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Law firms enhance their presence in Africa

Posted by: Laurence Simons 02/04/14

More and more law firms are increasing their activity in the growing African market. International legal services provider Eversheds is planning to beef up its African offering by launching two new offices in Morocco, opening in Casablanca and Tangier through a link with associated firm CWA, which is operated by Mohamed Oulkhouir - formerly an associate with the company.

The offices will be known as Eversheds CWA Morocco and headed up by Mr Oulkhouir, with seven fee-earners in Casablanca and four in Tangier, within the port city's free trade zone. This is a development stemming back to 2011, when the firm first signed an agreement with CWA.

No doubt the company will be kept busy in its efforts to keep Paul Bowles and William Burroughs out of trouble as they bother the locals, get into scrapes and generally make nuisances of themselves around the port, but in between that it will be hoping to make some money in one of Africa's most mature trading economies.

Whether or not it will take steps to find Bob Dylan's ex-girlfriend off Blood on the Tracks is yet to be established.

The move follows recent growth of the firm's African influence through the expansion of its Eversheds Africa Law Institute, a network of independent legal organisations across the continent.

Boris Martor, head of Eversheds' African practice, 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."

Late last year, the legal firm stressed its commitment to the nascent African market by agreeing tie-ups with firms in the key markets of South Africa, Mauritius and Tunisia. It is continuing to explore opportunities in Ghana and Kenya.

Speaking at a London seminar hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel and legal services body Lex Mundi earlier in 2014, a host of experts explained how the African legal market is set to expand.

Charles Robertson, global chief economist and head of macro strategy at Renaissance Capital, suggested its performance could outstrip Asia's over the coming years.