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Africa Legal Podcast Profile

Africa Legal Podcast

English, Cultural, 1 season, 122 episodes, 2 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes
Home of the Africa Legal Podcast. Bringing you the right news, views and insights from across the African legal community.
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'Real-world solutions to real-world problems' with Eric Gumbo, G & A Advocates

It’s essential for law firms to contribute to the space they’re working in and not just have answers for hypothetical situations. In this podcast, Africa Legal host Craig Sisterson chats to Eric Gumbo about providing real-world solutions to clients. In Africa’s dynamic and multi-faceted legal landscape, Eric Gumbo emerges as a paragon of collaborative success and relationship building. As a seasoned advocate practising at G&A Advocates LLP, a Kenyan full service law firm which he founded in 2006, Gumbo has dedicated his professional trajectory to cultivating meaningful connections with clientele spanning diverse industries. G&A’s purpose, he says, is to provide real-world solutions to real-world problems. “Our clients are at the heart of what we do,” Gumbo told Sisterson. Over the last 18 years, G&A Advocates LLP has become a trusted advisor, handling a number of highly complex and sensitive matters, including providing counsel in electoral disputes that have arisen following the past three presidential elections in Kenya. In handling political disputes, Gumbo believes in fostering transparent communication which enables the firm to deliver customised solutions. “It gives us an opportunity to contribute to what you would call the ‘democratic space’ of our country,” he said. G&A seeks to contribute to key sectors of the economy both in Kenya and in the region, and Gumbo views energy as an integral sector in Kenya, and the backbone of economic activities in the East African country. The firm plays a significant role in advising on the energy transition agenda in Kenya and the region. Working on a Kenya-Djibouti green energy project gave G&A an opportunity to have high-level impact. “It gave us an opportunity to understand how much lawyers can impact society through deliberate and well-structured documents in a way that not only achieves success for the client’s project, but also helps them achieve greater societal objectives,” Gumbo added. Another significant mandate that the firm recently received was advising on a recent Eurobond or sovereign debt transaction. Gumbo believes in building the capacity of Kenyan firms, so with this client G&A brought on board a few up and coming law firms which would not otherwise have had the opportunity to work on such a deal. This, he said, was done so that they could collectively contribute to the advancement and evolution of the legal landscape in Africa. In their discussion, Gumbo shares with Sisterson the values the firm espouses, saying client centricity, tailoring solutions to best fit their needs, professionalism and integrity are their top priorities. The podcast wraps up with Gumbo sharing the firm’s future-focused outlook which will ensure it remains relevant in the industry and society as a whole.
5/1/202428 minutes, 31 seconds
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Ubuntu Mental Health:Overcoming imposter syndrome with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba

In this third episode of the Ubuntu Mental Health Matters Series with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba, she speaks with Thomas Pearson about imposter syndrome, a mental health condition facing many in the legal industry. The competitive nature of the legal profession and the constant need to demonstrate expertise exacerbate feelings of inadequacy, often making even the most skilful lawyer feel like an imposter. Renowned chartered psychologist Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba explains that imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where people who are professional and capable doubt themselves and their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. She has found that it presents itself commonly among people in professions that are hypercompetitive, highly skilled or societally well regarded. “The unique thing about the legal profession is that it’s really high stakes. It’s hyper competitive, very visible and a transparent profession. It’s a career that can expose you to a lot of criticism or a lot of praise. That puts the pressure [on one] to feel, ‘Well, am I good enough or do I even belong in this space?’ and that increases your anxiety.” The symptoms of imposter syndrome, says Nkhalamba, manifest through feelings of inadequacy. One of the ways to help manage and prevent this, is to normalise failure. “It’s not only in your professional life; even in your personal life you have to be okay with failing sometimes and understanding that failure is not a major setback. You’re just trying to learn something new about yourself and improve.” Every failure – including those in the legal profession – is a learning process, she says. “Shut down the voice and remind yourself that, ‘Yes, I have had failures, I’ve had setbacks, but I’ve also had achievements.’ Acknowledge them and accept positive feedback,” she added Nkhalamba advises that having a mindset of continual learning helps to deal with this condition. The insightful conversation between Nkhalamba and Pearson includes information on how employers can help break the imposter syndrome mindset in the workplace and why the host and the guest of this podcast should not be allowed on the golf course!
2/20/202439 minutes, 53 seconds
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'Exploring Mali’s evolving mining landscape' with Mamadou Coulibaly, Satis Partners

In this Coffee Break episode, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Mamadou Coulibaly, co-founder and managing partner of Satis Partners, about the shift in Mali’s mining regulations. Recent bold changes to Mali’s mining regulations aim to boost the West African country’s economy while empowering local communities. Mamadou Coulibaly, a seasoned lawyer at Satis Partners sheds light on these changes that have unfolded since the 2020 political shift. Following the regime change and national dialogue, one key resolution was to enhance revenue generation for Malians from the lucrative gold and ore mining sector. To achieve this goal, Mali's mining code underwent significant adjustments, levelling the playing field for all stakeholders. Previously, the mining code offered varied incentives for different operations. Now, as Coulibaly notes, the revised code standardises regulations. Notable changes include increased government participation in mining activities, a revised tax regime, and mandates for 90% of the workforce to comprise local employees. Importantly, Coulibaly emphasises that these shifts reflect an international trend, with other West African nations embracing similar principles for promoting local content. Coulibaly encourages investors to explore opportunities in smelting, processing and refining enterprises, as extractives need to be refined before being exported. Additionally, he highlights the potential in training programs. As local workforce participation becomes mandatory, there's a growing demand for specific skills. These two areas, Coulibaly suggests, could provide interesting opportunities in the years ahead.
2/15/202426 minutes, 24 seconds
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'Connecting investors and destinations through financial strategies' with Asafo & Co

In this podcast hosted by Tom Pearson, Jamal Fofana and Benoît Diouf from Asafo & Co. discuss the dynamic and evolving banking and finance sector across Africa. Leading law firm Asafo & Co. is influencing positive change and growth through its innovative legal and financial strategies and solutions. Jamal Fofana, a founding member of Asafo & Co., has rejoined the firm with his blended experience gained both as in-house counsel and in private practice, equipped with a mix of legal skills required for banking, finance and project development practices in Africa. Fofana says Asafo offers legal services on the ground that bring together their technical skills as a global firm, together with an unparalleled understanding of specific considerations involved in the African market and the pragmatism needed to close deals. Benoît Diouf, who joined the firm in 2021, shares his insights into the banking and finance sector, and speaks about what sets the firm apart. Promoting financial inclusion is a top priority in this sector, he says. “The banking sector is a key factor to the development of our continent and we need a strong banking system with less barriers to enable and support the development of impactful intra-African trade. We know there is a need to adapt the banking regulations across the continent to facilitate capital movement and enhance the capabilities of our banking industries,” Diouf said. Fofana and Diouf, both advocates for local currency funding, are of the view that when it comes to larger scale infrastructure projects, creating a bridge of both awareness and facilitation between existing capital markets and Africa's demand is required. Fofana shares the firm’s commitment to West Africa and adds that they are one of the few firms in the region with legal professionals in the banking & finance sector, and have been involved in a number of recent landmark transactions. The experts further discuss the merits of going into securitisation and increasing the awareness of individuals willing to invest in local notes, thus having an impact on the region. The conversation wraps up with Fofana and Diouf sharing interesting takeaways from the annual Africa Securitisation Forum, which Asafo & Co. co-organised with Deloitte for the second consecutive year in November 2023 in Lomé, Togo.
2/4/202428 minutes, 51 seconds
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'Navigating Nigeria's Maritime Future with Legal and Economic Insights' feat Stren & Blan Partners

Discover the potential of Nigeria's maritime industry in our featuring Joseph Siyaidon, Esq, MCIArb from Stren & Blan Partners. Joseph explores how legal reforms and economic strategies are set to revolutionise this sector, contributing significantly to Nigeria's GDP. Join us for an insightful journey into the future of maritime opportunities in Nigeria.
1/30/202432 minutes, 49 seconds
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'Raising the bar in the Kenyan real estate market' with TripleOKLaw and Hayer One Dec 2023

In this podcast, Tom Pearson chats to Tom Onyango and Chetan Hayer, the experts at the forefront of Kenya’s internationally recognised real estate development, The Marquis. Leading Kenyan law firm TripleOKLaw LLP has collaborated with Hayer One, a property development company, to deliver a landmark residential property in Nairobi, The Marquis. Recognised for its architectural design, superior build quality, ultra-modern finishes and a range of amenities, The Marquis has set new standards in the Kenyan property development sector. Chetan Hayer, the CEO of Hayer One, says their vision was to create a desirable, high-value real estate development to cater for those who want to experience a high-end lifestyle. What’s more, Hayer says that the entire project, from start to finish, has been delivered by Kenyans for Kenyans through Kenyan financing. “It is the people of Kenya who, through their hard work, their skill and, most importantly, their resilience, have shown to the rest of the world that we can produce an extremely high, Grade A quality residential development in the heart of Nairobi which, when you put it next to any Grade A development in any other developed city in the world, would compete very well,” Hayer shared. Tom Onyango, a senior partner at TripleOKLaw, has a wealth of experience and insight into the legal intricacies of real estate development and worked alongside Hayer on The Marquis. Onyango says having a reputable developer, ensuring the proper title documents and approvals are in place, and understanding the interest rates when borrowing for purchase, should be among the key considerations for investors. He adds that when it comes to legislative changes, further clarity is needed on taxation, and he explains why better financing models are needed for buyers who want to purchase properties sold off plan. He says the legal team at TripleOKLaw is uniquely positioned to assist in the success of real estate projects in Kenya because of the team’s dedicated resources, and explains that the firm’s aim is to minimise the risks and ensure the projects succeed. The conversation wraps up with Hayer sharing his future development plans.
12/14/202341 minutes, 41 seconds
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Ubuntu Mental Health:Employees’ mental wellbeing is an asset with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba

In the second episode of the Ubuntu Mental Health Matters Series with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba, she speaks with Thomas Pearson about self care and coping mechanisms. There are various ways to mitigate the impact of trauma and help process it safely, says Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba, an esteemed chartered psychologist from Malawi. One of these is through vicarious resilience – listening to peers in the workplace who have gone through a traumatic experience, and being inspired by their mental ability to overcome a stressful situation. However, although peer support is helpful as this can be encouraging, she says it could also lead to a toxic workplace culture if there is no balance, especially if success is achieved to the detriment of one's mental health and welfare. Nkhalamba warns against pushing towards an unhealthy extreme where winning is prioritised instead of a person’s wellbeing. Instead, she encourages peer support that involves teaching and mentorship as this is more empowering. Nkhalamba dispels the notion that perfectionism is a positive trait, as it is an unsustainable standard. “It really is a relentless drive for a standard that you will never meet. It's also very personal, because you judge yourself based on that standard, on your ability to reach this standard. A lot of people who are perfectionists often present with issues of anxiety, depression, because they're always worried,” she explains. In the podcast she provides detailed advice for self care practices, such as exercise, nutrition and sleep which are fundamental to good brain health, and recommends having a sleep ritual. Browsing through your cell phone or reading a book while in bed could stimulate the brain, instead of relaxing it, she says. Nkhalamba points out that the choice of food also impacts your quality of sleep and suggests eating lighter meals in the evenings. Emphasising that nutrition and exercise are the cornerstones of mental health, Nkhalamba explains that exercise restores the balance between physiology and hormones. “What you do to your body and what you put into your body has a direct impact on your brain,” she shares. Debriefing is another coping mechanism. “It’s talking about how you have been impacted, acknowledging what you're feeling and discussing how you could deal with it,” explains Nkhalamba. The hour-long conversation wraps up with Nkhalamba talking Tom through live mindfulness techniques which are sure to get even the most anxious person relaxed.
12/6/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 7 seconds
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'Reducing REC's Environmental Footprint' with Nicole Gichuhi, ALN Kenya

