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Eversheds pursues Africa expansion with Morocco partnership

Eversheds has made good on its African expansion strategy by signing a partnership agreement with existing relationship firm CWA Morocco, establishing new offices in Casablanca and Tangier.

Led by local managing partner Mohamed Oulkhouir, Eversheds CWA Morocco will advise domestic and international clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including maritime, automotive, financial services and industrial engineering.

As part of Eversheds’ ‘Pan-African strategy’ to establish offices in key markets announced in October 2013, the 1760-lawyer firm opened four other offices on the continent in December through tie-ups with South African firm Mahons and Tunisia’s El Heni, with the firm continuing to explore opportunities in Ghana and Kenya.

Head of Eversheds’ Africa practice Boris Martor said: ‘As a gateway to Northern Africa, Morocco is an important market for us. After signing a cooperation agreement three years ago with CWA Morocco, Eversheds is pleased to now rebrand the offices with Mohamed and his team who quickly established themselves as a preeminent team of lawyers handling complex matters in Morocco.’

The agreement with ten-partner Mahons, which rebranded as Eversheds in the new year, handed Eversheds presences in Johannesburg, where Mahons has two offices, as well as Cape Town and Mauritius.

Mahons was set up by former Terry Mahon in 2011, former chairman of South African firm Routledge Modise, which was an ally of Eversheds until October last year when the firms split with chief executive Bryan Hughes citing client conflicts of interests. Routledge Modise since merged with Hogan Lovells in December.

Also in October, the firm established Eversheds African Law Institute (EALI) to share knowledge, training and regional and international commercial opportunities with member firms and announced at the beginning of March that the network had reached 33 members in 37 offices across 31 African countries after adding 10 independent firms to the roster.

This comes just a couple of months after DLA Piper’s Africa Group announced its expansion in north, southern and eastern Africa with the addition of three new member firms in January.

Algerian firm B L & Associés, Rubeya & Co Advocates of Burundi and Namibian firm Ellis Shilengudwa Inc joined the 4200-lawyer firm’s Africa Group as of 1 October 2013. The firm now has member firms in 14 countries in Africa, and is located in 30 countries around the world.

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.