf Opens Dubai Office [Dewey & LeBoeuf]