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QATAR : McGrigors opens an office in Qatar.

A Northern Ireland-based law firm said that it will open a new office in the Middle East. McGrigors holds offices on Bridge Street in Belfast. It also got a licence to set up a branch office in Doha, Qatar by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority.

The plan is led by James Elwen, who is a partner in the firm's energy and infrastructure practice. He has moved to Doha to head the team in the new office. The firm already performs a major amount of work in the region as a result of several energy matters. It resulted in a noteworthy percentage of its revenue in 2009-10 from the region.

Mr Elwen said, "The State of Qatar is ambitious, with a clear vision for its future. We are confident that we can make a valuable contribution towards meeting its aspirations. For some time we have been committed to the Qatari market and are pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate that in a very tangible way through this new office."

Managing partner of McGrigors, Richard Masters, said that the office was mainly to service present demand. He said that the firm looks for broad development. "The requirement for sophisticated legal services from extremely significant clients in the region seems likely to increase in the future. We believe that our focus on the energy, infrastructure and professional and financial services sectors make this a strategically good fit," he said. "We put together what we think is a very strong business case to that effect and are pleased to have received our licence to open."

Paul McBride, a partner in the Belfast office and board member of McGrigors, said that there were opportunities to boost relations between Northern Ireland and the Middle East. "In addition to having an established client base in Qatar, we have already had a lot of conversations with clients and intermediaries here and are aware of a number of burgeoning business links between Northern Ireland and Qatar," he said. "Particularly after the challenges in Dubai over the past few years, a lot of exporters seem to favour Qatar as the best option when forming a bulkhead for operations in the Middle East."

McGrigors grew considerably in the past three years. It merged with Belfast firm L'Estrange and Brett in 2009, doubling the size of its Manchester office, and reinforcing the firm's ancient energy team in Aberdeen.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Mar 15, 2011
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