Kassim Legal represents more US, UK, EU, and Chinese-based enterprises expanding into the MENA region than any other boutique law firm having worked on numerous cross-border transactions. We represent international-based firms in all aspects of their MENA expansion efforts, whether it is to acquire an existing business, bid on a government contract, enter into a joint venture with a regional partner, register a branch or affiliate office, or to merge or invest with a company or business located in the region. Clients benefit from our comprehensive MENA transactional experience and our ability to advise on complex cross-border transactions.

Experienced Cross-Border Counsel

As the preferred law firm for representing international firms in the region, Kassim Legal offers a full range of cross border mergers and acquisition services specifically tailored to the MENA region which include:

  • Joint Venture Registration & Negotiation
  • Commercial Agencies
  • Affiliate or Branch Office Registration
  • MENA Deal Structuring & Due Diligence
  • Real Estate & Corporate Acquisitions
  • Government Tenders & Procurement
  • Prime & Subcontractor Agreements
  • Tax Planning
  • MENA Litigation and Investigations
  • Intellectual Property Registration

Joint Ventures: Choosing the right agreement

One of the most popular methods for initially expanding into MENA is through a joint venture or similar arrangement with a local or regional partner. However, such agreements, and many of the laws that exist in MENA countries, often disproportionately favor the local or regional partner. Therefore international firms expanding into MENA should be aware of the type of agreement they are entering into with their local partners and the potential ramifications for those types of agreements. For example, commercial agency agreements contracted in one of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are difficult if not impossible to terminate while other types of arrangements provide a greater deal of flexibility. International firms expanding into MENA are often advised to truncate their expansion efforts into multiple phases to test local market conditions and the capability of their local or regional partner. 

Kassim Legal’s MENA expansion practice area encompases all of the common and less common cross-border structures that international firms utilize including distribution agreements, commercial agencies, resale agreements, joint ventures, and branch office registrations.

MENA Deal Structuring & Due Diligence: A complex legal regime

A second critical service we provide to assist in your MENA expansion efforts is conducting thorough and detailed due diligence on any potential partners, suppliers, customers, or target companies that you may be transacting with and ensuring that the underlying transaction is both practical and realistic given the capabilities of your local counterparties. Potential partners, customers, and suppliers may all be well intentioned but the business practices and norms in the region differ greatly from those of other regions. Therefore setting expectations early on and in detail is often critical for ensuring future success. Many region-specific agreements and contracts include details and clauses those contracting within the same country of economic zone will opt to include because of a shared set of assumptions and expectations regarding work practices and norms.

Also, if your expansion efforts include acquiring an existing company registered in a MENA country, international companies are advised that while the main MENA markets constitute only a handful of countries, there are over 40 free zones and sub-jurisdictions, and counting. Each of those free zones have their own set of rules and regulations. Some free zones adopt the laws of their host country, with some critical modifications, while other free zones adopt the laws of an entirely different country, most notably the Dubai International Finance Center and the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Authority who have adopted the laws of England and Wales. The near endless and ever evolving set of free zones jurisdictions in the MENA region make it one of the most complex and challenging legal systems to navigate in the world.

Kassim Legal has unparalleled experience in representing international firms expanding into MENA and is well versed in not only the laws of the various MENA countries but also most of the free zones and sub-jurisdictions located in each. 

Government Tenders & Procurement

Finally, one of the main reasons that international firms are looking to expand into the MENA region is to take advantage of the lucrative government tendering procurement market. MENA governments are typically the primary commercial actors in their economies with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries taking the lead in spending on everything from constructing new bridges, roads, and other hard infrastructural projects to more recently, spending on soft projects such as research and development, art, design, and cultural activities, public health and awareness, and other intangible projects. The clear trend is to increase spending on soft projects and procurement in that realm is relatively new but heavily biased and modeled after the well-worn construction procurement process in the region.

Any international firm bidding on government projects and tenders, especially those in the burgeoning space of bidding on soft intangible projects, are advised to structure their transactions differently than those used in the construction procurement process which comes with its own pitfalls.

As one of the leading boutique firms advising international firms in this space Kassim Legal has the expertise and knowledge to advise international firms bidding on government projects and tenders in the region.

Contact Us

Kassim Legal has extensive experience assisting US, UK, EU, and China-based companies expand into MENA. Our legal team has worked with some of the most innovative international companies across the globe whether through the acquisition of an existing business, registering an affiliate or branch office, or forming a local joint venture. Our international clients benefit from our comprehensive cross-border transactional experience and our ability to advise on complex MENA related transactions.

Client Testimonials

“Our go-to law firm for all things MENA. I could not recommend Kassim Legal more.”


“No one knows the MENA region better than Kassim Legal. Their understanding and knowledge of the landscape is unparalleled.”


“One of the best law firms for anyone looking to expand into the region.”