Baker & McKenzie Opens in Qatar

Global giant Baker & McKenzie has further expanded its Middle Eastern presence with the launch of a new office in Qatar, headed by Bahrain finance partner Ian Siddell and Gulf managing partner Borys Dackiw. The office, which opened on Tuesday, is the firm’s fifth in the region and its 69th worldwide.

Baker chairman Eduardo Leite in a statement described the move as “an important and logical step.” The firm already has a number of clients who are active in Qatar, which last December was selected as the surprise host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Baker’s French practice has a long-standing relationship with sovereign property fund the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., led by Paris partners Marc Mariani and Remy Bricard.

“We have been actively servicing clients in Qatar for many years, and our new office will enable us to provide on-the-ground support in this increasingly important business and financial market,” says European chairman and executive committee member Koen Vanhaerents.

Baker & McKenzie was among the first international law firms to establish a presence in the Middle East, opening a Riyadh office in 1980 and following that with outposts in Cairo, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. The firm has 40 lawyers spread throughout the region.

The launch in Qatar comes just seven months after Baker opened a 20-lawyer funds and tax-focused practice in Luxembourg. Leite, who started in his new role last October, is targeting additional growth in Latin America, Turkey, South Korea and Africa.