In this episode of the Breaking Ground, Breaking Barriers podcast series focusing on East Africa’s real estate and construction landscape, Nicole Gichuhi, a partner at ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khanna chats to Tom Pearson about Africa’s development in the sustainability era. The real estate and construction sector is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but sustainability practices such as using energy efficient building designs and materials, are actively reducing the industry's environmental footprint in Africa, and are helping to mitigate climate change and preserve ecosystems. Nicole Gichuhi, who represents leading players in high value real estate transactions at ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khanna, has noted a heightened awareness on the responsible use of land. This conscientious approach, she says, is not just driven by governments and legislation, but also by the industry, which is taking collective responsibility to protect the environment. In the residential market, Gichuhi highlights that sustainable buildings often have higher market values, driven by the increasing demand for houses with natural lighting and efficient insulation, because it ultimately lowers their energy consumption. “Sustainable buildings could lead to cost savings in the long run. Energy efficient buildings consume less energy, have lower utility bills, maintenance and operations costs. Over time, you'd be able to see that the cost savings can actually outweigh the initial investment.” Gichuhi shares that sustainable real estate developments can also benefit from using locally sourced and sustainable building materials, thus making it more affordable. She further explains how African governments are adopting environmentally friendly practices, and offers her views on what approach should be taken going forward, including that she believes incentives and tax benefits should be on the cards. Gichuhi says their firm plays a legal advocacy role when it comes to its relations with the Kenyan government, including providing detailed comments during the public participation phase of legislative decision making processes. In addition, the firm also forges partnerships with other stakeholders such as the Green Building Society. She believes there's a lot that can be learned from Kenya’s eco-friendly legislation when it comes to sustainable buildings, emphasising the potential for cross-cultural inspiration, citing the Maasai people as an example of a tribal community with insights that could contribute to sustainable practices.
11/20/202327 minutes, 42 seconds
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Ubuntu Mental Health:Getting to grips with mental health literacy with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba

In this first episode of this Ubuntu Mental series with Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba speaks with Thomas Pearson about the need for mental health literacy and understanding vicarious trauma. Traditionally, the legal profession has normalised stress as part of its “tough it out” culture, because talking about mental health matters is considered a sign of weakness. However, overwhelming research has shown that there are higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than before among lawyers, and there isn't a safe space to talk about it. The first step is understanding the terminology and vocabulary used to describe how people are feeling, which is why mental health literacy is important, says Dr Mathero Michelle Nkhalamba, a renowned clinical psychologist from Malawi. “If you can't name what's happening inside you, you cannot focus on remedying the things that are causing you that distress.” Nkhalamba says a good place to start talking about mental health literacy is at undergraduate law school level, as this will prepare young lawyers for the work and time-intensive environment that lies ahead of them. She points out that the culture of always having to grind with no time for rest, to prove your mettle as a lawyer, needs to be replaced with one that includes self care practices and normalising being tired. She comments that racking up billable hours will count for little when productivity is eventually compromised. Nkhalamba warns that stress has long term chronic effects such as hypertension, certain cancers, skin irritations and insomnia. She also explains in detail how the body reacts to stress and why it is deemed an occupational hazard. Delving into another key topic, Nkhalamba unpacks what vicarious trauma is, the neurobiology of trauma and the signs and symptoms of the condition. Interestingly, Thomas highlights a study that shows that playing Tetris can interrupt the response to trauma. The episode wraps up with Nkhalamba offering advice on what can be done to address stress and trauma regardless of the lack of infrastructure around mental health well-being available.
11/20/202348 minutes, 10 seconds
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Coffee Break ...with Manakore Attorneys - 'Sunshine is good news for energy investors'

In this Coffee Break episode, Jabulani Nhongo chats to Tom Pearson about Zimbabwe’s energy supply structure and the exciting opportunities available to foreign investors. Zimbabwe is an attractive destination if you’re looking to invest in the energy sector. With 70% of its power being sourced from geothermal and hydroelectric schemes, and a push towards other cleaner alternatives, businesses will be able to import and service their energy needs from sources other than the country’s national grid. This means independent power producers (IPPs) will play a major role. Jabulani Nhongo, partner at Manakore Attorneys, part of the DLA Piper Network, an expert in mergers & acquisitions and finance, says the power demand in the country is forecast to increase to 3 500 megawatts by 2025. Future capacity increases in generation, Nhongo says, are going to be reliant on foreign investment, which presents key opportunities in the energy sector for investors. He explains that the National Development Strategy has provided a platform for IPPs to contribute to the national energy mix through renewable energy projects. “The government has initiated projects to support 1 000 megawatts worth of solar IPPs. There’s always a lot of sunlight in the country and that means that there’s great potential for solar power projects as well as other renewable energy sources, such as mini hydro and biomass,” Nhongo said. He explains that investors can also take advantage of incentives such as negotiable tax holidays, tax incentives, duty free importation of solar equipment and special dispensations for public projects, which ties into the public–private partnerships that form the basis of the current energy strategy. Nhongo says the Government Implementation Agreement has been designed to attract investment aimed to provide a stable fiscal and policy environment for IPPs. He adds that foreign investors can repatriate their funds from Zimbabwe with ease, based on the exchange control framework coupled with the protection afforded by the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Act, which seeks to promote and protect foreign investment in the country.
11/7/202323 minutes, 38 seconds
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Episode 3 of 'Life and Lessons in Law' with James Kamau, Chair, DLA Piper Africa

In this third instalment of Life and Lessons in Law with James Kamau, Tom Pearson chats to him about the increasingly blurred lines between law and technology. James Kamau, chair of DLA Piper Africa and Managing partner of DLA Piper Africa Kenya, IKM Advocates, has a deep-rooted passion for legal development and upskilling Africa’s legal sector services. He agrees that technology has redefined the legal sector and that, to stay ahead of the rapid pace of digital developments, lawyers not only have to embrace the evolution but also find ways of maximising its benefits. Kamau has been in the industry long enough to have witnessed the transition from using manual typewriters and walking to the post office to send letters to now harnessing the benefits of computer- and web-based programs that provide efficient services to clients. Listing various end solutions that technology can provide to lawyers, Kamau says technology helps to create greater efficiency and therefore profitability in the practice of law and also facilitates greater access to justice. “From a practitioner’s point of view, one has to look at how to create these efficiencies that enable internal collaboration, and collaboration when dealing with clients,” he says. “Like a lot of things in life, you need to be alert and be able to read and understand the developments in the local markets … sometimes you also need to associate with what the international law firms are doing,” he added. There are still many law firms that lack cross-sector engagement with technology, and Kamau puts this down to three factors: the legal profession being conservative and highly regulated, the possibility of today’s chosen technology being outpaced with newer versions by tomorrow, and concerns about quality assurance. Despite these concerns, Kamau says perceptions and attitudes towards intersecting law and technology must change, as this is a significant barrier. “We need to look at technology as an enabler, not as a replacement of the human user, and [understand] that it augments the way we work,” he commented. He adds that firms have no option but to embrace technology, and those that don’t “are going to be left behind” by their competitors. Kamau and Tom further discuss the impact and efficiencies of tech and wrap up the conversation with forward-looking trends – an AI judge, perhaps?
10/24/202335 minutes
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Coffee Break ... with Eversheds Sutherland - 'Big firm, wide reach, strong reputation'

In this Coffee Break podcast, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to John Kemkers, about Eversheds Sutherland’s continental footprint. With more than 100 legal experts working on Africa-related mandates, and offices in key jurisdictions such as South Africa, Tunisia, Angola, Mozambique and Mauritius, backed by partners and offices in London, Paris, Dubai and New York, Eversheds Sutherland has a global reach that few law firms can rival. All these offices frequently work in conjunction with a network of alliance firms called Eversheds Southern Africa Alliance (ESAA), which covers a further 30-plus jurisdictions. “We have broad coverage right across the continent,” says John Kemkers, Head of Africa Group for Eversheds Sutherland, whose focus areas include financial services, real estate and energy sectors. Having worked in both the UK and the UAE, Kemkers has managed disputes across the Middle East and Africa, which gives him valuable insights into the legal landscape of the region. “Our Africa work has two categories of work streams: the first is business-as-usual work for many of our global clients, and the second category, is largely generated and serviced by the Africa Group, working in conjunction with our ESAA firms. The main sectors that we are focusing on are in energy infrastructure, financial, TMT (technology, media and telecommunication) industries and consumer services. In terms of our practice areas and service lines, our focus is on corporate M&A projects and project finance and disputes,” Kemkers explained, adding that the team has worked in over 25 jurisdictions in Africa on significant energy and infrastructure projects, particularly in the clean energy space. Working on a continent with a population of 1. 4 billion spread across 54 countries with dozens of languages being spoken, understanding the local laws can be challenging. “In Africa, more than anywhere else, there is no substitute for local knowledge, and that's why we've grown our Africa network the way that we have. The upshot is that we have a genuine alliance which affords us and our clients access to strong, responsive local expertise,” commented Kemkers. He added that the firm’s local law experts are the assets of the firm, enabling Eversheds Sutherland to provide sector- and practice area expertise coupled with cultural awareness and an understanding of the relevant legal and business environments. Kemkers also elaborates on how the firm mitigates risks for their clients in countries with political instability, and further discusses the seamless cooperation between Eversheds Sutherland and their alliance network. He goes on to share a bold step the firm recently took with China’s foremost law firm, King & Wood Mallesons, and unpacks the exclusive cooperation among them – a benefit for clients investing and operating in Africa
10/12/202321 minutes, 23 seconds
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'Turning change into opportunity' with Otsile Matlou, ENS

In this podcast, Otsile Matlou chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the brand refresh at ENS, an African law firm that operates across the eastern, western and southern regions of Africa. To keep ahead of the changes and developments that are sweeping across the world, ENS (previously ENSafrica) is going through a brand refresh. Otsile Matlou, Chief Operating Officer at ENS, explains that their new positioning was spurred by the changes brought on by geopolitics as well as technology. The purpose, Matlou says, is to turn change into opportunity. “We went down a sort of strategic discussion that landed our firm with a new purpose, and it is out of that purpose that we ended up with this brand refresh.” Part of the brand refresh includes dropping the word “Africa” after the ENS acronym. “In 2012, the brand strategy of the firm supported the business strategy which was to ‘continentalise’ our practice. We don't feel that the brand name needs to continue to support the business strategy. We think the brand name needs to support the firm's new purpose, and so the brand name shifts from aligning with the business strategy to linking closely with where the firm is going as a purpose-led organisation. We do, however, maintain our business strategy completely focused on the African continent.” Other features of the brand refresh include embedding technology as a legal service. This will allow leading clients to use active dashboards that showcase the financial aspects of their relationship with the firm, and is one way of moving from a traditional client–attorney relationship to a closer partnership where there's a line of sight on both sides – and predictability. “Our clients can expect a partner firm that is going to infuse our expertise, our skill sets, technology and a bit of social conscience to make sure that we can deliver good products,” says Matlou. He adds that the best way of making sure that lawyers at a large entrepreneurial firm like ENS adopt technology is not just to present the prowess of technology, but also the ease of client service benefits they can get out of it. Matlou emphasises that the success of their firm is dependent on its people who are considered brand or purpose ambassadors. “We believe that our purpose is nimble and dynamic enough to accommodate our diversity. Our brand is designed around this and therefore part of what we are going to do as we roll out the brand refresh, is embedding the firm's values across our business to ensure that there's alignment between the purpose of the organisation, what the brand stands for, and the set of behaviours that people embody on a daily basis to live up to the purpose.”
9/19/202326 minutes, 24 seconds
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'Following the money trail' with RPC Law firm and Grant Thornton LLP

