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The Legal 500 EMEA

Arabian Business Interviewed Mohamed Nasser

2021: A strong second-quarter comeback

Mohamed Nasser, founder of Mohamed Nasser Law Firm, discusses the pandemic’s impact on M&A in 2020, and why he’s optimistic for this year

What are some trends you foresee in regional legal practices for 2021?

I am quite optimistic for 2021. If the vaccine will be available globally by the end of the first quarter of the year, as the news has stated, there will be a good chance for the legal sector to make up for the losses and delays of 2020.

Many mergers, acquisitions, and even down to the simplest employment contracts were halted during the pandemic. I expect a strong comeback starting from the second quarter.

How did the coronavirus impact these sectors in 2020?

In my firm, our main clients are corporations, local and multinationals. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our work was highly affected as most companies paused any acquisitions or mergers for the time being. All transactions were on hold since no one had a clear business vision or knew what to expect. This impacted our industry, due to the lower number of transactions. In addition, halting flights affected many investors who were planning to come to Cairo to pursue opening or expanding their businesses here in Egypt.

Unfortunately, some firms were not able to maintain the running cost of salaries and had to shut down, yet we managed to stay afloat during this period, in spite of how difficult it was.

Courts were also closed for four months, the duration of lawsuits was elongated, and eventually cases piled up, and we were not able to proceed in a timely manner as we usually do.

What are your plans for 2021?

Despite the fact that 2020 was a tough year, we have managed to create two new departments in my firm. The first department is dedicated to start-ups. The new market trend is that young people opt to create their own businesses instead of getting corporate jobs. We have created customised packages for young start-ups that accommodate their needs at a lower cost. As they grow, our business relationship grows.

The second department is the Capital Market department, which handles holding companies, security companies, publicly listed corporations and loan agreements. This specialisation is not available in every law firm in Egypt. We currently have an acquisition now that will ripple widely in the market – it will be a great push start for the year, as it will be done in the first week of January.

We are also looking at expansion into the UAE, Saudi Arabia and London to accommodate the needs of our multinational clients, and to cater to these busy markets’ requirements.

There are also negotiations for a partnership with a prominent multinational law firm. This could be highlighted as my ultimate goal for 2021, and I’m optimistic we will provide added value as a partner.