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Doha's thriving market for legal services

Posted by: Laurence Simons 17/12/13

The Qatari capital of Doha has proven a major business hub for companies looking to gain a foothold in the United Arab Emirates, springing up to become an impressive corporate centre over the last few decades.

One area in which this rapid expansion has been reflected is legal services, with many Magic Circle and biglaw firms opening bases in the city.

Now, with the country spending billions to gear up for the 2022 World Cup and attempting to further modernise its infrastructure, more opportunities for investment could be on their way.

The government has a strategy for how Qatar will develop over the next 15 years, with plans for huge investment across the board.

Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, the new prime minister, is attempting to improve the state's record when it comes to human rights issues, potentially making it an even more attractive destination, reports the Lawyer.

Charles Russell's Qatar head, Simon Green, who has relocated from Bahrain to lead the office, told the news provider that demand was behind their decision to open a base in Doha.

"We're leveraging off what's widely recognised as a very successful practice that Charles Russell has developed in the Middle East," he declared.

While economic growth may have levelled off to some extent in recent years, the Middle East still offers plenty of opportunities for legal firms that are capable of engaging with both domestic and international clients.

According to Mr Green, his firm's clients suggested it could make more money by getting involved with property and infrastructure projects currently taking place across Doha.

However, having a specialism can really help companies make a success of their Qatari expansion.

"My remit as head of office isn't just to deal with the real estate and construction team, it's also to build a more general full-service practice. Until we've got the workflow coming through that can justify that, we've got the Bahrain office, which is a full-service operation," concluded the legal expert.