Andrews Kurth Middle East has launched its integrated legal and contractual risk management programme for clients seeking to expand in the Middle East.

The programme was launched in January at an event co-hosted with the Energy Industries Council (EIC) and attended by over 20 companies. The programme was presented by Hugh Fraser and Heather Williams and included specialist input from Jeff Dodd and Dena Palermo from the Houston office of Andrews Kurth. Paul Fox, Deputy Ambassador at the British Embassy in the UAE, and Terry Willis, Middle East Regional Director for the EIC, also gave presentations at the event.

The integrated programme covers eight key risk areas which Andrews Kurth believes are the primary sources of legal risk management challenges: cross region business licensing and registration, local partner agreements, client and supplier contracts, employment contracts, protection of intellectual property, taxation, business ethics and anti-corruption, and trade sanctions.

Hugh Fraser explained: “Our clients are largely drawn from private equity and venture capital-backed companies which are targeting rapid business expansion in the region and medium term exit opportunities for investors. Although the region is awash with opportunities it also throws up legal and commercial risk management challenges and a failure to properly tackle these challenges can be highly damaging to exit values and prospects. Due to the problems and limitations of litigation and arbitration in the region the emphasis has to be on prevention rather than cure and this involves detailed due diligence, well-crafted contracts and development of long-term relationships. This is the focus of our approach and we hope this will shine through in real economic value add to our clients.”

We are rolling out the programme during the course of 2015 and the next major staging post will be the EIC Connect Abu Dhabi event in June.