In this podcast, seasoned asset recovery professionals Alan Williams and Amaechi Nsofor discuss how the illicit flow of funds and assets can be recovered and restored to Africa. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimated that last year a whopping $84 billion was lost through the illicit flow of funds from Africa. To put this figure into context, that's reportedly more than all of the money Africa receives each year in development aid. “If you could tackle this problem, Africa wouldn't need any development aid at all,” said Alan Williams, an experienced commercial litigator at RPC, specialising in banking and finance disputes, often with cross-border implications, and encompassing a wide array of commercial disputes across various sectors. Williams points out that at the centre of this challenging and complex problem are the unscrupulous politicians, officials and business people who pay bribes and involve the banks, along with lawyers and accountants who facilitate the transactions, sometimes unwittingly, but also sometimes knowingly. “It's not just a problem in Africa. You've got a sophisticated and opaque financial system that is enabling these funds to move out of Africa and then remain hidden,” he noted. Amaechi Nsofor, an expert restructuring and insolvency practitioner at Grant Thornton UK, says their key area of focus, and where they’ve seen the most activity around grand corruption and the illicit flow of funds, was with governments. Nsofor calls it sovereign-level stealing from the public purse and hiding those assets outside the countries from which they have been stolen. He notes that while previously, illicit funds would be moved to well known tax haven destinations or countries which had secrecy laws, they are now being channelled to countries within Africa. But it's not all doom and gloom, say the experts; key strategies can help recover stolen funds. “You follow the money and you deploy insolvency tools to secure those assets cross-border and take control of the assets and deal with creditor claims, which will end up with you returning the funds to the ultimate creditors who have lost out,” Nsofor explains. Williams adds that English courts have some of the strongest legal powers globally to take action to preserve assets, such as worldwide freezing orders that prevent parties from diminishing or disposing of their assets. He says collaborating and working with local legal practitioners and professionals in Africa as well as education and awareness around the processes is crucial in the recovery process. The insightful conversation wraps up with Nsofor and Williams sharing their views on what needs to be done to overcome corruption. Nsofor, citing the Credit Suisse scandal and the impact on ordinary Mozambicans, said governments should use their crime fighting agencies to run parallel investigations to those initiated by the UK, and fine local financial institutions found guilty of wrongdoing. “Fundamental to solving this problem is not just taking action in Africa, but it's also raising the bar in London and in other financial centres, and I think that is beginning to happen,” added Williams.
9/18/202338 minutes, 16 seconds
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'Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in law' - with August Hill & Associates

Milimo Mumbi and Chimwemwe Banda-Bwalya of leading Zambian law firm August Hill and Associates recently shared their views on diversity, equity and inclusion with Africa Legal’s podcast host Thomas Pearson. August Hill Associate Milimo Mumbi’s outlook on fostering diversity and an inclusive legal environment has been shaped by encounters with people from different ethnic backgrounds, even while at university. What Mumbi found was that differing opinions and suggestions on ways to resolve a problem helped produce solutions quicker, and he has seen that play out in the workplace. He has also noticed that more women are now given a place at the table, allowing them to be key decision makers. Mumbi’s colleague, advocate Chimwemwe Banda-Bwalya, says this wasn’t always the case, and while many law firms have made strides in empowering women, the industry is still dominated by men. Banda-Bwalya attributes this to men being viewed as readily available to put in the long working hours, while women are seen as being bogged down by family affairs. In the podcast, she discusses the importance of mentorship in empowering women in the legal profession. “I've been fortunate enough to have bosses who have been very deliberate about ensuring that I have certain standards to which I work and conduct myself in court,” said Banda-Bwalya. She also praised the late Irene Chirwa Mambilima, the former Chief Justice of Zambia, saying, “She’s changed things for us women. If a woman can stand and lead the whole judiciary, there's so much more that we can do as women.” Mumbi believes inclusion and diversity need to be taught at law schools. He says at the moment these issues are only touched upon and taught as abstract concepts. “No one is speaking to the practicality of what this entails in the legal profession and how students should now ready themselves to actually go and practice that abstract concept that's being taught.” To address this, Mumbi says there should be a mentorship program at university level and opportunities should be created for law students to practically experience this in a workplace. He believes that to create further inclusivity, the industry needs to be more considerate of people with disabilities, encouraging the use of braille and sign language in courtrooms. Banda-Bwalya also shares her views on the next generation of lawyers and how technology will help better serve their clients.
9/12/202327 minutes, 59 seconds
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'User-friendly tech that works for you' with George Njorge from Enfinite Solutions

Legal technology provides a multitude of benefits to lawyers. In this podcast, George Njoroge, a legal tech expert, and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson explore the evolutions in legal tech and analyse the benefits. Poor record management is often associated with inefficiency and corruption. To change that, George Njoroge, software expert and engineer, has come up with a technology tool that helps busy lawyers and in-house legal officers save time and operational costs, increase efficiencies and make better decisions. Njoroge, is the founder and CEO of Enfinite Solutions, the first company in Kenya to offer a digital legal service platform for organisations. With technology being the driver of efficiency in most aspects, Njoroge says law firms are slowly but steadily adapting to the tech evolution. He says most people don't know exactly what kind of data they hold – and its value – due to poor record keeping. “I keep giving this reference to some of our clients, that you could have a department with 200 files or so, bringing in more business than another department with over 1 000 files. Do you just focus on the good business that you're getting from this one department? Do you hire more people in the department that's increasing your revenue? Most people are not able to tell because they don't have any infrastructure to analyse the data. If you can't analyse – if you can't measure – you can't improve.” Njoroge says there are three metrics that every law firm in Africa should be measuring: understanding how many clients they have and who they are, billing, and the debt to equity ratio. He adds that legal tech has the greatest efficiency potential when it is used to replace repetitive manual tasks such as tracking hourly rates, billing and debt. But what does it take for a law firm that has always done things manually to transition to using technology? Njoroge says his company starts by mapping out the firm’s data, understanding their clients and giving them a scenario where everything is available on one platform. This covers business management, accounting and finance, and the human resources aspect. Another trending topic Njoroge speaks on is that of data protection and security. He discusses why it is important for every lawyer to be aware of the regulations – and why firms need to have robust policies in place to ensure compliance. The conversation wraps up with Njoroge explaining how easy it is for lawyers to make use of Enfinite’s products and services. “Once we do a customisation for the client, they are able to be up and running within two weeks,” he says.
8/30/202329 minutes, 15 seconds
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Hogan Lovells General Counsel Series: Ep 1, Part 2 - 'Understanding opportunities and grabbing them'

In Part 2 of Hogan Lovells’ new podcast, The Africa GC Series, three leading GCs from some of the world’s largest corporates share their experience and insights regarding external legal advisors, ESG and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. Deepa Vallabh, a partner at international law firm Hogan Lovells, introduces the second episode, in which Hogan Lovells’ former Chair of Africa, Andrew Skipper, now founder and CEO of Polymetis Professional Solutions spoke to Samallie Kiyingi of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Vivian Osayande of Novartis, and Wellington Chimwaradze of Unilever. All the panellists agree that it’s a balance between using in-house capabilities and looking for external advice which costs more but comes with added benefits. Osayande says for her it’s always about asking “What is the most efficient way?” She highlights that in-house people are very internally focused, so there’s the risk of missing trends, whereas external counsel brings agility from working for different industries and can often pinpoint new opportunities – but you must know you can trust their advice. Chimwaradze agrees with the importance of building a trusted panel you can draw on, which is what he’s done. “They (external counsel) are an extension of me,” he said. Moving onto environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) issues, Kiyingi notes that there are many conversations happening about ESG, but that sustainability is the key word. She highlights that for Africa sustainability may mean something different to what it does to the West, and speaks about the way Afreximbank is looking to influence this conversation. Osayande says innovation is crucial in driving sustainability, and notes some examples of this. Chimwaradze points out that he is proud of Unilever’s purposefulness which set the ambition of driving sustainability before it was fashionable to do so, and which sets targets to make sustainable living commonplace across the globe. When it comes to AfCFTA, Kiyingi emphasises that it’s important to be familiar with the agreement and also its origins, reminding listeners that AfCFTA is just one aspect of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which is the master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. “How do we build institutions to ensure this works well?” she asks. Kiyingi goes on to point out that a key factor is building awareness of what this trade agreement does, and helping business and government take advantage of that. One way of doing this is through the trade fairs Afreximbank organises. Chimwaradze mentions tradeoffs that are inevitably required with agreements like AfCFTA, and Kiyingi highlights some ways of mitigating those.
8/24/202345 minutes, 20 seconds
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'Enhancing Kenya’s private equity and venture capital ecosystem' with Ashitiva Advocates

In this podcast, guests from Ashitiva Advocates LLP, Pinsent Masons and the Nairobi International Financial Centre chat to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the three-way collaboration to woo investors to Kenya – the “Silicon Savannah”. There’s a lot of discussion at the moment around enhancing Kenya’s private investment ecosystem, and the private equity and venture capital roundtable that’s being held on 12 September at the Nairobi Serena Hotel will help advance the conversation. The event is being organised jointly by premier African law firm Ashitiva Advocates LLP which has three commercial centres in Kenya, Pinsent Masons, a purpose led multinational law firm with 26 offices on four continents, and the Nairobi International Financial Centre, a dedicated government agency that creates an efficient and predictable operating environment. In the discussion with Tom, Nelson Ashitiva, Senior Partner at Ashitiva Advocates LLP and an expert in mergers & acquisitions, capital markets and corporate/commercial transactions, says the roundtable is about creating a bridge between investors and opportunities in East Africa. “Africa is ripe with a plethora of investment opportunities, so we are seeking to find out the impediments to the free flow of capital to Africa for purposes of investment. Once we understand those impediments, we will find a way to bridge them through a collaborative effort with all the stakeholders.” Jeddida Ndungu, Acting Director of the Financial Sector Development for the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC) Authority, says their mission is to enhance Nairobi's position as the preferred hub for financial services and innovation. “We are able to leverage our role as a government agency that has been given the powers to provide incentives and also to work with other government agencies to ensure that we provide the best operating environment in the region,” Ndungu explained. She adds that the roundtable will be a good platform for the various stakeholders to be heard and provide solutions that they think the Kenyan government needs to explore and consider to enhance the ecosystem. Oliver Crowley, a partner at Pinsent Masons, specialises in the structuring and establishment of private investment funds across a range of asset classes and multiple jurisdictions. In the podcast, he shares his insights on lessons that could be learned from other regions. “The regime should be as frictionless as possible whilst protecting investors and providing good service providers, and all of that will provide the necessary checks and balances that investors expect to see when they're deploying capital,” he noted. Crowley says while the barriers vary in jurisdictions, the overarching one in particular is uncertainty. Some jurisdictions deal with this better than others, he says. Lisa Botha, a partner at Pinsent Masons who has a track record of advising on high profile transactions and assisting clients across Africa, points out that Mauritius has had substantial success in establishing itself as a financial centre for investment in Africa. “Kenya could provide a fantastic market for East Africa and for investments from Kenya upward bound further than East Africa,” she commented. Ultimately, the roundtable is a great opportunity to collaborate and shape what a successful Kenyan private equity and venture capital ecosystem would look like.
8/23/202332 minutes, 10 seconds
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Hogan Lovells General Counsel Series: Episode 1, Part 1 - 'Business leaders, legal experts’

