Eversheds is significantly expanding its Africa offering and is currently in discussions to establish offices in the key markets of Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya over the coming months.
The 1760-lawyer firm has also today (1 October) announced the launch of the Eversheds African Law Institute (EALI), which will share knowledge, training and regional and international commercial opportunities with member firms.
Firms in 14 countries (Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Tunisia) have so far signed up as members of EALI.
EALI will provide members with regular monthly updates on legislative changes impacting business in Africa, webinars and training and will launch an African Prize for law students, as well as host an annual client-facing summit in the region.
The network will be headed by partner Boris Martor, head of the firm’s Africa Group based in Paris, supported by Julie Stobart, the firm’s client services director.
Martor said: ‘This model, which is the result of longstanding thoughts on our common knowledge with our relationship firms in Africa for more than a decade, will provide means for the spread of best practices and further African laws developments. It is new thinking and training on African laws combined with strong commercial focus to accompany the growing demand from our clients within Africa.’
The founding member organisations are Basma & Macaulay, 2S, Ba&Tian, Brizoua-Bi Bile-Aka, Djogbenou, Yezid El yezid, Sylla & Associés, CWA Morocco, CWA Tunisia, El Hussein Ahmed Salih Law Firm, EVC Advogados, AG Advogados, JLD&MB, Perchstone & Graeys and SCP Ngassam Njike & Associés.
The move comes after Eversheds in October split with South African ally Routledge Modise – rebranded Eversheds after a dispute with the local law society – with chief executive Bryan Hughes (pictured) citing client conflicts of interests.
Other leading UK firms to have boosted their African presence in recent months include Linklaters, which sealed an alliance with South African firm Webber Wentzel in December last year, and Norton Rose Fulbright, which launched a Tanzania office last October.