In 2010, Bayt al-Hikmah (“House of Wisdom” in Arabic) Legal Services and Consultancy (BHC) was established in Baghdad, Iraq, with a branch office in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA. In 2013, BHC established its administrative support office in Washington, DC, USA, and recruited seasoned Arabic-speaking international legal advisors possessing in-depth Iraq in-country experience, accountants, and administrative support personnel (inclusive of translators) to staff both its branch office in Virginia and its administrative office in Washington, DC. BHC also has offices in Basra and the Kurdistan Region.
BHC is duly registered and in good standing with the Iraqi Bar Association and its Law Practice specializes in the following areas: Corporate, Commercial and Intellectual Property; Trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); Project Finance and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP); Banking, Securities and Insurance; Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); Taxation; and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). BHC is also registered with the Iraqi Ministry of Trade and maintains a Technical Assistance Consultancy that provides ongoing assistance with regulatory and operational compliance for the in-country business activities and project operations of foreign companies doing business in Iraq. The Consultancy offers start-up services, regulatory compliance, financial management, business development, performance appraisals, and technical support services on a variety of Iraq regulatory related matters. Together, BHC’s Law Practice and Technical Assistance Consultancy deliver a comparative advantage in handling both legal advisory and regulatory compliance tasks for each client. (BHC’s Articles of Incorporation are available here). BHC represents multinational corporations, international and Iraqi private and public sector companies, organizations, agencies, investors, and individuals who are located or who are either doing business in Iraq or who wish to commence legal, commercial, or technical activity in the country and are committed to its infrastructure reconstruction and socio-economic development.
BHC’s main office in Baghdad’s Green Zone (i.e., the secure part of Baghdad where key government ministries, as well as the U.S. Embassy, are located) has been consistently maintained since January 2011 and allows for direct access to the Government of Iraq (including to its senior executive offices, such as the Prime Minister’s Office and the Council of Minister’s Secretariat), Council of Representatives, and the Iraqi Judiciary. BHC’s main office location in the Green Zone affords a certain level of security through the Zone’s highly restricted access that helps assure the safety of BHC Baghdad-based staff, who all carry Green Zone access badges. BHC also arranges transportation and other needed logistical arrangements on a daily basis for its local personnel, US-based staff (whenever on mission to Iraq), and BHC office visitors. Moreover, BHC maintains global strategic partnerships with several top tier international and regional law firms, such as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
BHC’s team of Iraqi lawyers, international legal advisors, and administrative personnel are proficient in the Arabic, English, French, and Kurdish languages. BHC’s Iraqi lawyers and international legal advisors have extensive experience working with the GoI (at both the national and sub-national levels), USG/USAID/USDOD, international financial institutions, international law firms, and non-governmental organizations. Several BHC staff members are certified by the Iraqi Translators Association to furnish certified legal translations. Moreover, our lawyers possess both Iraqi and international legal expertise, as well as prior service experience in Iraq’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches. We have a full understanding of Iraq’s legal and regulatory regime, and how it is actually applied in practice; and we are professionally familiar with the Iraqi State administration.
As the successful recipient of a World Bank-International Finance Corporation (IFC) awarded technical assistance contract, BHC has provided legal, regulatory, and technical assistance services to the Government of Iraq (principally via the National Investment Commission), at each of Iraq’s national and sub-national level for the Basra Governorate on specific investment policy and promotion matters. These matters include, inter alia, Iraqi investment- related legal and regulatory assessments; institutional mapping and policy assessments; investor specialized aftercare services; economic sectorial and sub-sectorial FDI regulatory restrictiveness analyses; legal regime for establishing special economic zones; dispute resolution services for foreign investors in Iraq; potential for an international standard national arbitration law; and Iraq’s potential accession to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958. In fulfilling its obligations under this World Bank contract, BHC has utilized relatively unique resources, such as its professional contacts within the government’s most senior levels and its rare database of Iraqi laws stretching uninterrupted from 1914 to the present day.
Our Vision and Values
Our vision is to provide our clients with the optimal single-source solution for all of their Iraqi legal and technical assistance consultancy needs in order to help them achieve their Iraq country strategy and goals while saving their valuable time and resources in the most efficient way possible.
Our core values are:
Excellence: We strive to achieve excellence in every area.
Integrity: We fulfill our professional obligations with the utmost integrity.
Client focus: Our clients’ best interests are our primary focus and priority.
Teamwork: We act as a single firm all while recognizing individual contributions.
Timeliness: We honor our deadlines.
Cost-effectiveness: We firmly adhere to the quotes we give our clients for our services.
Client feedback: We regularly seek our clients’ feedback on our services.