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US firm becomes first foreign law firm in Turkmenistan

Saturday 4 June 2011

A U.S. company has become the first foreign law firm to set up in Turkmenistan, industry web site The Lawyer reported on Friday.

Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle will specialize in handling international arbitration cases, a specialization of the company, as well as infrastructure development and public projects in the former Soviet republic and the region.

"This was a logical next step for us, given our expertise in energy, infrastructure development and international arbitration,” said Curtis Chairman George Kahale III, in a statement published in the company’s Curtis.com web site. “We have already had the privilege of being engaged in very important matters and are most grateful for the warm welcome we have received,” he added.

Curtis, which focuses on representing sovereign states on arbitration and other cases, first represented the government of Turkmenistan two years ago, thelawyer.com reported.

It was relatively easy to open an office in Turkmenistan as the country’s regulatory regime is well developed, Gursel told The Lawyer. “It’s not a well-known jurisdiction, it’s not a place foreign law firms go to every day,” Gursel added.

The company’s office in the capital Ashgabat has seven associates and is headed by Turkish lawyer Ali Gursel, who also runs Curtis’ Istanbul operation.

The Ashgabat office is the firm’s third in Central Asia after Astana and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

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