I refer to the IFLR1000 whenever I need outside counsel for a region where I do not have any experience, or if I am unhappy with a counsel and want to change.
Robert GullaGeneral CounselLukoil International (Austria)
We operate panels in many practice areas and in many countries. We don't always have a practice area specialist who knows firms in the country, so that is where guides like this come in handy.
The IFLR1000 is a useful cross reference to refer to ... to make sure a personal referral aligns with some objective rankings from a survey. I would refer to it in my main area, M&A, when looking for a counsel in a country we are new to.
The country-by-country tiered rankings by practice area are a good approach, to get a rough feel if a firm is viewed as active in a practice area.
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Arab Law Bureau
Arab Law Bureau is a strong domestic firm run by the well liked and highly regarded Alaa Hamad. "From my experience, he was responsive and the quality was very good," remarks one lawyer who worked with the firm recently. Another notes: "They're well known, I come across them, they're good."
One client who mandates the firm on project finance works says: "He is often our first choice in local council. He has an excellent comprehension of the law and he can convey any issues very coherently."
DealsOn the finance side, one of the firm's largest mandates saw managing partner Alaa Hamad advise a number of international banks on the $10.4 billion financing for the Barzan Gas Project. Staying in the same area, Hamad also acted for Qatar Electricity and Water Company in regard to its involvement in the Sur IPP (independent power project) in Oman.
In capital markets Hamad was again involved acting for the underwriters including RBS, BNP Paribas and Banaca IMI on a substantial bond issue by Dolphin Energy. The team also acted for Gulf International Bank as bookrunner and one of the lead managers on a sukuk (Islamic bond) guaranteed by the Almana Group.
In M&A, the team acted for the Muhaidib Group, the owners of the Qatar Markets Company on the sale of its share capital in the company to Al Meera.
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