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Africa latest chapter in Dentons global playbook as it targets Uganda through local tie-up

Dentons is to embark on another chapter of its global expansion by entering Uganda through a merger with the African country’s largest law firm, Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA).

As 2017 marks a return to acquisition mode after a quieter 2016, the firm will add yet another new member to its global network, bringing 26-lawyer KAA under the Dentons brand.

Global chairman Joe Andrew described Denton’s fourth merger in 2017 as part of its goal to be ‘the first truly pan-African law firm’.

Pending approval by both firms’ partnerships, the combination will give Dentons a base and 12 partners in East Africa. It adds to the firm’s presence in Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, and means Dentons now has more than 8,500 lawyers in 158 locations across 66 countries.

‘With this combination we are truly poised to become one of the leading and fastest-growing firms in Africa. It’s our goal to be the first truly pan-African law firm, through a blend of full-firm combinations and our well-known network,’ said Andrew.

KAA managing Partner David Mpanga said the tie-up ‘will enable us to maintain our deep connections in the local community while embracing and building upon the attributes of the firm that helped us become one of the elite in East Africa’.

Contacted by Legal Business, a spokesperson for Dentons confirmed the merger is to go live by the end of the year and the firm expects KAA to retain all its lawyers as it starts operating under the new brand.

The announcement comes a few weeks before Denton’s UK merger with Scottish law firm Maclay Murray & Spens goes live.

Also this year, Dentons combined with Dutch law firm Boekel in March and with Monterrey-based Canales Zambrano y Asociados at the start of the year.

In May, the firm launched in Georgia , taking on a team of 11 lawyers from DLA Piper in Tblisi, and opened its second office in Saudi Arabia alongside Riyhad with a launch in Jeddah.

Dentons is also expanding its global coverage through its Nextlaw referral network, which now includes both law firms and public affairs businesses.

For more on Dentons strategy and global playbook, read ‘The pitch – A new kind of global law firm emerges but can Dentons live up to the hype?’