I was read that Weil, Gotshal was going to be opening a new Middle East office in January. It got me wondering: how many of the top 50 AmLaw Firms have Middle East Offices?
Oddly, top ranking Skadden does not.
The most popular location is Dubai, with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi tying for second place.
I speculate this because the ones that do have ME offices are heavily invested in their energy and project finance practices. Although some may be handling corporate work, I would hazard to guess that the work is so specialized that it would require solid ME legal expertise, which is very hard to come by.
Also, setting up office in the Middle East is complicated: it requires assocations with local firms. And don't forget integrating into the rest of the firm's technology.
Recently the NY Times was advocating that employment-challenged lawyers may consider looking to the Middle East for their next gig. Apparently, there is a wealth of vacancies if you are willing to adopt a new culture.
If you are interested in the full list, shoot me an e-mail.