Gide Loyrette Nouel Logo Leading French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel has re-established a presence in the Middle East, becoming the second Big Law firm to open an office in Iran. The firm’s new Tehran office will be headed by international trade and regulatory partner Mehrnoosh Aryanpour, who joined 600-lawyer Gide earlier this year from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she was of counsel. The practice will also be overseen by Paris-based corporate partner Christophe Eck, who served as the firm’s global managing partner between 2010 and 2011. Gide first established a foothold in the region by launching in Riyadh in 1978, and opened additional bases in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2009. But the firm decided to close all three offices in 2010 following a strategic review, with its former Riyadh arm subsequently entering into an association with White & Case. The firm did retain its office in Turkey, which some consider to be part of the Middle East, however. Gide said in a statement that Iran was an “economic power” of “strategic importance” to its clients. Senior partner Baudouin de Moucheron said that the firm’s long-standing presence in the region, close relationships with local authorities, and knowledge of local customs “represent solid assets for the development of our clients’ projects in Iran.” Aryanpour added that the Iranian market is “growing rapidly.” The Tehran practice will advise local and international clients on a range of inbound and outbound matters, including transactions and disputes. Gide claims to be the first international law firm to obtain a license to open a branch office and practice in Iran under its own name. CMS established an outpost in Iran in early 2016 after international sanctions on the country were lifted, but it operates as CMS Pars. Dentons also entered into an association last year with local firm APP Legal Institute. A number of other international law firms, including Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith Freehills and Pinsent Masons, handle Iran-related work from offices outside the country. Paris-based Gide now has 15 offices worldwide, including London and New York. It also has close ties with other independent law firms across Europe, including Italy’s Chiomenti, Spanish giant Cuatrecasas and Germany’s Gleiss Lutz. Chris Johnson is based in London, where he writes about global law firms and the business of law. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @chris_t_johnson.