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British lawyers aim to shake up Gulf legal sector

Oryx Law Supplied
Natalie Boyd (left) set up Oryx Legal Consultants with Vanessa Abernethy in the UAE in July

Oryx Law, a British legal startup aiming to shake up the Gulf legal industry with the introduction of a new business model, has handled deals of around $1 billion for 30 clients in its first quarter of operation.

The company was established by Natalie Boyd in the UK in 2018, where she mainly worked with clients in the Middle East. In July, Boyd partnered with co-founder Vanessa Abernethy to set up Oryx Legal Consultants in the UAE and gained a licence in Abu Dhabi.

Traditionally, law firms in the UAE and wider Gulf offer full-service models, where clients are billed on an hourly rate, or an agreed fee for a specific project or transaction.

Oryx introduced a fractional service, where a partner works for a company on an agreed number of days per week, with the service carried out in-house or remotely.

“We only provide partner-level consultants, ensuring that clients have confidence that their work is being handled by senior experts in their field and is never delegated to junior lawyers,” Abernethy told AGBI.

“The global shift in how remote working and fractional services are perceived has driven massive demand for more flexible solutions, especially from clients in this region,” she added.

“The recent visa changes in the UAE are also accelerating the speed at which I predict this model will grow, with senior advisors no longer needing the infrastructure of a large law firm as an employer,” she added.

The company has signed up around 30 institutional clients across the Middle East, US, UK and Europe, including banks, asset management firms, funds, corporates, and family offices.

“Based on the success of our first quarter of operations, we predict to double forecasted revenue for the first year of operations. We are confident that our model will continue to grow exponentially both in terms of revenue and consultants during the coming year,” Abernethy said.