Lawyer Simon El Kai | Abou Jaoude & Associates

Simon El Kai

Partner [email protected]

Simon El Kai is a partner at Abou Jaoude & Associates Law Firm. He co-heads the Corporate practice and heads the Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals practice. He previously worked at two reputable law firms in Lebanon, and at the international law firm Shearman & Sterling in Paris.

Simon has more than 25 years of experience and an extensive multidisciplinary expertise covering advisory, transactional and dispute-resolution matters. Simon has profound industry knowledge of the pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and distributorships sectors, having represented notable pharmaceutical groups and diversified conglomerates.

He has an established record advising major local, regional, and international clients on the legal aspects of their business, including regulatory compliance, corporate governance, intellectual property matters, tax issues, employment law, corporate structurings and restructurings, capitalizations, private equity acquisitions and divestments, and a wide spectrum of commercial agreements and transactions. His experience includes advising on acquisitions and disposals of all types of real estate properties in Lebanon, as well as on private and commercial lease agreements.

Simon has a broad disputes practice with considerable experience representing clients across industries in high-stake civil, commercial and penal litigation before all court levels, as well as in arbitration cases.

Simon’s recent notable representative experience can be viewed here.


Corporate Law    Mergers & Acquisitions    Licensing, Agency and Distributorships  ●  Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals    Dispute Resolution    Intellectual Property    Media    Employment and Benefits    Real Estate and Construction


Simon is consistently recognized by prominent international directories, including Chambers & Partners in ‘Corporate & Finance’, and The Legal 500 in the practice areas of ‘Commercial, Corporate and M&A’ and ‘Dispute Resolution’.

Ranked Lawyer
Chambers Global 2022, Corporate & Finance

“Simon El Kai maintains a robust corporate practice.”
He's very pragmatic in negotiations.”

Recommended Lawyer
The Legal 500 EMEA 2022
- Commercial, Corporate and M&A
- Real Estate and Construction (including Projects)
- Tax

IFLR1000 2022, Financial and Corporate - Reviews
The breadth of his legal knowledge is impressive. He has experience working with international law firms.
He's a straight-to-the-point lawyer, and is very reliable and trustworthy.”
Smart with an 'out of the box' thinking.”


Ranked Lawyer
Chambers Global - Ten consecutive years - 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
Corporate & Finance

Partner Simon El Kai is a strong corporate lawyer with extensive expertise in the media and pharmaceutical sectors.
He is very efficient and on the ball.”
Head of corporate Simon El Kai is complimented by his peers for his 'sharpness and accurate legal acumen'.
He has exceptional analytical and interpersonal skills.”
He has a great network.”

Recommended Lawyer 
The Legal 500 EMEA - Ten consecutive years - 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
- Commercial, Corporate and M&A
- Tax
Clients praise partner Simon El Kai stating 'he is extremely knowledgeable and methodical - the way he handled the work was quite remarkable'.
He has the ability to resolve all queries accurately and effectively due to his broad expertise and experience in a wide range of industries.”

  • Co-author of the current Lebanon chapter of the ‘Inward Investment & International Taxation Review’ published by The Law Reviews and edited by Latham & Watkins USA.
  • Contributor to the current World Bank Lebanon Doing Business Reports on ‘Starting a Business’.
  • Co-author of the Lebanon chapter of the 2018 ‘Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Review’ published by The Law Reviews and edited by Latham & Watkins USA.
  • Admitted to the Beirut Bar Association.
  • Member of the International Bar Association.

  • LLB (Bachelor of Laws), Saint-Joseph University, Lebanon.
  • Advanced Graduate Degree (DEA) in Private Law, University of Paris II-Assas, France.
  • Masters of Laws (LLM), Columbia University, USA.

Arabic French English

Corporate Law    Mergers & Acquisitions    Licensing, Agency and Distributorships  ●  Media    Intellectual Property    Employment and Benefits    Real Estate and Construction

  • Advised on the corporate structuring and joint ventures of numerous prominent local, regional, and international groups involving complex intra-stakeholders and intra-group equity and contractual ties, as well on the establishment of the corporate presence in Lebanon of several international groups.
  • Advised on the major alliance between pioneer media and advertising companies M&C Saatchi and Quantum Group.
  • Advised leading pharma group Benta on the US$60 Million cross-border acquisition of a pharmaceutical plant in France, involving a highly complex government-supported reorganization plan and compliance with complex healthcare and labor regulations.
  • Advised on the multi-million complex merger of the two biggest F&B groups in Lebanon Sioufi and Massoud with a corporate and operational presence in Lebanon, KSA, Jordan and Syria.
  • Advised leading pharma group Benta on the multi-million strategic cross-border divestment of its equity stake in a major pharmaceutical plant in Egypt.
  • Advised prominent groups on several acquisitions and divestments in the F&B, automotive, media, and pharmaceuticals industries, involving exclusive dealerships and distributorships, complex third-party approvals, and transfers of assets and equity, including with respect to the Sioufi group (Danone, Bic and Elvir), Tewtel group (Land Rover, Honda and Ford), news outlets Assafir and Al Balad, and pharma group Benta.
  • Advised the renowned Tewtel group on major exclusive distributorship and agency agreements for global automotive brands Land Rover, Honda and Ford.
  • Advised the regional leader in FMCG Sioufi group on major exclusive distributorship agreements for international brands, including Danone, Bic and Elvir.
  • Advised leading media and advertising agency M&C Saatchi on all types of cross-border media and advertisement-related agreements and the licensing of several types of IP rights.
  • Advised the leading multi-media online platform M. Publishing (Quantum group) on the multi-million private equity investment by prominent LIBANK to support the expansion and diversification of the platform, involving a complex regulatory compliance process under Circular 331 of the Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL) aimed at encouraging investments in Lebanon’s knowledge economy.
  • Advised Lebanese digital start-up Tri-Arc as the target on the acquisition by Impact Fund, a venture capital fund established by leading investment fund MEVP.
  • Advised the leader in Lebanese sweets Hallab 1881 on several trademark infringement cases in Lebanon and France.
  • Advised premier developer FFA Real Estate on the regulatory permits and a wide array of property purchase and sale agreements related to the large-scale first-of-its-kind Ahlam Lands real estate project.
  • Advised a prominent Lebanese-Italian investment consortium on the highly complex application and negotiations with the Ministry of Energy and Water and the Council of Ministers for the obtainment of a license by decree for the industrial exploitation of a mineral water source in West Lebanon.
  • Advised prominent groups across all industries on employment redundancy plans and employee settlements in the context of corporate restructurings and winding-ups involving complex regulatory approvals, as well as a wide array of employment lawsuits.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals 