Hogan Lovells recently launched their new podcast, The Africa GC Series, where leading GCs from some of the world’s largest corporates share their experience and insights. In Episode 1, three panellists focus on the evolving GC role as a business enabler and driver. In seeking to expand their knowledge of what keeps their clients up at night, international law firm Hogan Lovells partnered with Africa Legal to bring together three leading African GC for an extended conversation. Deepa Vallabh introduces the first episode which was hosted by Hogan Lovells’ former Chair of Africa, Andrew Skipper, who is also the founder and current CEO of Polymetis Professional Solutions. For this podcast, Skipper spoke to Samallie Kiyingi of African Export-Import Bank, Vivian Osayande of Novartis, and Wellington Chimwaradze of Unilever. The role of in-house lawyers has evolved in recent years and general counsel can no longer focus on legal risks alone to help their businesses succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace. The trio spoke of how their senior roles now go far beyond offering reactive advice and managing legal risk; instead, modern-day general counsel must be proactive, highly engaged with their business and seen as “enablers” of broader business strategy. For Kiyingi, her role as general counsel goes beyond the expected high-level legal advisory aspects, to making various contributions as and when the business needs it. “What I do on a day-to-day basis, I think, is future-proofing the organisation: thinking strategically about the transactions we’re doing, the risks, the policies we’re pursuing, and where that will put the bank in the next five to ten years.” Osayande concurred. As Head of Legal for Novartis’ Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMA) Operations, her job encompasses the traditional lawyer role – including a large focus on ethics – but also includes conversations around price, access, ESG and speed of delivery. Then there’s the added responsibility of acting as a mentor and guide to the company’s team of 60+ lawyers. Chimwaradze, Vice-President Legal for Unilever Africa, also noted that although all three came from very different industries, there are many commonalities in what they focus on on a day to day basis. “I see myself playing the role of a defender in the team as well as an attacker/offence,” he said. Chimwaradze believes he is a facilitator for what the business wants to achieve, not just a manager of legal risk. “It’s about identifying the issues, depending on what your business wants to do, understanding and appreciating the risks that might be associated with that. But, even more importantly, it is also to understand the opportunities that might lie within those conversations.” Osayande, Chimwaradze and Kiyingi also spoke about building confidence with external counsel, the importance of leadership, business acumen and emotional intelligence, and the growing impact of ESG and climate change. “Beyond your corporate priorities,” said Osayande, “all of us have to be more conscious than ever as to the sustainability of our businesses and accountability for our actions.”
8/17/202332 minutes, 30 seconds
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Episode 2 of 'Life and Lessons in Law' with James Kamau, Chair, DLA Piper Africa

In this episode of Life & Lessons in Law, James Kamau, seasoned lawyer and chair of DLA Piper Africa, chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson on how to attract and retain the best legal talent. Globalisation, the rapid advancement of technology and evolving workplace trends are among the reasons why retaining legal talent in Africa is becoming increasingly challenging. James Kamau, chair of DLA Piper Africa and Managing Partner at IKM Advocates (DLA Piper Africa, Kenya), says lawyers are pursuing international opportunities which very few of the local firms can match. “Today's lawyers are much more exposed to developments in emerging areas, which makes these international opportunities very attractive for them, for the corporates and for the international law firms.” With these international offerings becoming a threat to staff retention at local firms, Kamau suggests that local firms diversify their legal service offerings. He points out that the rapid advancement of technology is interrupting the marketplace, and if evolving workplace trends are not considered, there will be a continuous drain of legal human resources in Africa. “You must, therefore, ensure that the evolving workplace trends are attuned to the expectations of this talent. You must put in place agile working practices such as remote working, flexible schedules, cross-functional teams, cross-border collaboration, and then, of course, the use of technology. But you must also approach the learning and development of your people quite differently. You must complement the traditional planning programs with what is now being called the bite-sized learning formats, which includes microlearning,” Kamau explained. So, what does it take to attract and keep the best talent in Africa? Kamau puts it down to being a firm that has a market reputation for caring about the people and ensuring this is backed with a remuneration structure that enables people to have “what we call job satisfaction”. “The one thing that is most overlooked, and yet is the most powerful tool in attracting the best people, is word of mouth. The employees are your greatest ambassadors and it’s therefore critical to have that healthy organisational culture and the employee-supportive policies that make employees talk about you,” he says. In the podcast, Kamau provides further insight on why law will continue to remain a lucrative career option for future generations alongside the other rapidly evolving careers such as digital marketing, artificial intelligence, coding and e-commerce. The conversation wraps up with Kamau sharing his views on how a firm can support its talent, right from being an intern all the way to partner: “If the environment is right, then rising to partnership becomes attractive to this generation.”
8/7/202335 minutes, 44 seconds
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'Technology can be a trust enabler' with Fikayo Durosinmi-Etti and ToNote

Legal technology solutions are not about reinventing the wheel, especially if there has been a culture of solving problems in a certain way for the past hundred years. Instead, it is meant to simplify productivity, making things easier and less time consuming, says Fikayo Durosinmi-Etti, CEO of ToNote, a technology company based in Nigeria that focuses on simplifying the way people agree to do business. Fikayo shared the story of his personal experience and that of others who’ve had the unfortunate experience of being misrepresented and having their signatures forged. He says with the right infrastructure and verification systems in place, technology can prevent these occurrences. One of the emerging technologies expediting the trust process is the remote online notarization service. What used to be a very long-winded, paper-based process requiring someone to be physically present, has shifted to a virtual system that makes use of electronic signatures and digitally generated stamps and video conferencing tools. “There are verification features as well, where any document that is generated from the system is accompanied by a transaction certificate and an audit trail that tracks every single change and every single action that takes place on the document. Whoever receives that document can type in the document ID or type in the notary number to verify that the document is indeed authentic and was generated from a credible remote online notary tool,” Fikayo explained. When it comes to adopting innovative tech solutions there can be a lot of resistance, but Fikayo says regulators across the world are starting to understand that technology is their friend. “It is not a replacement for anyone,” he said, “it's just something that empowers and enables you.” Fikayo has been privileged to engage and collaborate with some of the most forward-thinking minds in the Nigerian legal space, including members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Supreme Court and the Nigerian National Judicial Council, the National Assembly and the Presidency. Together with ToNote, they have been able to develop regulatory frameworks that support the use of advanced digital signatures and online notary tools. Jurisdictions across the continent are now embracing technology advancements. “Everybody has a digital transformation plan, and the legal industry will be a part of that transformation. At some point they will reap the benefits of it,” said Fikayo.
7/24/202334 minutes, 3 seconds
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Coffee Break with...Fieldfisher - 'Advancing fair and just arbitral proceedings'

In this week’s Coffee Break podcast, two seasoned arbitrators, Ania Farren and Marily Paralika, chat to Tom Pearson about how the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Commercial Arbitration is empowering and strengthening Africa’s arbitration landscape. The world’s leading arbitral institution, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Commercial Arbitration marks its centenary anniversary this year, with its continuing focus on promoting access to justice and providing a forum for independent and neutral dispute resolution. Since its inception in 1923, the ICC has championed the peaceful resolution of disputes as a way of supporting international trade and investment. Ania Farren and Marily Paralika from leading law firm Fieldfisher both hold impressive CVs when it comes to representing arbitral bodies and matters. In this podcast they expound on the ICC’s role in advancing its fair and just arbitral proceedings globally. With 180 members from more than 100 countries, together with the ICC court Secretariat, which has six offices in different parts of the world, members ensure that the arbitration rules are properly applied through a framework that guarantees independent and neutral awards. Paralika and Farren say this is at the heart of the success of the ICC, “and probably why it is the most popular institution for big international Africa-related arbitrations”. The ICC has taken several steps to promote African arbitrators, such as the introduction of the Hold the Door Open initiative, which was launched last year to improve diversity. It is aimed at giving young African practitioners practical experience in observing arbitration hearings and engaging with counsel and arbitrators to improve their advocacy skills. In addition, the Africa Commission has been raising awareness about arbitration in Africa to build capacity in their arbitration community and to create more visibility of African arbitrators with a view to them being appointed in matters related to their jurisdictions. Paralika says this is to highlight and showcase African seats so that all the players can be more aware of appropriate arbitration candidates and seats which are ultimately dependent on the parties. However, the seats in Paris and London, the guests say, are still the preferred choices, and they explain why this is. They also provide insight on the emerging trend to have African disputes resolved in Africa.
7/11/202323 minutes, 51 seconds
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'Embracing technology without losing humanity' with Justin Cornish, Lighthouse Law

Lighthouse Law and its group of companies are disrupting the legal space with their innovative ways of doing things. Justin Cornish chatted to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the firm’s people-centred focus. At a time when AI is the talk of the town, it might seem counter-intuitive to put people at the centre of things, especially for a firm that’s won awards for technology innovation in the legal sector, but that’s exactly what Lighthouse Law has done. The combination is working exceptionally well for them and their clients. Lighthouse Law encompasses several business lines including traditional and alternative legal services through Lighthouse, legal tech through LightHub, and legal ops and procurement consulting through Beacon. The golden thread being their approach to innovation and the high quality of legal services running through them all. These services are offered from South Africa to clients in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with people at the centre of the solution and with price certainty as the keystone of the commercial proposition. In this podcast, Justin Cornish, CEO of Lighthouse, explains the rationale behind establishing Lighthouse in South Africa and highlights the wealth of South African talent with international expertise that they have been able to recruit. This has positioned the firm to "provide a top-quality service to clients looking for a more cost-effective approach to legal services". As an example, Cornish notes that “the M&A space is ripe for this kind of disruption. Big Law clearly still dominates, but, certainly in mid-market private equity deals, there are great opportunities to explore alternative models for providing the services that both acquirers and sellers need in a transaction.” Beacon, Lighthouse’s legal ops and procurement consultancy service offering, focuses on building long term relationships with their clients. “We’re not a firm that has a thousand clients with limited ad hoc instructions; we are a firm that works closely with clients to build strategic and enduring relationships. A big part of it is understanding the business and the commercial imperatives of that organisation to know how best our legal team can support them. Beacon allows us to build this understanding at the outset, enabling our managed legal services solution to take care of much of the ‘churn work’ in-house lawyers have on their plates each day,” Cornish said. Lighthouse effectively implements solutions that free up capacity and increase the strategic value an in-house lawyer provides to its business. Cornish is known for his extensive activity on technology and outsourcing transactions, and Lighthouse's utilisation of data and technology places them as one of the innovation leaders in this arena. “We are certainly tech-forward as an organisation,” Cornish noted. “We’ve developed our own tech and we explore the market for tech that can enable us to provide better services to our customers all the time.” LightHub, the firm’s award-winning legal tech offering, is also a leader in contract management innovation, providing a wealth of valuable legal know-how, logical legal repositories, as well as easy-to-use legal dashboards to track workflow and analyse data, all in a way that helps in-house teams make informed and data-based decisions about how to work more efficiently and where best to deploy resources. Cornish is especially proud of the Lighthouse Academy, which offers mentorship, training and skills development programs for BBBEE law graduates in South Africa. He says while transformation is itself a noble cause, Lighthouse wanted to make a tangible difference by enabling its Academy graduates to access quality legal opportunities in the legal sector – all in the context of very high unemployment rates – and they have some real success stories.
7/4/202333 minutes, 49 seconds
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'Legal Expertise on Tap' with Maha Deeb, Legal Locum Network (LLN)

