'I knew the firm was interested in growing its platform and practices, and I saw our team's 30 years in the Middle East as a full complement to what Baker Botts has developed here during the past few years.'

-- John Lonsberg



John Lonsberg is a partner in the firm's Dubai office.










Joining Baker Botts Influenced By Middle East Growth

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of Q&As with Baker Botts partners on significantly enhancing Baker Botts’ Middle East practice by combining its existing practice with the acquisition of one of the most significant practices in the Middle East.



What attracted you and your colleagues to Baker Botts?

JL: Andy Baker and I worked on a significant M&A transaction in the 1990s and kept in touch over the years. As I watched Baker Botts grow into the firm it is today, when the time was right for my team to seek something new, I called Andy and renewed the friendship. I, of course, knew of the firm's deep roots in energy and technology but also the long-standing relationship between the firm and the Middle East through Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Ambassador Robert Jordan and others. Finally, I knew the firm was interested in growing its platform and practices, and I saw our team's 30 years in the Middle East as a full complement to what Baker Botts has developed here in recent years.


What industries do you anticipate will drive future growth in your practice?

JL: Energy -- in all forms and fashions; foreign and domestic investment by Sovereigns and others; technology and aerospace; defense contracting, governmental relations, anti-corruption and local law are all keys to our practice now and going forward.


In your experience, how has practicing law in the varied countries in the Middle East changed over time?

JL: We practice throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. As each continues to innovate, grow and develop, we see a need arise for sophisticated, global legal services coupled with the many years of local expertise we can provide. Our long term, collective experience in the region allows us to provide our clients a local law and practice capability that we see as a major value add in today's competitive environment.


Is arbitration being used more now in the Middle East than before? If so, why?

JL: The Middle East is a leader in international arbitration with well-established Middle East-based tribunals and rules for dispute resolution. We also have extensive experience resolving disputes in local tribunals and see significant opportunities in that practice segment as well. As business flows in and through the region, we see a growing comfort with resolving disputes here using the varied Middle East international arbitration and other forums.


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