  • Advised leading pharma group Benta on multi-million manufacturing and supply agreements (MSA) and distribution contracts with major international companies, including French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi, American multinational medical devices and healthcare company Abbott Laboratories, French global pharmaceutical company ROCHE, Irish global NYSE-listed pharmaceutical company Allergan, and German global medical technology company KLS Martin.
  • Advised global leading pharma group Moderna on the regulatory framework governing the distribution of their novel Covid-19 vaccine in Lebanon, including advertising, registration, labeling and pharmacovigilance under complex healthcare sector regulations.
  • Advised leading German healthcare company Fresenius SE, listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI Europe), on a major distribution agreement with renowned Lebanese pharmaceutical company MacroMed for the import and distribution of dialysis medical products under complex healthcare sector regulations.
  • Advised leading pharma company Pharmatrade (Malia group) on the first-of-its-kind import and distribution by the private sector of the Covid-19 vaccine SPUTNIK, involving highly complex regulatory licensing procedures and compliance with novel healthcare and data protection laws in Lebanon.
  • Advised global NGO Doctors Without Borders on complex contracts with hospitals in Lebanon under industry-specific regulations, and matters related to their engagement of doctors and nurses.
  • Advised US tech healthcare company Epic on the transmission and use of health information about patients in the context of a major digitalization project with a premier Lebanese hospital, under complex regulations governing data privacy in the healthcare sector in Lebanon.
  • Advised leading pharma group Benta on the US$30 Million joint-venture with a prominent pharma group in Egypt to build and operate a high capacity drug manufacture.
  • Advised leading pharma group Benta on the US$60 Million cross-border acquisition of a pharmaceutical plant in France involving a highly complex government-supported reorganization plan and compliance with complex healthcare and labor regulations.
  • Advised leading pharmaceuticals group Benta on the registration of patents for novel pharmaceutical products under complex healthcare regulations.

Dispute Resolution 

  • Advised leading healthcare group Hitachi Medical Systems on a major lawsuit against the Saint-Joseph Medical Center involving highly complex medical equipment issues.
  • Advised the world's leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology SITA, one of the operators of the Beirut Rafic Hariri International airport, on a critical liability lawsuit lodged by the Lebanese Government.
  • Advised leading pharmaceutical group BENTA on 3 high-profile lawsuits in relation to distributorship agreements against French global pharmaceutical company ROCHE, Irish global NYSE-listed pharmaceutical company Allergan, and German global medical technology company KLS Martin.
  • Advised the premier venture capital firm The Luxury Fund (TLF) on a complex liability lawsuit against leading Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain in relation to the investment in the pioneer tech startup MySay.
  • Advised the Karkour family in winning a complex ad-hoc arbitration a major high-stake shareholders’ dispute related to the leading pharmaceutical company Codipha.
  • Advised leading Lebanese bank Fransabank on five connected multi-million lawsuits against renowned home decor group Sleep Comfort related to the reimbursement of bank facilities and the enforcement of back-to-back cross-border bank guarantees with the Commercial Bank of Qatar, involving highly complex currency-related regulatory issues amidst Lebanon’s unprecedented banking crisis and the ensuing capital controls imposed by banks.
  • Advised leading regional contracting company AlSaad General Contracting on the settlement related to the enforcement of an ICC arbitral award against renowned contractor Itihad Al Bonian International in connection with the construction of the US$100 million Beirut City Center mall, the first project developed in the Levant region by the leading Emirati development company Majid Al Futtaim.
  • Advised Carlos Ghosn, the notorious former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Group, on the challenging of an Interpol Red Notice in the context of the high profile globally mediatized legal actions against Nissan and Renault.
  • Advised leading Al Sultan group, one of top ten FMCG distributors of international brands in Lebanon, on a major commercial lawsuit against Indian manufacturer under exclusive distribution agreements of food brands.
  • Advised leading pharmaceutical company Codipha on pre-litigation negotiations with the global leader in generic pharmaceuticals Sandoz related to the termination of a multi-million distributorship agreement.
  • Advised leading F&B brand ARUBA on winning a major trademark infringement lawsuit against main market competitor in Lebanon DOMO.
  • Advised a patient on a highly complex medical liability lawsuit against prominent hospital American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC).
  • Advised a prominent doctor on a first-of-its-kind highly mediatized medical liability lawsuit.
  • Advised leading diamond trading company Brilliant Gem against renowned diamond reseller Diamonds Forever in a multi-million lawsuit involving fraud, embezzlement and robbery of diamonds.
Simon El Kai