King & Spalding said that it has received all regulatory approvals needed to open a law office in Abu Dhabi.
Angus N. McFadden, a counsel in the firm’s construction and projects practice, will reside in Abu Dhabi.
McFadden has significant experience handling major construction matters in the region.
The firm said it plans to add at least one partner and several senior and other lawyers to the Abu Dhabi office in the near future.
The firm characterized its expansion in Abu Dhabi as a further demonstration of its commitment to growing its Middle East practice.
“Abu Dhabi represents our third office in the Middle East, our thirteenth worldwide location and the eighth new office we opened since January 2007,” said Robert D. Hays, Jr., chairman of King & Spalding. “Our lawyers have been handling matters throughout the Middle East region for more than 20 years, and strong client demand for our legal services in this region is increasing rapidly. We are confident the firm’s strategic focus in Abu Dhabi on Islamic finance, energy, private equity, real estate and international arbitration will well serve the needs of our clients.”
Philip R. Weems, managing partner of King & Spalding’s offices in the Middle East and head of the firm’s energy practice, said, “Abu Dhabi’s importance to the region — especially its impressive growth and plans to achieve economic diversification — made this the logical next step for the firm. Having an office in the capital of the U.A.E. enhances our ability to continue providing superior service to our clients in Abu Dhabi and throughout the region. Our investment in an Abu Dhabi office is a reflection of our current active practice in Abu Dhabi and requests by some of our largest clients in the region.”
This latest move follows the expansion of King & Spalding’s Middle East practice in April 2007 with the hiring of three senior lawyers in the Middle East — finance partner Michael Dunphy in its Riyadh office (The Law Office of Mohammad Al-Ammar), and, in its Dubai office, mergers and acquisitions counsel Elias R. Chedid and private equity and funds counsel Jonathan Law.
Among the clients for which King & Spalding has handled matters in Abu Dhabi are Mubadala Development Company PJSC and GulfCap Group Limited, which the firm represented in its $446m acquisition of drilling service company Dalma Energy LLC in July 2007.
King & Spalding is a leader in the area of Islamic finance and pioneered many Shari’ah-complaint financial products that are in wide use today.
The firm is also recognized worldwide for its oil and gas work — especially in the area of liquefied natural gas — and has a strong practice base in electric power, petrochemicals and renewable energy.
Its corporate practice group provides a complete range of services to global clients in multiple jurisdictions.
American Lawyer’s Focus Europe magazine has ranked King & Spalding’s international arbitration practice as No. 2 in the world.
In the 2008 Chambers Global guide, King & Spalding is ranked among the top law firms in the Middle East.
The firm received high marks from Chambers in the areas of Middle East Corporate/Commercial, Middle East Islamic Finance, Saudi Arabia Corporate/Commercial, U.A.E. Banking and Finance, U.A.E. Corporate/Commercial and Middle East Projects and Energy.