The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a strategic regional option for international law firms

In light of the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 386 dated 7/14/1443 AH corresponding to 03/01/2022 AD regarding the approval of the recent amendments that dealt with the legal system issued by Royal Decree No. (M/38) dated 7/28/1422 AH corresponding to 10/15/2001 AD, which singled out a special chapter for licensing foreign law firms, as these firms are racing to move and search for opportunities for themselves to be able to have a regional and strategic presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It is no secret to anyone that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest exporters of crude oil in the world, as well as possessing oil reserves that are among the largest in the world, in addition to the wealth of natural gas and mineral resources and other vast wealth. Moreover, the development and diversification of the economy is one of the main objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as the vision focuses on deepening the integration of the Saudi economy into the regional and global system, and developing economic relations in these two systems. There is no doubt that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Royal Highness Prince Muhammad bin Salman, has sensed the importance of the existence of international foreign law firms in the kingdom, as they are important economic links to attract capital and companies, as they play an important role as the godfather of foreign investment, facilitator and regulator for the process of establishing foreign investments in the Kingdom, or assist Saudi investments in abroad through their branches around the world.

But if we talk about the legal services sector market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is a fertile market and is still capable of absorbing a good number of international foreign law firms, and, in light of the recent amendments to the Code of Law Practice, the international offices, through their legally and correctly presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will reap many advantages, for example but not limited to, we will address some of them:

– Foreign law firms will be able to serve their international clients who have a presence or desire to be present in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as these international offices will have offices on the ground, stable and established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the regulations, which enhances the confidence of their clients in them and achieves sustainability.

– The participation in providing legal services in large qualitative projects taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will need the expertise of such international law firms.

– Benefiting from the fact that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to stop contracting with any foreign company or commercial institution that has a regional headquarters in the region outside the Kingdom, starting from 1/1/2024, and this includes governmental bodies, institutions and funds, or any of its agencies, as those international law firms whose regional branches will be located in the Kingdom will obtain a significant share of the Saudi legal services market.

– Contribute to the service of these international law firms for Saudi investments abroad through the spread of the branches of these firms around the world.

On the other hand, there are positive gains and effects that the Saudi market, as well as Saudi lawyers in particular, will obtain from entering these international law firms in light of the new amendments to the Code of Law Practice. These advantages include, for example, but not limited to:

– The contribution of these specialized foreign law firms to the revival of the Saudi economy through its leadership of foreign investment towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the strengthening of its position in it, especially if these firms are chosen with great care.

– Supporting the experiences of Saudi lawyers and blending them with international experiences through the transfer of legal knowledge and the means and tools of foreign legal work, which will contribute to the expansion of legal perceptions and the introduction of new and modern methods for Saudi lawyers according to the best international practices in law firms.

– Opening new specialized job opportunities for Saudi lawyers, whether through cooperation, partnership, or working in these international foreign firms.

– Correcting the situation of the international foreign firms currently present in the Kingdom by taking one of the regular forms of presence specified by the law, which regulates the revenues of these offices and preserves the rights of Saudi lawyers participating in these offices, and, on the other hand, preserves the rights of the foreign firms themselves and enhances the concept of governance in them.

In conclusion, we stress on the importance of the role played by international foreign law firms in promoting economic opportunities among the countries that these firms knock on their doors.


Abdullah Bin Nafia Alanezi

Managing Partner