Vinson & Elkins Opens in Saudi Arabia

Vinson & Elkins is expanding its Middle East practice with its first office in Saudi Arabia, the firm announced Monday. The office has launched in association with the Law Office of Looaye M. Al-Akkas. Al-Akkas, a former Baker & McKenzie senior associate, will lead Vinson’s new Riyadh office.

“V&E has been active in the region for a long time,” Al-Akkas says. “They have the right forward-looking approach — it just made sense to open now.”

The Riyadh office focuses on infrastructure, M&A, capital markets, energy, project development, finance and conventional and Islamic banking and finance.

Al-Akkas, who specializes in capital markets and M&A and on advising multinational companies in structuring major projects in Saudi Arabia, says renewable energy is a growth area. V&E is advising the Saudi government in developing a regulatory regime for alternative energy developers.

“Energy will continue to be the hot topic,” says Al-Akkas, a former in-house lawyer for Saudi Aramco. “Wind, solar and even nuclear power are going to play an important role in the region in the near future.”

The Riyadh office is the third in the Middle East for V&E, a leading firm advising energy companies. The firm opened in Dubai in 2003 and in Abu Dhabi in 2007.

Partners Sami Al-Louzi, in the firm’s Abu Dhabi office, and Ahmed el-Gaili, in V&E’s Dubai office, will work partly out of the new Riyadh location.