The Legal Locum Network has made its name offering flexible career options for talented attorneys, and high quality services to clients. In this podcast, Maha Deeb chats to Tom Pearson about the company’s impact on the legal profession and its expanding footprint. Established in 2001, The Legal Locum Network (LLN) has been at the forefront of providing alternative and managed legal solutions, offering flexible career options for talented attorneys and tailor-made services for clients. It all started when Maha Deeb noticed that a raft of top tier firm lawyers, mostly women, were contemplating leaving the profession due to the punishing hours at work which made it almost impossible to attain a work–life balance. In stepped Deeb, the founder and CEO of LLN. She established the company as a way to retain highly skilled lawyers in a different, more flexible environment, where they could offer their services on a more balanced basis. LLN’s offerings are tailor-made for their clients. Deeb says many traditional law firms make use of their services, for example for assistance with due diligence exercises, certain projects such as in public–private partnerships, and with document management systems. They are also available to fill in for in-house counsel in corporates across industries, banks and mining houses. “We don’t need micromanaging, we don't need to be hand-held, we just jump right in and hit the ground running. And that is a very valuable and compelling offering for in-house counsel,” says Deeb, adding that LLN has different models to choose from that suit both their legal experts and their clients. “I've always believed that you don't need a full day's work to be able to get through a lot of volume efficiently. What you do need is an uninterrupted, head-down opportunity to do the work,” Deeb explained. With a firm footing in South Africa and with some multinational clients, including mining houses, LLN is poised to roll out their services globally. As remote work has become a norm rather than an exception, companies have understood the feasibility of working remotely with excellent productivity across geographies, and Deeb says there’s no reason why LLN shouldn't be venturing outside South Africa’s borders. “We have started dipping our toes into the UK market, into the Middle East, the UAE and into the rest of our continent,” she shared. “We are talking to the multinationals in South Africa that have footprints on the rest of the continent, and we are also talking to multinationals in the UK which are South African held. In this way we look for initial soft landings where we are known and well received. I'm very pleased to say that we are progressing well.”
6/30/202323 minutes, 8 seconds
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'Africa’s capital quarterback' with Weyinmi Popo from Asafo & Co

For centuries there has been a strong London–Africa connection, and that’s still true. Weyinmi Popo, managing partner at Asafo & Co.’s London office, chatted to Tom Pearson about the firm’s tailored expertise and international reach. London has been thriving as a legal hotspot for much of the English-speaking world, and a lot of private equity and international finance flows into Africa from that economic hub. With this in mind, it was only natural for international law firm Asafo & Co. – a firm conceived and built specifically to accompany and contribute to the success of Africa’s transformation – strengthen its office in the largest city in the UK. Weyinmi Popo, who was recently appointed as managing partner and heads the London office, says it's an exciting challenge to build and grow the practice into one of the leading Africa-focused international firms. Popo has more than 25 years’ experience and is ranked for his expertise in private equity and mergers & acquisitions. He envisages working with clients who want to invest in and out of Africa regardless of the direction in which capital flows. He says their London office provides a helicopter view of the African continent, and of how capital flows are moving between regions. “London is a hub and we can reach out to the different bits of the continent and connect them. If you look at a lot of the African discussions around interaction and trade, London still plays a very big part in that. I think we can play a very good quarterback role,” he noted. With regard to current trends, Popo foresees niche opportunities in technology-related investments from the United States. “I think that's something that’s really upended the investment landscape in Africa, and in a good way because I think it's dynamic capital that is looking for talent and it's a good match.” Another area for investment, says Popo, is in the agricultural sector, with 40% of land in Africa being arable, making it easy to grow just about any crop. “I think that is one area where there has been underinvestment or less of a focus from an investment perspective, and it's ripe for investment. I have recently started to see a bit of movement there with lots of people starting their funds dedicated to agricultural investment.”
6/20/202324 minutes, 5 seconds
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'Preventing Illegal Mining: A Holistic and Collaborative Approach with Beech Veltman Incorporated

In this podcast, Stephen Nthite, a director at Beech Veltman Incorporated, chats to Africa Legal’s Thomas Pearson about illegal mining in South Africa and how it intersects with the sector’s response to environmental and social governance. South Africa is a mineral resource-rich country, with precious metals like gold, diamonds and copper among others, but mining these commodities without authorised legislation is illegal and there are many ramifications to doing so, says Stephen Nthite. Nthite has over 27 years’ experience in the legal sector, with a specific interest in occupational health and safety, environmental law and community engagement initiatives. While some large scale mining companies and artisanal miners have licences to extract mineral resources, he says that illegal mining has become predominant in certain parts of the country. For example, in the Northwest province there are many alluvial diamonds and people could just dig a little hole and pick one up. “There’s a lot of illegal mining activity going on there. Diamonds, unlike gold, are quite easy to handle and process. They don’t take a lot of engineering work and all of the stuff that’s required to deal with them. The only difficulty with diamonds and the environment has to do with mercury that the illegal miners use. It’s uncontrolled and unsupervised and sometimes extremely dangerous – not only to the lives of people around the illegal mining area, but also to the illegal miners themselves. Quite a lot of them have died as a result of exposure to mercury,” says Nthite. However, following recommendations from a Human Rights Commission report, various South African government departments and the Mining Council have been working together to stop illegal mining. Nthite says Beech Veltman Incorporated always advises their clients that if there is suspicion of illegal mining, the intelligence gathered should be handed over to government law enforcement agencies to deal with. He also stresses the importance of having a good working relationship with the communities in which the mines operate and to always consider social labour plans that benefit the local population, including training and reskilling. “We advise our clients to have a collaborative approach with the surrounding communities, because if you don’t talk to them or you talk to them via the government, they see you as this outsider who has come to steal their minerals and run away with the exports and money.”
6/5/202335 minutes, 31 seconds
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'Modern regulations help draw investments' with CMS

In this podcast, Alberto Simoes and Bridgett Majola of CMS share their insights on the increasing pace and scale of renewable energy projects in Africa, with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. The good news is that the current upswing in renewable investments in Africa is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Alberto Simoes, a member of the executive team at CMS Africa and partner heading the Lusophone Africa practice, together with Bridgett Majola, a banking and finance lawyer who leads the Project Finance division for Energy and Infrastructure in South Africa, weigh in on the pros and cons of investing in a continent that is rich with renewable energy resources. Africa has 40% of the world’s solar energy potential and huge potential in hydro and wind energy, which is why increasing investment here will contribute greatly to renewable energy and achieve energy transition through sustainable development, says Simoes. However, there are limited financial markets, with the exception of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, which require finance from outside the continent – a trend that Simoes has been seeing. When it comes to Lusophone Africa, he says there has been a concerted international effort to create the conditions required for the development of renewable energy in the five countries. He points out that Angola and Mozambique, which have major potential for producing renewable energy, have attracted more investment in this area compared to the others. “There have been huge efforts to modernise the regulatory framework of these countries. In Angola there has been a recent new private investment law flexibility on the foreign exchange and the possibility of dividend repatriation,” Simoes noted. He is of the view that the government needs to focus on simplifying the licensing of projects which is still a cumbersome issue. Majola highlights that many African countries are able to produce minerals that are vital to producing clean energy, and she has observed a shift from using technology from abroad to local suppliers, partly due to regulations that require this. “I think it will assist with any foreign direct investment that comes in or any offshore producer, to also produce locally, because now it should be easier for them to comply with some of the requirements that made it a bit difficult to manufacture in South Africa or in African countries,” Majola said. She notes that while the local empowerment agenda is being embraced, this isn’t happening at the speed it should. Simoes and Majola also unpack other legal and regulatory obstacles that investors, developers and enterprise managers experience when venturing into renewable energy, and how these challenges can be overcome.
5/30/202329 minutes, 37 seconds
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'Shortfalls in protecting whistleblowers' with Rupert Candy Attorneys Incorporated

Rupert Candy paints a grim picture of the treatment of whistleblowers in South Africa and calls for a greater level of legal protection for them, in this podcast with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. Were it not for the bravery of whistleblowers in the public and private sectors, fraud, corruption and money laundering would cripple the economy and devour the fabric of South African society. Yet not enough is being done to protect these men and women who expose unsavoury criminal activities, says Rupert Candy, Director of Rupert Candy Attorneys Incorporated. While the country’s Protected Disclosures Act (PDA) provides protection for those who fall within a workplace relationship, and protects occupational detriment, he says it fails to expand into the scenarios whistleblowers face in the real world. Candy’s firm is currently representing a group of whistleblowers whose lives are at risk. The employees work for a state-owned entity and had reported the wrongdoing there, but then found themselves being suspended by their employer and dragged to court to face a litany of charges. Candy believes that whistleblowers should be protected from the legal system to prevent them from being harmed and financially ruined to the point where they can no longer afford to stay the course. He says the shortcomings in the PDA could be addressed and changed through a number of mechanisms. “You could expand the list of people to whom a whistleblower may disclose to in the Act. Free counselling is also an option, as are financial support, legal advice, representation, and making people aware through public relations exercises of services provided for whistleblowing. All this can make them feel at ease and be reassured in coming forward because there is that stigma (that whistleblowers are troublemakers),” says Candy. Additionally, South Africa should be looking across its borders to compare what's being done in other jurisdictions to protect whistleblowers. He points out that Ghana, for example, has the Whistleblower Act that affords a number of protections, including legal representation. Candy also discusses the role that civil society and the media play in promoting and protecting whistleblowers. The conversation wraps up with Candy’s advice to anyone who wants to blow the whistle on corruption but is afraid of the potential consequences. “In a South African context, I would say that the state of corruption is almost nearing a point of no return, and blowing the whistle is one of the most effective ways to curb our country from being further damaged. Yes, it's not an easy task to do, but, by stepping forward, it might give others the courage to also report on unethical and criminal behaviour”, he comments.
5/22/202328 minutes, 25 seconds
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Episode 1 of 'Life and Lessons in Law' with James Kamau, Chair, DLA Piper Africa

