Saturday, July 4, 2009

Baker Botts Aggressively Grows Middle East Presence

The law firm of James A. Baker III significantly expanded its Middle East operations according to a company press release. It stated:

Client demand for legal services in the Middle East continues to fuel expansion for Baker Botts L.L.P., prompting the firm to increase its commitment to the region by opening an office in Abu Dhabi — its third in the Middle East — and upgrading and expanding the firm’s current offices in Dubai and Riyadh.

Abu Dhabi is a natural fit for Baker Botts given the firm’s extensive background in energy-related matters. The growth of office space corresponds with the increase of Baker Botts lawyers in the region. During the past five years, the firm has more than tripled the number of lawyers based in the Middle East.
James Baker has longtime connections to The Carlyle Group, a private equity underwriter (PEU). Baker and Carlyle hosted the son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Ghadafi in Washington, D.C. Carlyle started a $500 million Middle East/North Africa fund. Surely they need lawyers to do the deals. It helps to have attorneys who understand the PEU business, those with close ties to their shadowy financial world. Here's how the boys at Baker Botts stand ready to help Carlyle & company.

During the past year, Baker Botts lawyers have worked on significant representations from Middle East offices as the firm builds a strong footprint in the region. These representations include a major independent power project program, a number of key merger and acquisition matters, projects relating to the development of Iraq’s oil and gas fields, and the financing of expansion plans for a number of chemical plants.

Seeding the Middle East with attorneys? It's a necessary first step for Western economic expansion. Recall President Obama's promise to develop the Middle Eastern economy? I bet Baker Botts isn't doing any volunteer work. Baker Botts' newest partner recently visited the Middle East. What did Frances Fragos Townsend sell in her meeting with kings? Soldiers are out, financial barbarians and their army of lawyers are in.