Morning Briefing: Law firm set to launch in Saudi Arabia

An international law firm plans to launch in Saudi Arabia just a few months after closing its Abu Dhabi office… Kirkland adds another partner to its HK restructuring team… Partner joins Denton’s Japan practice… Indian tax law set to become simpler… Competition in UK market intensifies…

Herbert Smith Freehills plans return to Saudi Arabia
It was just a few months ago that Herbert Smith Freehills closed its office in Abu Dhabi but now it is planning to re-enter the market. The firm will seek approval for an association with a local law firm and is hoping to open in Riyadh in the first half of 2016. HSF previously had an association with Al-Ghazzawi Professional Association which ended after almost seven years in 2013. The firm has Middle East offices in Qatar and Dubai.
Kirkland adds another partner to its HK restructuring team
Another former partner from Hogan Lovells has joined Kirkland & Ellis to strengthen its restructuring team in Hong Kong. Kelley Naphtali will join former Hogan head of restructuring Neil McDonald along with another former lawyer from the firm, Damien Coles. Naphtali has spent the past four years at boutique firm Limpas Karas.
Partner joins Denton’s Japan practice
Takura Kawai is joining the global corporate practice at Dentons where he will add strength to the Japan desk. Based in Warsaw, Kawai joins from CMS Cameron McKenna where he was head of the Japan practice in the CEE region.
Indian tax law set to become simpler
Tax laws in Asia’s third largest economy are to be reformed to make doing business easier. India’s finance minister announced the move on Tuesday and Reuters reports that a panel will be formed to consider reforms to the 55-year-old laws. The plan is to simplify legislation for businesses without a significant impact on tax revenues.
Competition in UK market intensifies 
The UK’s legal market is facing increased competition from non-traditional businesses, such as accountants becoming legal services, but is also facing increased competition from within. Not only are barristers offering their services directly to clients but solicitor-advocates are fighting back with a new portal for those seeking advocacy services. The Solicitors’ Association for High Court Advocates which represents those solicitors who are qualified to appear in the higher courts, has set up a portal to offer its members’ services to clients.
Its vice-president William Richmond-Coggan told the Law Society Gazette: “…the bar is moving into direct access work so they are pushing this idea that the bar is able to be a one-stop shop for clients. That is something solicitor-advocates have been doing for years so we want to raise their profile to help our members to do that.’

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