Having moved into Baghdad in 2003, leading Middle East law firm Al Tamimi & Co. is now poised to venture into another war-torn country: Libya.
A senior Al Tamimi & Co. source tells The Am Law Daily that the 35-partner firm has already applied for a license to open a Tripoli office in early 2012 that would be staffed exclusively by local lawyers.
Founding and senior partner Essam Al Tamimi would only say that the firm hopes to establish a Tripoli operation by February. Such a move would be reminiscent of Al Tamimi & Co.'s entry into Iraq in 2003. "We moved into Iraq as soon as it was liberated, and we would like to do the same in Libya," Essam Al Tamimi says.
Security concerns forced the firm to pull out of Iraq within three years. It reopened its Baghdad office in 2009 and now has nine lawyers based there full time.
A special steering committee, formed by the firm earlier this year to investigate the Libya market, is due to report its findings to the Al Tamimi & Co. management board later this month.
Al Tamimi already has experience working in Libya. The firm's regional head of arbitration, Paul Turner, who joined from U.K. insurance firm Clyde & Co in November 2010, has acted on cross-border disputes involving the country.
Among major international law firms, SNR Denton has maintained an alliance with Libya's Tumi Law Firm since late 2009.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.