Rapidly expanding US firm White & Case is launching an office in Cairo, Egypt, as a wave of global law firm investment into Africa gathers pace.
The move comes just five years after the Egyptian revolution of 2011, which many thought would hold back for economy for decades, whereas in reality the country has largely reclaimed the strong GDP growth experienced before the Arab Spring. The launch in Egypt marks White & Case’s second African office, having opened in Johannesburg in 1995. The new office is expected to open by October this year.
White & Case, which has been advising corporate and investment banking clients in Egypt for more than 15 years, will broaden its legal practice by putting lawyers covering project finance, private equity, M&A and debt and equity capital markets on the ground. ‘The launch of our office in Cairo will help us meet the increasing demands of our Egyptian clients and better support the needs of our international clients investing there,’ said White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier (pictured).
White & Case will operate in Egypt in association with new Egyptian law firm MHR & Partners. The new office will be led by White & Case project finance partner Philip Stopford, who will divide his time between London and Cairo.
The partners launching the office are Tarek Mohanna, who relocates from White & Case’s London office; Sherief Rashed, who relocates from Abu Dhabi; Waleed El Daly, who joins from local firm Zaki Hashem & Partners; and Said Hanafi, who leaves his general counsel post at Orascom Development Holdings to help launch the office.
‘With the introduction of a number of economic initiatives and reforms, Egypt is increasingly attractive for foreign investment,’ said Stopford. ‘We’re excited to be making this move, which will also enable us to serve our Egyptian clients – who have extensive operations in EMEA and the Americas – more effectively. The calibre and experience of our Egyptian lawyers will allow us to deliver both local knowledge and access to our global network.’
The move follows a wave of big law investment in Africa, with DLA Piper launching in Morocco and South Africa last year, while Allen & Overy opened in South Africa in 2014.