Saudi Arabia Attracts British Lawyers with Lavish Perks and High Salaries

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is enticing British lawyers to Saudi Arabia’s megaprojects with luxurious benefits, including free housing and private school fees for their children.

These perks are part of a broader strategy to attract top talent to help realise the Crown Prince’s Vision 2030 economic transformation plan.

State-owned companies in Saudi Arabia, such as Saudi Aramco, are offering an array of attractive incentives to lure lawyers from elite law firms. Saudi Aramco, responsible for the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) — an industrial city linking the Kingdom’s seaport, airport, and highways — provides thousands of pounds in relocation allowances, private school fees for children studying abroad, and free MBA courses. Additionally, employees enjoy up to 48 days of paid leave and public holidays annually.

Lawyers working on Neom, the $1.5 trillion (£1.2 trillion) futuristic desert city owned by Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, receive similar perks. Benefits include free accommodation, five-star catered meals, and monthly plane tickets, alongside six-figure salaries and substantial tax-free bonuses.

The allure of Saudi Arabia’s offerings is drawing many ambitious British lawyers seeking lucrative, career-defining projects, as opportunities in Dubai become more stagnant. “The types of opportunities that you will get in Saudi if you go there for the next five to 10 years will greatly exceed even being in Dubai,” noted one legal recruiter.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has intensified the recruitment of expat and local lawyers as part of Crown Prince bin Salman’s strategy to diversify the economy away from oil through extensive infrastructure and energy projects. This has prompted UK law firms to establish offices in the Kingdom following a series of legal reforms, although some firms now struggle to recruit due to the state’s hiring spree.

One senior partner in the Middle East remarked that the perks offered by Saudi companies pose a significant challenge to law firms, despite in-house lawyers typically earning less than their counterparts in private practice. UK’s Magic Circle law firms, including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, and A&O Shearman, are among those capitalising on Saudi’s rapidly expanding economy.

However, this recruitment drive has sparked criticism from the LGBT community due to Saudi Arabia’s stringent anti-gay laws. Despite these concerns, the Kingdom’s ambitious plans and generous packages continue to attract top legal talent from around the world.

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Saudi Arabia Attracts British Lawyers with Lavish Perks and High Salaries