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Annual Report 2024: International Activity in the Legal Sector in Israel – Foreign Law Firms in Israel

According to the Israeli Bar Association, Israel has nearly 90,000 registered lawyers, with approximately 76,000 actively practicing. This means that there is approximately one lawyer for every 128 residents, a ratio unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

Let the record show that over 100 foreign law firms operate in Israel, and were not included in the statistics above.

The international presence within Israel’s law firm market has grown significantly, receiving a notable boost last year. It has been 11 years since Israeli legislation first permitted law firms dealing with foreign law to operate and establish offices in Israel. In early 2012, the then Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, enacted a decree under the Foreign Lawyers Law, revolutionizing the Israeli legal market by allowing foreign lawyers to work in Israel, facilitating legal services according to foreign law, though without the capacity to represent clients in Israeli courts.

An article by the economic newspaper ‘Globes’ (link), published a year after the legislation, observed that despite some significant international law firms, their penetration into the Israeli market was limited, with only a few establishing modest representative offices. Initially, there were about ten foreign law firms and a limited number of foreign desks, primarily within American firms.

After about a decade, the numbers have grown significantly. 

Currently, around 120 international law firms operate in Israel through various formats—whether as full-fledged offices with a physical presence, Israeli desks, traveling representatives, or other arrangements. Approximately 50% of these firms are from the USA, about 30% from England, with the remainder hailing from various locations worldwide. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, political tensions, and war – the trend of foreign firms establishing operations in Israel continues.

In the past year, Israel welcomed several new foreign law firms. Notably, the international Cypriot firm Michael Kyprianou & Co. A opened a branch in Tel Aviv, marking its expansion beyond Cyprus, Greece, Dubai, Malta, London, Frankfurt, Kyiv, and now Israel. Increased interest and real estate acquisitions in Cyprus, Greece, and Dubai partly drove this decision. The firm aims to serve as a bridge to international markets for Israeli businesses and as a resource for Israelis looking to expand globally.

Many firms have adopted hybrid working models, allowing their lawyers to work internationally. For example, the American firm Honigman established an Israeli branch led by renowned senior lawyers, offering the convenience of working from Israel while continuing their careers in a top-ranked US office (link).

International firms remain attentive to political-legal developments in Israel, adapting their operations to allow representatives to work from within the country. The American firm Wildes & Weinberg, specializing in complex immigration issues, supports its lawyers working from Israel, facilitating remote work, and serving a client base that includes many well-known Israelis.

Some numbers from the international department:

Firms with an Israeli desk – a team of a foreign office dealing with the representation of Israeli clients. Among the offices we can mention:

• Cooley

• Clifford Chance

• Mishcon de Reya

• Hogan Lovells

• Skadden

• Morrison Foerster

• Dentons

• Wildes & Weinberg

• Honigman

• Hassans

Firms with a traveling representative – the head of the Israeli desk comes to Israel several times a year to meet with clients and develop collaborations. Among these offices, we can mention: 

• White & Case

• Taylor Wessing

• Howard Kennedy

• K&L Gates

• Latham & Watkins

• Linklaters

• Allen & Overy

• Shearman & Sterling

Firms with a physical presence – a representative office with a permanent presence in Israel and a representative managing activities to develop the firm’s business in Israel. Among these offices, we can mention:

• Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

• Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

• Kobre & Kim

• Bersay

• Fox Rothschild

• Stelios Americanos

• DLA Piper

• Schwell Wimpfheimer & Associates

• Michael Kyprianou & Co.


• Finnegan

• Nivaro Law

Firms with a branch in Israel – a full branch of the office in Israel that represents and engages in legal activities:

• Greenberg Traurig

• Asserson

• Zell Aron & Co.

And what happens in the legal field here? 

Tel Aviv Arbitration Week 

The culmination of the previous year was the Fourth International Arbitration Week in Tel Aviv, in the presence of approximately 450 lawyers and arbitrators from around Israel and the world. The week included lectures, panels, satellite events, and gala evenings, all focused on arbitration topics and issues. Adv. Shai Sharvit served as the chairman of the organizing committee alongside lawyers from foreign offices such as the British firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, the Swiss firm Walder Wyss, the French firm Teynier Pic, and more. Other foreign firms that took a significant part in this week included, among others, the British firm Asserson with an office in Israel, White & Case with a prominent Israeli desk, and Allen & Overy with a representative office in Israel.

The Robus Foreign Law Offices Forum 

Despite the war and the situation in Israel, dozens of law firms worldwide participated in the forum of foreign law firms operating in Israel in February 2024. More than 40 foreign lawyers had the opportunity to hear Eylon Levy, Israeli Government Spokesman, who shared his experiences and thoughts on Hasbara (advocacy) efforts during the Swords of Iron War, and from Adv. Amit Bechar, head of the Israeli Bar Association. The event provided insight into the reasons for the growth of foreign firms’ activities in Israel over the past decade- and that is Zionism at its best. 

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