In this Africa Legal podcast titled Life, Lessons and Law, a new series in partnership with DLA Piper Africa, expert lawyer James Kamau chats to Tom Pearson about legal education in Africa. Even with 30 years’ experience as a corporate and projects lawyer James Kamau, managing partner at Kenyan law firm IKM, and chair of DLA Piper Africa, still considers himself a student of human nature. Kamau wants to share the lessons and skills that he has learned along the way with the new generation of lawyers, who would otherwise find it difficult to break out of the mould. “I've come to realise that the practice of law involves human interactions. It involves a lot more than what I was taught in law school and much more than what I thought when I joined the legal practice 30 years ago,” explained Kamau. “During that time, I had been sharpened to be a courtroom lawyer equipped with legal knowledge, but what I realised was more useful, was how to get a client to trust me with their work.” Kamau’s passion to empower the next generation is evident in his conversation with Tom as he details the challenges the youth of today encounter and offers solutions for overcoming these hurdles. “People who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and marginalised communities cannot access education at the secondary level because they have to drop out of school to help their families. These people have not had an opportunity to join what is considered in Africa to be a prestigious profession, a profession that changes lives and the fortunes not just of individuals, but families and communities,” he says. Other factors that add to this, says Kamau, are the cost of education and the quality of training and mentorship. However, he is confident that a concerted effort in a multi-pronged approach that involves the legal education system, government, the private sector as well as local and international law firms would strengthen the legal practice across Africa. The DLA Piper Headstart Africa programme, in collaboration with DLA Piper Africa, Kenya’s IKM Foundation, is already paving the way in this arena.
5/18/202339 minutes, 4 seconds
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'AfCFTA journey is a marathon not a sprint' with Gikera & Vadgama Advocates (GVA)

In this podcast, Joy Impano of Gikera & Vadgama Advocates shares her insights on all things related to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which aims to create a market for African countries to prosper by engaging in intra-continental trade, has been moving at a slow pace. While 80% of African countries endorsed the agreement last year, only eight of the 44 countries are currently using the AfCFTA to their advantage. Joy Impano, associate at Gikera & Vadgama Advocates (GVA) based in Kenya, says the AfCFTA has the potential to transform trade within the African bloc by promoting economic development, creating jobs and facilitating industrialisation on the continent. However, there have been many challenges which include non-tariff barriers such as customs delays and inadequate customs procedures, cumbersome and bureaucratic regulations, unequal bargaining power and different regulations. In addition, poor quality infrastructure such as roads, railway networks and ports were other practical impediments, says Impano, while also pointing out that these issues were being addressed. “While infrastructure remains a key problem in actualising this dream, we are seeing African countries invest a lot in infrastructure, and so we hope that, over time, this hurdle will be crossed,” she said. Impano believes that technology will play a major role in advancing the AfCTFA, especially for small- and medium enterprises. “Technology certainly can be that silver bullet that we need,” she noted. “One of the challenges the African continent is facing is poor infrastructure and so instead of transporting goods by road (to shops), you could sell them online and access a bigger platform and market. So technology can play a significant role in facilitating trade under these agreement platforms such as e-commerce. Digital payment systems can help simplify and streamline trade processes, reduce transaction costs and improve efficiency in many ways.” In the podcast Impano elaborates on the risks that the AfCFTA can pose when it comes to the economic capacity, infrastructure and competitiveness among countries. The conversation wraps up with Tom and Impano analysing the critical role that lawyers can play when it comes to resolving disputes which are bound to happen as their clients engage in more intra-African trade.
5/15/202321 minutes, 15 seconds
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'Spreading the gospel of arbitration in Africa' - John Ohaga S.C. CArb, FCIArb

In this podcast, John Ohaga, managing partner at TripleOKLaw Advocates, based in Nairobi, Kenya, chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about Africa becoming a renowned seat for arbitration. Widely recognised in Africa and globally for his exemplary work and expertise in dispute resolution, Senior Counsel John Ohaga is well respected when it comes to all things arbitral related. Ohaga, who holds an impressive CV, credits updated arbitration legislation, trained and certified arbitrators, as well as the growth of arbitration institutions in many African countries for having contributed to the utilisation and awareness of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism. He says, given the opportunity, African arbitrators can provide the same skill set and quality of service as their Western and Eastern counterparts. “Practitioners in Europe and the Americas and perhaps across Singapore and Hong Kong have great opportunities to practise arbitration on a more frequent basis and therefore hone their skills. It also means that arbitration institutions are better able to fund the acquisition of infrastructure to have better hearing rooms and other facilities that would make holding an arbitration hearing comfortable, efficient and effective. Africa is playing catch up, because we do not have the same opportunities that practitioners in those jurisdictions have.” Ohaga maintains that there should be a medley of stakeholders who advocate for using an African centre for arbitration. He uses Kenya as a successful example, where the former attorney general issued a memorandum that required every state corporation entering a contractual relationship, to designate the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration as the institution under whose auspices a dispute would be governed in the event any occurred. This move shines the spotlight on the country as a venue and then a seat. Ohaga, who was recently appointed to the board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), says his role is mainly to promote African arbitration and ensure that the ICCA establishes a greater presence on the continent so that it can be globally aligned. He goes on to advise on how one can become a member of ICCA and how another organisation, the African Arbitration Academy, is training the next generation of arbiters. The conversation wraps up with Ohaga discussing key trends that are shaping the future of commercial arbitration, and how the jurisprudence that flows out of courts can define whether or not Africa will be considered a safe seat.
4/18/202337 minutes, 48 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Rehabilitating insolvent corporates' with Gikera & Vadgama Advocates (GVA)

Many businesses in financial difficulties wait until it’s too late to apply for corporate administration. Julie Mulindi, an associate at Gikera and Vadgama Advocates, recently spoke to Tom Pearson about the help that’s available. Corporate insolvency is an important but often ignored area of law that companies should be aware of, because there are times that businesses face difficulties which threaten their financial status, says Julie Mulindi. Poorly managed corporate distress may lead to multiple claims being filed by creditors in court or arbitration. Insolvency law provides reprieve to such claims and an avenue for the proper management of companies that are in distress, to either rescue redeemable companies or liquidate them. Mulindi says many Kenyans are not aware of the corporate rescue mechanisms available before they are forced to shut their doors. Statistics provided by the Kenyan insolvency regulator showed that during the height of Covid-19, when most businesses could have benefitted from corporate rescue mechanisms, there were about 91 liquidations, 22 administrations and no voluntary arrangements. Mulindi attributes the poor uptake of corporate rescue mechanisms to the legacy of Kenya’s previous insolvency legal framework, which only provided for the winding up or liquidation of companies. “Consequently, when most companies run into financial or management troubles, they elect to shut down the business and liquidate the companies instead of incurring more debts.” She also highlighted that the courts have observed that there is a liquidation culture which is still prevalent in Kenya, where the treatment of debts by creditors is punitive and Victorian rather than rehabilitative. Mulindi, however, encourages distressed companies and creditors to consider corporate administration, which gives a lifeline to companies. This is achieved by giving a company breathing space to adjust its affairs and manage creditor claims through a moratorium or a legal ringfence against legal action being taken against the company, to allow it to turn around. “Timing is critical. The sooner a company identifies its indicators of financial distress and takes the right measures and implements clear turnaround plans, the better the chances of survival,” she commented. Mulindi recommends that companies, whether they're in financial distress or not, have good financial reporting, because it's there that the indicators of financial distress can be identified. Mulindi concluded that good corporate governance and engaging a professional, such as a lawyer from Gikera and Vadgama Advocates, as soon as possible will also give a company the chance to resuscitate itself.
4/13/202320 minutes, 55 seconds
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Ubuntu Mental Health Series - 'Burning bright, not out' with Briony Liber

In this podcast, as part of the Ubuntu Mental Health series, Briony Liber chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the journey to burnout and how it can be avoided. Burnout, simply explained, is the emotional and physical depletion of energy that one experiences when they’ve been under chronic workplace stress for a very long time and haven’t managed it. Briony Liber, career- and self-leadership coach, describes a person who is burnt out as someone who has gone through the journey of being highly engaged in their work to being depleted, negative, cynical, withdrawn and not contributing the value that one would want from a high performer. Research, she says, showed that 89% of top managers have reported feeling this way, which means only 11% of top managers are fully engaged in the workplace. All because society and organisations expect professionals, including legal, to work a good hundred hours a week, which is two and half times more than the normal working hours, in order to achieve their targets. “Industry is saying this is acceptable; this is what you need to expect. When you’re trying to meet that at an individual level, you start finding yourself absolutely exhausted. But the narrative is, ‘I’ve got to meet this and I’m an epic failure if I’m not meeting it.’ You kind of get caught up in this vicious cycle of ‘I'm really, really exhausted, but I need to work even harder in order to prove myself’,” she says. Liber reveals that almost every person she has spoken to in the legal industry has talked to her about burnout. “They’ve either been hospitalised because of burnout or they’ve changed careers completely or the direction in terms of the legal work that they do because they’ve burnt out.” She points out that workplaces should have systems in place to prevent their employees from burning out. “I think you have to design your systems to support and enable people to delegate. You have to design and reward the behaviours where leaders and teams are supporting the ethos of ‘We want a sustainable lifestyle here. We don’t want to burn our people out’.” Liber advises that boundaries, as difficult as it may be for an individual, must be set, if their well-being is to be considered. The conversation between Tom and Liber includes her own experience of having suffered burnout twice, and coping mechanisms she employed.
4/4/202328 minutes, 45 seconds
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'Evolving to suit clients' - Alliance Reimagined | Insights Series with Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel and their alliance partner Linklaters offer their associates the opportunity to work temporarily for sister companies. In this mini-podcast series, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Paula Ann Novotny about her secondment to London. Novotny was offered a secondment to Linklaters London and says she wasn't even aware that such opportunities existed when she joined Webber Wentzel, but that the experience she gained from living and working in another country was immensely fulfilling – both professionally and personally. During her time in London, Novotny got to develop and hone her skill set in the field of environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. She found that the way ESG factors into transactions in London and the global north were different compared to back home. “It’s less corporate transactional-based than one would imagine. It’s evolved into a newer line of advisory work, and so it really didn’t have everything to do with the size of the transaction or the scale of the deal, but rather the different types of advice that different company types or organisations need, based also on their differing stakeholder expectations and requirements. There was much for me to learn during my time at Linklaters,” Novotny commented. With the role of lawyers evolving, a key skill she learned was being adaptable to clients' evolving operational environments. “We’re now expected to give a more comprehensive view on risk and opportunity. We’re almost quasi-consultants; the role of lawyers being principally or traditionally risk custodians has evolved into us also being very well-placed to identify opportunities and the different layers of risk. There are multiple risk factors, but those also spin off into opportunities, and so the way we give advice has to be commercially sensible; it has to be sustainable; it has to be adaptable. And all those kinds of skill sets and applying different worldviews and how different stakeholders that operate in different jurisdictions view similar issues or actually have their own contextualised issues, has become very important to how you actually give holistic and meaningful advice to clients,” said Novotny.
3/27/20239 minutes, 57 seconds
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'Becoming a well-rounded lawyer' - Alliance Reimagined | Insights Series with Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel and their alliance partner Linklaters offer their associates the opportunity to work temporarily for sister companies. In this mini-podcast series, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Jimmy Mkhabela about his recent experience in London. Jimmy Mkhabela, partner at leading law firm Webber Wentzel, always knew that he wanted to go on secondment – an opportunity to gain international experience and exposure – he just wasn't sure how it would come about. His dream was further fueled when a colleague at the firm who had been placed on secondment told him if there was one thing he needed to do, that was it. When the opportunity arose for him to apply, Mkhabela didn't think twice, even though he was in the running for a promotion back at the Johannesburg headquarters. While living his secondment dream at Linklaters London, Mkhabela got the added bonus of being made partner at Webber Wentzel. Working on M&A deals in London was not much of a transition from what he presently does at Webber Wentzel, but Mkhabela says the size of the team he worked with was impressive. One of the key learnings from his time in London, says Mkhabela, was the importance of building long lasting relationships. “If you open yourself up to people, they will receive you. And before I knew it, I was already making friends and those friends became my support structure in the office. I found that it’s quite important, that every space that you find yourself in, you actually try to extend yourself to people and build relations, because that may come handy at a later point in time where you least expect it.” Mkhabela has also been inspired to work on more cross-border deals spanning several jurisdictions, like he got to do with Linklaters. With the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement looming large, Mkhabela intends to put his new skills and expertise gleaned, to full use. “Running across different time zones, for me, was the biggest highlight. So I think that has shaped me, in a way, towards what I’ve always wanted to be – a well-rounded lawyer,” he commented.
3/17/202317 minutes, 35 seconds
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'Dispelling misconceptions' - Alliance Reimagined | Insights Series with Webber Wentzel

