DUBAI, UAE, July 16, 2013 – LawFuel.com – Law Firm News– A highly-regarded group of lawyers with accumulated experience of more than a century of practice in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — including eight partners who specialize in a wide range of transactional and dispute matters — joined Baker Botts L.L.P. today. The lawyers will work from firm offices in Dubai, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
The Middle East group — a total of 14 lawyers and a significant number of support staff — moved to the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright. It includes John Lonsberg, who established Fulbright & Jaworski’s presence in the Middle East when he joined Fulbright in 2005 and served as the partner in charge of that firm’s Middle East practice; fellow partners Mark Bisch, Jonathan Sutcliffe, Joseph Colagiovanni, Hassan Elsayed, Richard Devine and Philip Punwar in Dubai, and Sam Eversman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
This move, along with the alliance agreement signed with the International Legal Group in Kuwait earlier this year, enhances Baker Botts’ reputation as a significant legal force in the region and allows the firm to provide an even broader range of service and capabilities to clients. This includes providing extensive counsel to foreign companies active in Kuwait and the UAE or Kuwait- and UAE-based companies active internationally.
“This team — considered ‘go-to’ choices for any business requiring legal counsel in the Middle East — has extensive experience in the region over a wide range of industry segments and practice areas that goes back for more than 30 years,” said Baker Botts Managing Partner Andrew Baker. “They are frequently referred to as ‘the region’s lawyers,’ and we are pleased to have them join the firm and our Middle East team. This affirms our commitment to having a strong presence in the region and to support clients, whether based in the Middle East or elsewhere, regarding their business interests in the region.”
The new lawyers joining Baker Botts focus primarily on corporate and commercial transactions, regulatory and compliance, project finance, international arbitration and dispute resolution matters, and local law across a range of industries, including energy, technology, aviation and defense, construction, hospitality and consumer productswith the added dimension of anti-bribery and related corporate compliance and internal investigations.
With this move, Baker Botts now has 40 lawyers in its Middle East offices, giving it one of the largest team of any U.S.-headquartered firm in the region. Baker Botts has more than 700 lawyers in 14 offices around the world.
The group collectively brings multiple decades of experience serving international and locally-based clients throughout the region. They are well-versed in local law and business custom and have developed long-term relationships with Middle East-based businesses and government entities.
“This group of talented and experienced lawyers will cement our position as one of the dominant legal forces in the region,” said Robert Jordan, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Partner in Charge of the firm’s Middle East practice. “This team significantly enhances our ongoing efforts to build a broad portfolio of capabilities in the Middle East in order to help clients address the growing demand for sophisticated legal services on a wide of array of complex issues.”
Jamie Baker, International Partner for Baker Botts, said, “Over many years we have become familiar with John and several of his partners and their ability to successfully represent clients on transactions and disputes across the GCC countries. It was always clear that we share similar approaches to the practice of law. We see a lot of synergy with the group and look forward to expanding the services we can offer our collective client base.”
Lonsberg said, “I knew the firm was interested in growing its platform and practices, and I saw our team’s 30 years presence in the Middle East as a full complement to what Baker Botts has developed here in recent years.”
Michael Goldberg, co-chair of the International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution practice at Baker Botts, said, “We are excited about bringing on board this top-notch dispute resolution group in the Middle East. Jonathan and Philip and their team, when added to our existing practice, continues our expansion around the world in order to assist our clients with quality and experience with disputes which is second to none.”
The group joining Baker Botts has received recognition from publications that annually evaluate the legal profession. In the 2013 Chambers Global rankings, for instance, the Middle East practice was recognized for representing a major local energy company in a high-profile joint venture with a Chinese counterpart.
Beyond the natural resources sector, Chambers editors wrote, “the group is also well-known for its experience in defense and security work and counsels several multinationals on their regional activities.”