Established in 1936, Debs & Associates is one of the oldest legal practices in Lebanon and the first to specialize in business law.
Founded by Joseph Saade and originally headquartered in the Beirut Port area, the firm relocated to the Saint Charles City Center in the mid 1970s as it grew to include lawyers Adolphe Debs and Samir Saade, both of whom remain with the firm until today.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, the Saint Charles City Center was destroyed and the firm relocated to its present headquarters in the center of the Achrafieh area of Beirut.
Throughout the civil war, Debs & Associates not only continued its practice but also pioneered the use of digital data processes and computerized archiving in legal practices in Lebanon. So as to ensure its ability to remain operational despite tenuous circumstances, the firm transposed its judicial library to microfilm and in 1983, fully computerized its internal procedures and launched a computerized juridical data bank, which is still in use today. Moreover, several alternate offices were set up in and outside of Beirut that are still in existence today, safeguarding the practice and its digitized system, should the central office be hit by security infringement or any natural disaster.
As the situation became increasingly precarious in Lebanon, Adolphe Debs maintained a foothold in Cyprus so as to ensure due diligence to clients despite the country’s unstable situation and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Samir Saade established a Paris office in the 1980s, which remained active until both security and telecommunications were fully restored in Lebanon two years after the end of the civil war.
With the passing of its founding partner Joseph Saade in 1994, a new era was ushered in. The firm restructured, reorganized and modernized under the management of Adolphe Debs, adopting the denomination of Debs, Saade, and Associates.
Under Adolphe Debs’s guidance, the firm implemented the core principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, creating a working environment and culture that emphasizes the wellbeing, continuous education and training of its team. Moreover, the firm began focusing outward, determined to improve the larger community within which it functions by taking on pro-bono cases and advising NGOs as well as implementing environmentally friendly practices across all its activities. This work was undertaken together with senior partner Samir Saade, who retired in 2016 yet remains a legal advisor at the firm with particular expertise in the fields of maritime and aviation law.
Today, Debs & Associates comprises thirteen multilingual lawyers and a number of paralegal assistants specialized in the various fields that comprise business law, offering legal services to Lebanese and international clients in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.
The team continuously works in a multidisciplinary manner that capitalizes on their different strengths and areas of legal expertise, supported by a major legal library of both digital and hard copy local, regional, and international publications.
Heavily involved in academia and research, partners and associates frequently participate in legal seminars around the world, publish articles in renowned legal publications and teach at prestigious Lebanese universities.
As the firm continues to grow, it maintains an international presence covering the main business centers in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America through a network of correspondents and representative firms in Algeria, Belgium, Bolivia, China, Cyprus, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and several others countries. Moreover, Debs & Associates continually collaborates with local law firms, bringing in further expertise of areas of practice outside of its primary focus.