Secondments are an incredible way to understand different areas of business, structure and work ethic. In this mini-podcast series, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Amaarah Mayet from Webber Wentzel who is currently on secondment at Linklaters London. A law firm that offered international exposure was top of mind for Amaarah Mayet when deciding on a company to join after graduating from law school. Webber Wentzel stood out for her, head and shoulders, because of their alliance with Linklaters. “I don't think any other firms at that time had such an established alliance, and I think Webber Wentzel really was pioneering this type of arrangement. It was also something that I was very interested in, in terms of just expanding my skill set and enhancing the different legal aspects of my career. It was something that played quite a huge role in me deciding where I would want to sort of invest my time,” Mayet explained. Mayet was the first junior lawyer at Webber Wentzel to go on secondment, and she says the experience has been fulfilling and enjoyable. “One of the most important things for me is that because I come from a litigation background, I had this misconception that if I was qualified in litigation in South Africa, I didn't think that it would be something that I could do in another jurisdiction. Dispelling the misconception has been so eye-opening because I've realised that the skills that you learn are actually quite transferable. It’s not as limiting as I had initially thought.” Mayet says there are many opportunities that can be gained from an international secondment, and one of them is thinking at a global level. “Being exposed to the complexity and the variety of work that is out there definitely inspires me to want to reach to do more cross- and multi-jurisdictional work. I think for me personally, being on a secondment made me feel a little bit more comfortable in my role in terms of adding value to a team at any level,” she said.
3/9/202316 minutes, 46 seconds
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'A perfect alliance across professions' with Alliott Global Alliance

Alliott Global Alliance is rapidly expanding their footprint in Africa. In this podcast, Giles Brake, CEO of Alliott Global Alliance, and Stephen Gitonga, partner and founder of Gitonga Mureithi & Company Advocates, share their back story and vision for the future with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. Inspired by the need to provide more than just accounting and tax services to their growing list of clientele, Alliott Global Alliance (AGA) has evolved into one of the largest multidisciplinary alliances of professional firms. CEO of the alliance, Giles Brake attributes this to the synergy between accounting and law firms, which has presented opportunities to collaborate on day to day compliance, tax, private wealth and major international deals. “The reason it worked and clicked is because law firms face many of the same challenges as accounting firms which have clients who are expanding all the time. I think both professions saw huge opportunities to collaborate and to cross refer in terms of the business model,” says Brake. Firms that are part of the alliance meet a strict criteria, Brake adds. In return, they gain significant value by being able to tap into a global resource base, ultimately putting their clients into a safe pair of hands with a non-competing firm that they trust. While AGA’s roots were tightly established more than four decades ago, and its association with law firms began in 2004, its push into Africa was part of an accelerated growth plan that started to kick into action about five years ago. In 2018 Stephen Gitonga, partner and founder of Gitonga Mureithi & Company Advocates joined AGA. This was after the Kenyan-based law firm sought to team up with an international network to boost their global offering. Gitonga says AGA was the perfect fit. “We did not just want an alliance for business, but one that would work for us in terms of training, the sharing of expertise, and the opportunity to collaborate on regional and global tenders, for example. To us, one of the biggest selling points of AGA was the exclusivity you get in your jurisdiction, and that for us was quite appealing,” he noted. Both Brake and Gitonga elaborate on the mutual benefit for the alliance’s accounting and law firms, a unique combination that's really attractive for a progressive international company. Brake says AGA’s vision for the near future is to continue expanding organically throughout the continent. “We need to maintain this growth trajectory that we're on. It's easy to say bigger isn't always better, but I think it is in our case, and I think being bigger will increase the opportunities for our members and of course for their clients as well. That means, however, having the right firms in the right jurisdictions that can meet the growing needs of clients. Everybody knows that Africa has huge promise as an investment location, and some of the markets in Africa are very large. So we need to be there.”
2/27/202335 minutes, 37 seconds
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'Breaking down barriers' - Alliance Reimagined | Insights Series with Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel and their alliance partner Linklaters offer their associates the opportunity to work temporarily for sister companies. In this mini-podcast series, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Eamon Alsaffar and Archie Prew who are on secondment at Webber Wentzel in Johannesburg. Eamon Alsaffar had a choice of being seconded from Linklaters London to Paris, Singapore or South Africa. He chose the latter as he was eager to immerse himself in the country’s culture and experience what it’s like to be one of the locals there. Alsaffar says he has already benefited from the social skills gained from friendly interactions. “In terms of career development, I think what has been the most tested is definitely the social skills you will show. You learn a lot about how to interact with people. In South Africa in particular, people are incredibly friendly. Just picking up on those soft skills can then be transferred in a more sort of micro context on a day to day basis in terms of your career,” he commented. He has also been pleasantly surprised by the approachability of colleagues at all levels at Webber Wentzel. “I have no issues walking into a very senior partner's office and making conversation with him and knowing that they are equally engaged in that. In London, things are a bit more hierarchical. When I go back, that's something I can try to help implement or encourage because it makes working easier,” noted Alsaffar. Archie Prew, who is also on secondment at Webber Wentzel from Linklaters, said he would not have worked for a law firm that did not offer international exposure. The advantage of the work exchange program, Prew says, is taking one out of their comfort zone. “Having to go into a new firm, learn a new culture, then meet new people, forces you to adapt quicker, to improve your teamwork, communication and also see different types of work. So I think that all of these benefits rolled into one is just a fantastic thing to be able to experience and is only going to help me going forward in my new career,” Prew commented.
2/21/202317 minutes, 13 seconds
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Shaping business according to ESG principles with ALN

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are trending right across Africa. In this podcast, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson speaks to members of ALN Nigeria and ALN Kenya to explore how mergers and acquisitions and corporate transaction trends are shaping business. A robust legal and regulatory premise for ESG, in addition to businesses taking the initiative more seriously, is fast evolving, explain Ajibola Asolo and Adeolu Idowu from Aluko & Oyebode | ALN Nigeria. Asolo says there are a number of regulations which apply to companies in Nigeria. “The principal legislation that applies to corporates in Nigeria, the Companies and Allied Matters Act, imposes a duty on directors to ensure that they act in the best interest of companies, and that companies have due regard to the environment and communities in which the operations are based.” In addition, Asolo notes that there are guidelines issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Nigeria that set out broad principles and recommendations pertaining to sustainable finance. These guidelines essentially mandate all of the Commission’s regulatees to report on the progress relating to the implementation of ESG principles in their annual reports, among other things. Asolo also points out that the Petroleum Industry Act, which covers companies in the energy space, sets out regulatory imperatives designed to ensure that companies operating in this space meet the requisite health, safety, and environmental standards. Dominic Rebelo, partner at Anjarwalla & Khanna | ALN Kenya, shares his insights on the regulatory environment in the East African region. He says Kenya should be one of the leaders on the continent – and potentially globally – in terms of environmental protection. “We had a new Constitution in 2010 which was one of its kind in that it entrenched environmental protection in its preamble, where it states specifically that the people of Kenya are determined to sustain the environment for future generations. And then in the body of the Constitution itself, it gives as a fundamental right, the right to a clean and healthy environment for every person in Kenya. So that's a huge right to be given under the Constitution. It applies to everybody living in Kenya and then obligates the government to put in place the protections required to ensure that their right is met,” says Rebelo. Rebelo adds that legislation like the Climate Change Act and the Energy Act has pushed the country to generate power from more green resources. Idowu reckons that there is a global focus on renewable energy, and whether in the environmental, social or governance space, it's just good business to have strong ESG practices and to create a structure that embeds as many of the principles as possible. With Nigeria having the highest volume of M&A in the finance, energy and petroleum sector, particularly in mining and utilities, she explains why major oil and gas companies are divesting of their onshore assets.
1/18/202346 minutes, 17 seconds
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'Protection in a cyber world' - with CMS And Zaakir Mohamed

In this podcast, Zaakir Mohamed, a partner at CMS, chats to Africa Legal’s Thomas Pearson about why cyber security and compliance go hand in hand. Africa is in the midst of a rapid digital transformation, and that brings with it the possibility for some businesses to be cyber hacked. It is critical that organisations ensure compliance with the relevant data privacy legislation across the jurisdictions in which they operate, to safeguard both sensitive client information and the business’s reputation. Zaakir Mohamed, Head of Corporate Investigations & Forensics and specialist in Corporate Governance & Compliance and Data Protection & Privacy at South Africa-based law firm CMS, says the failure to comply with such legislation can expose an organisation to significant regulatory risk. This may include administrative or other sanctions that may be issued by a regulatory body, as well as significant reputational risk for the organisation. Mohamed says organisations need to understand what the legislation requires of them. They need to consider the nature of their respective operations in order to best decide how to implement appropriate data, privacy and cybersecurity measures that will ultimately strike the right balance between ensuring regulatory compliance, as well as having the right cybersecurity measures and tools to meaningfully protect themselves from cybersecurity and data privacy risks. He lists three stumbling blocks to organisations trying to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, the first relating to employee behaviour because they are the first line of defence when it comes to cybercrime. Mohamed says a company may have the best cybersecurity tools possible, but if employees lack an understanding of what cybersecurity risk is, and what behaviour is expected of them in order to mitigate these risks, it could create significant vulnerabilities. He shares his insights on South Africa’s Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS) and whether it is enough to keep up with the speed of ever-changing technology. He says whilst these standards are of critical national importance, they cannot be looked at in isolation. “We can have world class pieces of legislation and standards, but if they’re not used effectively, they’re absolutely meaningless.” Mohamed points out that while regulatory notification obligations when reporting a breach may differ according to jurisdictions, the commonality in most of them is to report to the data privacy regulator as soon as possible. “But then you've got some legislation that attaches a specific time period to that which could be within 72 hours,” he said, explaining that having an incident response team is important. The enlightening discussion wraps up with Mohamed talking about why data privacy is not just about regulatory compliance
12/21/202238 minutes, 37 seconds
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'The ever-changing CTI Landscape' with Webber Wentzel

