Al Tamimi & Company has opened its second Saudi Arabia office in Jeddah.

The UAE based firm first established its presence in the Kingdom in 2008 when it launched in Riyadh.

Former Baker Botts Riyadh special counsel, Sumit Soni, who joined Al Tamimi in January, has been tasked with leading the nascent office. He will be supported by local, regional and Western lawyers, the firm has said.

Soni handles corporate commercial matters, including M&A and joint ventures, in addition to advising on both Islamic and conventional finance.

There are plenty of opportunities for commercial lawyers in Jeddah. A swathe of infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges and a metro, are at various stages of development, and are not expected to be affected by the drop in oil prices given the country’s robust economy and impressive outlook.

Al Tamimi is the largest firm in the Middle East with 16 offices in 9 countries. It has expanded aggressively in the past 18 months, opening a second Iraq office; branches in Bahrain and Oman, meaning its network now encompasses outposts in all GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries; and an offering in Egypt through a local association.

The firm is licenced to practice under its own brand in Saudi Arabia without a local sponsor. When it first launched in the Kingdom it was the only firm permitted to function in such a way. In the past two years, however, the regulators have been more liberal, allowing several international firms, including Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co, to launch mixed Saudi foreign law practices, on the condition at least 50% of the partners are Saudi nationals.