Riyadh

Fueled by steady gross revenue growth, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton has expanded its services in the Middle East by partnering with Saudi Arabian firm Turkistani & Alabbad.

“We like working with Turkistani & Alabbad because of their deep commitment to client service, [which is] very similar to Sheppard Mullin’s culture,” said Sheppard Mullin chairman Guy Halgren.

Sheppard Mullin had been on the hunt for Saudi firms to affiliate with since late 2015, said Halgren, noting that his firm eventually formed its alliance with Turkistani & Alabbad due to the close relationship between corporate partner Hwan Kim and the Saudi firm’s managing partner Jihad Turkistani. The two were previously colleagues at Squire Patton Boggs and have worked closely on multinational projects. (Kim left Squire Patton Boggs in 2015 to join Sheppard Mullin in Washington, D.C.)

“Turkistani & Alabbad specializes in complex litigation and arbitration, government contracts and corporate transactions, including real estate franchising and licensing,” Halgren said of the firm. “Their attorneys are also known for their excellent technical skills, and we are very fortunate to have Turkistani & Alabbad on our team.”

Turkistani & Alabbad is based in Riyadh, the Saudi capital and main financial hub in the oil-rich nation. It currently has about seven or eight lawyers, including its two name partners, Halgren said. The relationship with Sheppard Mullin will allow the latter to provide seamless legal services to clients who have business interests in Saudi Arabia, he said.

As stated on Turkistani & Alabbad’s website, Turkistani is fluent in Arabic and English, as well as a dual citizen of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. He formed his firm two years ago this month after leaving Squire Patton Boggs’ office in Riyadh, which legacy firm Patton Boggs opened in 2012 after hiring a team of lawyers from now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf.

“Sheppard Mullin has offices located in key cities around the world, and their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable to our clients who are doing business internationally,” said Turkistani in a statement, one that noted his firm is “pleased to be working with Sheppard Mullin and its clients.”

Sheppard Mullin ranked 58th on The American Lawyer’s most recent Am Law 100 list. The 655-lawyer firm saw gross revenue rise to $607 million in 2016, while profits per equity partner hit nearly $1.5 million. Halgren said the firm, which has 15 offices located throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S., does not plan to open an office of its own in the Middle East, a region where other large firms have dialed back their local operations in recent years.

Some global firms, however, are continuing to ink alliances in Saudi Arabia, which is going through internal upheaval as the country seeks to lessen its dependency on an overseas appetite for oil.

Earlier this week, DLA Piper established a new association with a firm in Riyadh. Other large international firms strengthening their ties with Saudi Arabia in recent months include CMSLinklaters and Pinsent Masons.

Saudi rules require that foreign firms have a local partner in order to operate in the country.