King & Spalding has appointed a new managing partner for its Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh (affiliate) offices, as the influential Jawad Ali steps down to retire from law practice.
Islamic finance expert Nabil Issa takes over the reins, the firm said in a statement. He has been at the firm for more than 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“He is particularly known for his development of innovative Shariah-compliant fund and investment structures for real estate and private equity investments in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council region,” the firm added.
It was especially in Saudi Arabia that Ali prospered. In the past two years, the firm represented a leading contractor on one of the largest restructurings under the new Saudi insolvency legislation in 2021, and in 2020 advised a client creating one of the Kingdom’s early unicorns, and advised on the first privatisation transaction under the Vision 2030 Plan.
Robert D. Hays, chairman of King & Spalding, said Ali’s vision and leadership were instrumental in the launch and success of the firm’s Middle East offices. Dubai and Riyadh opened in 2007, with Abu Dhabi following a year later.
“Jawad was one of the partners who opened the firm’s first international office in London in 2003, and since then he has been tirelessly working on building the firm’s international offices. The global reach and diversity of our Middle East practice and the brand recognition we have in the region would not have been possible without Jawad’s efforts on behalf of and commitment to our firm.”
Announcing his retirement on the eve of this year’s Holy Month of Ramadan, Ali said it had been a privilege to serve the firm for 23 years.
“Last year was one of the best years the Middle East practice has ever had, which is a testament to the team and the partnership we have with our clients in the region,” he said. “I am confident that Nabil has the entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual innovation and commitment to the firm that will carry our Middle East practice forward to the next level.”
Earlier this year, King & Spalding joined Latham & Watkins in representing the parties in the $2 billion restructuring of a Saudi contracting concern after payment delays forced it to the brink of bankruptcy.