10 October 2012 - Global legal practice Squire Sanders announces that it has expanded its Middle East practice through the acquisition of El-Khoury & Partners MENA business, which formerly operated in Saudi Arabia as EK Partners & Al-Enezee. The acquisition has strengthened Squire Sanders’ presence in the region as it now opens a fully integrated office in Riyadh operating as Al-Enezee in association with Squire Sanders.

The Riyadh office will continue to represent businesses and government entities as well as multinational companies, financial institutions and private investors throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), through an expanded team of 15 lawyers led by Kevin Connor, alongside Ziad El-Khoury, Khulaif Al-Enezee, Wissam Hachem and Hadi Melki. The office will also serve as a springboard for Squire Sanders’ activities across the region.

New Squire Sanders partner Ziad Ghassan El-Khoury, previously Managing Partner of EK Partners & Al-Enezee, comments: ”This is one of the first acquisitions of a Middle East law firm by a global legal practice and it demonstrates Squire Sanders’ long-term commitment to investing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As part of a global practice we can offer regional clients considerable added value and will be able to leverage our presence in the Middle East, particularly in the telecoms, capital markets, projects and infrastructure sectors – these are key sectors in this market and for which Squire Sanders already has an outstanding reputation in many jurisdictions worldwide. We are also looking at next steps as we implement our strategic business plan for the region. ”

Kevin Connor, Squire Sanders’ co-ordinating partner for MENA based in Riyadh, says: “We have worked closely with El-Khoury and Al-Enezee for many years, and the consolidation of this relationship is a natural progression. Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest economy and so a strong, on the ground presence in the Kingdom is a key step in further developing our regional practice. We now have 15 full-time lawyers in Riyadh, making a total of 46 active in our MENA practice. The Middle East is a key part of our global business, and this investment is to serve all our clients who do business there.”

Khulaif Al-Enezee commented: “We’re delighted to deepen and expand our association with Squire Sanders. There is increasing international interest in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of inward investment and M&A, and of course in construction and project finance. Saudi companies are looking for advisors who have the know-how and experience of working with global businesses in these areas. Our own advice to clients has become more diversified as the economy has diversified - we now advise inbound and outbound on a local, regional and cross-border basis, so being integrated into Squire Sanders’ global platform strengthens our capabilities significantly.”