'Our [Middle East] practice will continue to grow, with a focus on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as our affiliation in Kuwait and rapidly expanding markets in Iraq and throughout the Gulf.'

-- Robert Jordan



Robert Jordan is Partner in Charge of the Middle East practice for Baker Botts.










New Group Supports Middle East Growth Plans

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 expertise does this new group of lawyers bring to the firm’s Middle East operations?

RJ: They bring decades of experience in sophisticated corporate and commercial transactions, international dispute resolution, local law, regulatory and compliance. Their industry expertise extends into energy, aviation and defense, construction, health care, hospitality and consumer products, with the added dimension of anti-bribery and related corporate compliance and internal investigations.


What is your vision for the firm’s Middle East operations in the next 2-3 years?

RJ: The Middle East is a key market for us, and we have as many offices in the region as we do in Texas. Our practice will continue to grow, with a focus on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as our affiliation in Kuwait and rapidly expanding markets in Iraq and throughout the Gulf. This group blends well with our worldwide strengths in energy, infrastructure, corporate and dispute resolution. Our depth, scale and long history in the region should provide our clients with superb service on both international and local law issues.


Which industries provide the most opportunity for growth in the Middle East legal sector? Why?

RJ: Rapid GDP growth in the Gulf will fuel major expansion in energy, infrastructure and construction, power and dispute resolution. Expanding populations require significant investment in these areas, and we are well suited to handle the most challenging legal issues that our clients face.


Which countries or regions in the Middle East are a hot bed for legal growth? Why?

RJ: Saudi Arabia is a remarkable market. Its economy is vast and growing. I recently counted 40 high rise office towers going up in the King Abdullah Financial Center. Dubai has rebounded nicely from the economic downturn and Abu Dhabi is poised to proceed with many projects that had been delayed. Kuwait has amazing capacity for growth, and Iraq is expected to have one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world.


With this addition of legal talent to your Middle East operations -- moving Baker Botts into a dominant role in the region -- who do you consider to be your toughest competitors for clients and continued growth in the Middle East?

RJ: We will not comment on competitors but believe we have as deep and broad a bench as anyone, and look forward to discussing our enhanced capabilities with our clients and with prospective clients.



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