RiyadhClifford Chance has recalibrated its presence in Saudi Arabia in the wake of local authorities questioning the legality of the firm’s office in Riyadh. The magic circle firm has forged an association with newcomer Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm (AS&H).

Fahad Abuhimed of Clifford Chance will take the role of managing partner along with colleagues Majid Al-Sheikh and Mansoor Al-Hagbani. Most recently Abuhimed was a deputy minister at the Ministry of Commerce and Investment.

As reported in Legal Business, “AS&H will operate from CC’s current offices at Business Gate in Riyadh and work closely with CC’s existing partners, while the Saudi lawyers and business services staff currently employed by CC in Riyadh will transition to AS&H. The office will provide support to clients across corporate M&A, finance, equity and debt capital markets, anti-trust and competition, privatisations, financial services, real estate and construction, legislative drafting, regulatory, public policy and disputes.”

Clifford Chance has enjoyed many high profile mandates since it entered the Saudi market in 2013. Among them are the establishment of the Saudi Telecom Company’s SAR5bn sukuk issuance programme; a $10bn revolving credit facility for Saudi Aramco; and, the Public Investment Fund’s acquisition of a $1.3bn stake in Korea’s POSCO E&C. At the time of their opening, CC extolled the career path the firm was providing for Saudi lawyers as it became the first international firm to establish an integrated partnership in the Kingdom.

In a statement, Abuhimed said: ‘We expect the coming months and years to see a significant increase in the demand for legal services in Saudi Arabia, with a greater requirement for deep specialisation across a broader range of expertise. We are looking forward to working together to ensure a seamless transition for clients and staff when the new association becomes operational later this year.’