Duane Morris LLP Opens Joint Law Venture in Oman, Establishing Presence in Gulf Region

PHILADELPHIA and MUSCAT, Oman, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Duane Morris LLP announced today that it has opened its first office in the Middle East through a joint venture with the Al Mashaikhi Law Firm, a multi-practice law firm in Muscat, Oman. The newly established joint venture, to be known as the Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi and Partner Law Firm—A GCC representative office of Duane Morris—significantly expands the capabilities and geographic reach of both firms. The Omani firm was founded by name partner Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi, and Duane Morris partner Jeffrey Rodwell, formerly based in Duane Morris' London office, who has relocated to Muscat to serve as the managing  director.

Duane Morris previously expanded its global footprint with the formation in 2010 of an enhanced joint law venture with Selvam LLC in Singapore, creating Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, followed in 2011 by a strategic alliance with Mexico City firm Miranda & Estavillo. Duane Morris also has offices in London as well as in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, in addition to its 20 U.S. locations.

"We are excited about the opportunities that our new venture with Dr. Al Mashaikhi and his colleagues opens for our clients and the firm," said Duane Morris Chairman and CEO John Soroko. "Oman's key location and role in international commerce, as well as an affluent population and a modern, open economy, create an abundance of business possibilities. Our two firms have been in talks for more than a year, and by formalizing our relationship as a new joint venture with Dr. Al Mashaikhi's firm, Duane Morris greatly expands its transactional capabilities not only in Oman, but also throughout the Gulf region."

Because Oman is a member of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a trade and economic alliance that facilitates regional commerce among key states in the region, joint venture law firm is able to provide legal services across the entire region. The other five GCC countries are The Kingdom of Bahrain, The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

"We are pleased to join forces with such an excellent and long-established American firm," said Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi, founder of the Al Mashaikhi law firm. "Duane Morris has a strong presence in the United States and globally, as well as an impressive reputation for client service. We look forward to leveraging the global Duane Morris platform and working with the firm's lawyers to expand the services we offer. We believe our mutual reputation for superb legal service will have great impact on the business community that we now expect to serve together."

Dr. Al Mashaikhi has more than 15 years of experience practicing law in Oman and surrounding GCC countries. His experience encompasses legal work for banking and financial services clients, construction projects and disputes, foreign investments, and work in business and commercial law and foreign claims.

Duane Morris will coordinate its Omani involvement through its London office but also expects significant interaction with its New York, Vietnam and Singapore offices. Duane Morris' interest in Oman was sparked by its relationship with ICT, LLC, an influential investment banking firm with significant interests in the country.

By many international indices, the Sultanate of Oman is one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab world, and is also the oldest independent state in the region. Oman is strategically located at the juncture of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, known as the Gulf of Oman. While its principal exports are petroleum-based, the country also has a significant financial services sector that is active both regionally and globally, as well as interests in the metals industry. As a member of the World Trade Organization, Oman enjoys full diplomatic relations and trade relationships with all the world's developed countries.  It has Double Tax Treaties with most of its trading partners and a Free Trade Agreement with each of the United States and Singapore.

Additionally, Oman has historically close ties with Southeast Asia and the Far East, particularly with India, Vietnam and Singapore, where Duane Morris currently provides legal services throughout Southeast Asia.

About Dr. Said Al Mashaikhi and Partner Law Firm—A GCC Representative Office of Duane Morris
Operating from its home base in Muscat, Oman, the new joint venture will represent clients in both inbound and outbound transactions originating in Oman, as well as in the other five member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The joint venture will focus on major areas, such as project; equipment and asset-based finance; trade finance; real estate; private equity and sovereign wealth funds work; and Islamic finance. The firm will handle dispute resolution matters through its domestic constituent firm.

About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP, a global law firm with more than 700 attorneys in offices across the United States and around the world, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges.

SOURCE Duane Morris LLP



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