SOURCE: King & Spalding

January 22, 2007 11:00 ET

King & Spalding Expands Middle East Platform With Addition of Three Lawyers in Dubai

Firm's Dubai Office to Focus on Islamic Finance, Energy, Private Equity, Real Estate and International Arbitration Work in Middle East, Asia and North Africa

HOUSTON, TX and DUBAI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 22, 2007 -- King & Spalding, a leading international law firm, announced today that it has added three lawyers to its new Dubai office as part of its expansion in the Middle East, bringing the total number of King & Spalding lawyers in Dubai to seven.

The increase in staffing in the firm's new office in Dubai is in response to growing client demand in the areas of Islamic finance, energy, real estate, private equity and international arbitration in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. The King & Spalding office in Dubai opened this month after receipt of a license from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in November.

The firm also announced it intends to establish an affiliation with a Saudi Arabian lawyer based in Riyadh, which will enhance the firm's ability to handle transactions in Saudi Arabia. Details of the Saudi Arabia affiliation are being finalized.

"Many of our lawyers have been handling client matters in the Arabian Gulf region for more than 20 years, and with the huge growth in investment within the region and the vibrant regional business hub that has developed there, we believe the timing is right for King & Spalding to have a significant presence in the region," said Robert D. Hays, chairman of King & Spalding. "With the relocation of several partners to the Middle East, the addition of these three new lawyers who have been working in the region for a number of years and our planned affiliation with a lawyer in Riyadh, we now have a team in place to immediately begin serving our clients with needs in the region."

King & Spalding has hired three senior associates from Baker Botts' Dubai office as part of its next step in expanding in the Middle East:

--  Nabil Issa, an Arabic speaker focusing on Islamic finance and
    investment who has worked in both Riyadh and Dubai;
--  Patrick Campos, whose practice focuses on international project
    development and finance and who has worked in both Riyadh and Dubai; and
--  Wael Wahbeh, a native Arabic speaker specializing in corporate and
    private equity work who has worked in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Issa and Campos were both acclaimed as up-and-coming leaders in corporate and commercial law among lawyers in the UAE in the 2007 edition of Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business.

"We believe King & Spalding's commitment to relocating key partners to the region combined with the experience and deep local knowledge of Issa, Campos and Wahbeh will provide our clients with world-class support for their transactions and disputes in the region," said Hays.

These three new associates join partner Philip Weems, the leader of King & Spalding's international energy practice, who has relocated from Houston to serve as managing partner of the Dubai office. Weems has extensive experience working in the Middle East and lived in Asia for more than 10 years. Weems has for several years been ranked a leading energy lawyer by Chambers Global, Petroleum Economist and Euromoney, and he recently served as President of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.

Jawad Ali, a partner in the firm's Islamic finance and investment practice, will relocate to Dubai from London, and Benjamin Newland, a partner in the firm's private equity practice, will relocate from Atlanta to Dubai. Ali has lived and practiced in the Gulf region and has an active practice currently focusing on Middle Eastern clients. Newland focuses on strategic corporate transactions, with an emphasis on Middle Eastern clients. Partner Isam Salah, leader of the firm's Islamic finance and investment practice, will maintain offices in both Dubai and New York, where he is currently located.

The highest concentration of King & Spalding's clients outside the United States is in the Arabian Gulf and the level of work for those clients has grown dramatically over the past decade. The firm was named the top Islamic finance legal advisor by Euromoney in 2004, largely based on the pioneering Islamic finance, private equity and real estate work the firm has done for those clients in the United States and Europe. Many of those same clients are now calling on the firm to provide its expertise on similar transactions within the Middle East. The firm's energy practitioners also have extensive experience in the Middle East, having handled numerous projects in the region, and their ability to serve clients based or operating in the Middle East will be substantially enhanced by this expansion. The firm's arbitration and capital markets practices also stand to benefit greatly from the firm's presence in the region, due to the presence of a regional arbitration venue and the Dubai International Financial Exchange in the DIFC.

"King & Spalding has long been a leader in energy projects, international energy arbitration and oil and gas litigation, and establishing a physical presence in the Middle East is the next logical step in meeting the significant demand for our energy expertise," said Weems. "Our unique experience in LNG, gas, power, petrochemical and renewable energy projects is particularly relevant to the region. The number of energy, infrastructure and industrial projects that are underway or planned in the Gulf region and nearby is unprecedented, and we look forward to helping serve clients who are involved in them."

"We are very excited about the prospects for King & Spalding's presence in the Middle East," said Salah. "Our Dubai office will allow us to grow our representation of Middle East clients investing in the United States and Europe, assist Middle East clients with investments within the region and expand our work for U.S. corporations with interests in the Middle East. This is a burgeoning region with much promise for our firm."

About King & Spalding

King & Spalding is an international law firm with more than 800 lawyers in Atlanta, Dubai, Houston, London, New York and Washington, D.C. The firm represents half of the Fortune 100, and in a Corporate Counsel survey in August 2006 was ranked one of the top ten firms representing Fortune 250 companies overall. For additional information, visit

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    King & Spalding
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