In this vidcast, Webber Wentzel’s team of competition, trade and investment (CTI) experts share some valuable knowledge and insights. The vidcast – hosted by Yael Shafrir, a trade and investment lawyer at Webber Wentzel specialising in Africa FDI and the AfCFTA, in collaboration with Africa Legal – focuses on foreign direct investment trends, public interest considerations for merger filings, key policy developments and investment promotion across the African continent. Key for any investor looking at investing in a foreign country is a broad understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape. Sarah McKenzie, a specialist in international and domestic commercial and treaty arbitration as well as regulatory, international trade and commercial litigation, unpacks the investor due diligence that needs to be considered. Factors such as understanding the law in relation to the investment protection available if something goes wrong, as well as understanding applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties are some of the topics that McKenzie addresses. Burton Phillips, an expert in all aspects of competition law, discusses the type of public interest considerations being imposed in merger filings. He says there have been a significant number of developments recently, pointing to the Act, which necessitates investors considering both competition and public interest factors relevant to mergers and acquisitions. Phillips cites the Burger King merger as one where public interest factors resulted in an initial prohibition of the transaction. He mentions that public interest factors are now considered on par with competition factors, resulting in competition practitioners becoming public interest lawyers. A notable trend in merger approvals, says Phillips, is the employment factor, which continues to evolve, and ownership by historically disadvantaged persons and workers, both of which should be looked into at the due diligence stage. Matthew Pool, a senior associate in the firm’s CTI team and highly experienced in general trade advisory, shares his insights of the policy areas that the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) is looking into. He says from an industrial policy perspective, employment and investment are the top two. The International Trade Administration Commission and the DTIC want to know that applicants are committed to investment in the South African and Southern African Customs Union economies. Pool says in the case of a tariff increase, commitments regarding job creation or retention in specified categories such as youth employment, investments in capital expenditure, investment in skills development, and training and support participation in manufacturing by small businesses, must be considered. Shafrir chats to the panellists about the current status of the investment protocol under the African Free Trade Continental Area (AfCFTA) as well the key sectors that are prioritised by the Secretariat. Among them are automotive and affordable mobility, agribusiness and agro processing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, transport and logistics.
12/8/202237 minutes, 49 seconds
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'Unlocking the modern mining lawyer - General Counsel Forum 2023' with Daniel Driscoll

In this podcast, Daniel Driscoll, a legal expert in the mining and extractives industry, chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the state of play among in-house lawyers and what to look forward to at the 2023 General Counsel Forum Mining Indaba. General counsel (GC) are grappling with the legal implications of several macroeconomic challenges facing the mining industry, such as inflation, continued supply chain disruption and uncertainty in global markets. Daniel Driscoll, who will be chairing the upcoming Mining Indaba, spoke to Pearson about how these risks are affecting mining companies, and the types of legal issues that have been keeping GC awake at night in 2022. “We’ve seen several mining companies either go private or shrink substantially in size, but also companies that were looking at an Initial Public Offering (IPO) have had to delay those plans.” And while the economic downturn has resulted in general job losses, legal departments have been relatively safe because the headwinds facing the mining industry are keeping legal departments busy as they work through the knock-on legal implications. Driscoll then discusses some of the unique Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges faced by mining companies operating in Africa. Mining has a significant impact on the local communities living close to the mine, and these impacts are increasingly being raised as human rights issues, he explains. He says good ESG practices must be woven through the DNA of the organisation and everyone has to be doing their bit. Pearson steers the conversation towards what the modern in-house lawyer wants from their business. According to Driscoll, senior lawyers want an organisation that values quality legal advice and empowers the GC to deliver value for money. Gen Z lawyers are looking for roles that provide the opportunity to grow, coupled with the same aspirations as their seniors. Mental health in the legal industry remains a critically important topic, and Driscoll shares some tips for avoiding burnout and promoting well-being in high-performing legal teams. The conversation concludes with Pearson and Driscoll discussing what can be expected from the upcoming Mining Indaba in Cape Town in early February 2023, which they are eagerly anticipating. At the indaba, there will be a dedicated segment for mining GC to discuss the unique challenges they face, as well as opportunities for networking. If you are an in-house legal compliance or risk lawyer working or interested in the African mining sector, then check out the Investing in African Mining Indaba website. Click Register. Choose the General Counsel track, and it will grant you complimentary access to the event.
12/7/202234 minutes, 59 seconds
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'Dominance Across Africa' with Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe

In this podcast, three associates from Nigerian-based full service law firm Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe (DOA), chat to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the firm’s strategy on internationalising its practice. You can never over emphasise the importance of leveraging relationships, says Tobiloba Awosika, a key member of DOA’s banking and finance, mergers and acquisition practice team. Linking up with lawyers, parties, financiers and investors globally, has been part of DOA’s master plan to best serve their clients as the firm focuses on its expansion outside Nigeria. Awosika says while there is an even split of clientele wanting to invest both in and out of Africa, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement has resulted in a spotlight shining in the direction of the continent. It's the large underserved market in Africa that has resulted in everyone wanting to get a piece of the pie, she says. Samuel Abu, a member of the firm’s corporate and commercial practice working in telecommunication, media, and technology (TMT), IP and private equity, reaffirms the company’s commitment to partnerships. He talks about how DOA is collaborating with other top law firms to ensure excellent client service. Abu says creating a three-way channel between DOA, their client, and a like-minded foreign law firm has proved successful in getting quality services. Melody Ibegbulam, another member of the corporate and commercial department, shares her insights on client behaviour with Tom. Ibegbulam says that with the use of technology, clients want to reach as many consumers as they can. This does not necessarily mean that the law firm representing them needs to have physical offices in those countries. “When you have clients wanting to expand, legal services will be their first point of call. You want to make sure that you've covered all their legal bases and they are not doing anything that is illegal in those countries. I think it's very comforting for them to know that they can come to a firm like DOA,” she says. The conversation leads to a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and the likelihood of machines replacing the work done by lawyers. While Abu says AI would not entirely replace transactional work, he believes in a decade from now, the collaboration between both parties will be truly immense. The discussion wraps up with Awosika talking about DOA’s investment in its young talent at the firm.
11/29/202227 minutes, 59 seconds
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'Specialist Law Firm of the Year' with Lopes Attorneys Inc

Passion paired with analytical thinking is what turned Lopes Attorneys Inc. into an award-winning firm to be reckoned with. In this podcast, the firm’s managing director, Rui Lopes, chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about the niche services offered. Top of mind for specialist lawyer Rui Lopes when he opened the firm Lopes Attorneys Inc, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, two years ago, was what would set his practice apart from other law companies operating in an already saturated market. The answer was to move in the direction of a boutique law firm, one in which he would specialise in areas such as ESG compliance, anti-bribery and corruption, data protection, dispute resolutions, a specific sectoral focus in pharmaceuticals, health care, cannabis, finance, and an area not many law firms cover – animal welfare. Lopes points out that there are very few firms in the country that know about animal welfare being a subset of the law, let alone which practise it. That sparked his journey around a realisation that there is a need for such a specialisation, and this became one of the firm’s hallmarks. The enlightening discussion on animal welfare and why everyone should pay attention to the law, is a theme that runs throughout the podcast between Lopes and Pearson. The conversation subsequently steers towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, another of the firm’s specialities. Lopes says it is important to ensure that we look after the environment as we shift towards a just transition from a climate change perspective, by making sure that we conserve our world and prevent biological or ecological degradation. “We need to ask ourselves the question: Why should we care if a company or an organisation is conducting itself in an environmentally friendly or sustainable way? The simple answer to that question is: What is the impact of what we’ve done today going to be? It's not only about now and today. It’s about next year, in five years and in 20 years’ time.” He cautions against organisations that are not ESG compliant, saying they face the risk of not being included in the “ESG economy”. Lopes also shares his vision for the firm, which includes having an international footprint. “What I see in the next three to five years is an expansion of our office in Cape Town. We’re currently in discussions with a number of firms across Africa, in creating a network of go-to firms that resonate and are in sync with the service offering that we do.”
11/23/202246 minutes, 53 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Pondering Project Finance with CMS

In this podcast, Bridgett Majola, partner at award winning law firm CMS, engages in an enlightening discussion on the new wave of electricity supply, with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. South Africans frustrated by load shedding will be happy to hear that the legal experts at CMS are doing all they can to ensure the energy crisis in the country becomes a thing of the past. The foremost law firm helped bring to financial close two private solar energy deals that will pave the way for a more reliable supply of electricity. The deal comes on the back of the new energy regulatory environment that lifted the licence limit for electricity distribution generation. Bridgett Majola, together with her dynamic team in the Banking and Finance Department at CMS, advised the Development Bank of South Africa, as an equity player, to secure two independent power-producing projects, the first of their kind in South Africa. Majola told Tom that this was a significant move in that it allowed for private individuals to build their own power supply. Mining companies of different commodities have shown interest as well, she said. “There are lots of people trying to take advantage of the fact that there’s an opportunity for them to take control of their own power supply.” Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) are among those who are seizing the opportunities. Majola said financing for the power plants was quite competitive and DFIs were participating more formally rather than just providing significant funding. “They have set structures and different funds within their own divisions to be responsible for the implementation of either focusing on the infrastructure or scaling it up.” She added that DFIs were also looking into other jurisdictions such as Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique. “I think they’re always looking at opportunities to support different countries in different ways, whether it’s from an infrastructure perspective or from a power generation, transmission or distribution perspective.” Shifting the conversation towards the project financing landscape, Majola said there was a lot of involvement at fund level, with commercial banks also added to the mix when it came to infrastructure development.
10/26/202223 minutes, 19 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Legal tradition Meets Dynamism with August Hill & Associates

Augustine Hamwela and Layeni Phiri, managing partners at August Hill and Associates, highlight the firm’s strategy to connect African businesses with international partners in this podcast with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. “A top law firm that delivers world class solutions to both everyday and complex matters.” That has been the goal of trusted allies Augustine Hamwela and Layeni Phiri ever since they teamed up in the midst of the pandemic to create their full service law firm, August Hill and Associates, based in Lusaka, Zambia. With their experience locally and in the international legal arenas, the pair have crafted bold plans to offer attractive modern solutions for their clients, while maintaining a traditional ethos. Phiri told Pearson that their firm is unlike those that have a rudimentary structure. “Many law firms in Zambia have Chinese walls – one partner does one thing, the other partner does the other. They've got different clients and they only share maybe expenses, and that's how many law firms have gotten along. But we thought we could try something different. We wanted to encompass all our clients' needs, and be a one stop shop. What you want, what you need, we can provide,” he said. Among the attributes that has set Phiri and Hamwela apart is their client centric approach. Rather than reading out the law to their clients, they provide tailor-made solutions. The firm’s unique selling point is to advise Zambian companies with international or pan-African aspirations, and international businesses with regional aspirations. “So we in the firm have a fair understanding of the laws and regulations right across the globe in a number of sectors where our clients play. And because of that niche that we have, we are in a unique position to give advice not only to Zambian clients who want to foray into other jurisdictions, but also to international clients who want to come into Zambia or who want to do business in other African markets where we have plenty of networks,” explained Hamwela. The managing partners believe their advice to clients will motivate strategic changes, including where to set up new operations. In the podcast, Phiri also passionately discusses why he thinks the Zambian legal system, which has closely mirrored the United Kingdom’s, needs to be revolutionised. The guests wrap up their conversation with Pearson by sharing their insights on Zambia’s upbeat political climate under President Hakainde Hichilema.
9/30/202239 minutes, 2 seconds
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'Respectful partnerships are fruitful' with RPC and Shai Wade

RPC law firm’s celebrated arbitrator Shai Wade and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson recently returned from a trip to South Africa. In this podcast, Wade shares his observations and provides insights into the world of arbitration and the firm’s broader strategy. There’s no doubt that Shai Wade, Head of International Arbitration at law firm RPC, relished his visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, where Africa Legal and the UK Ministry of Justice, under the umbrella of the GREAT Legal Services Campaign, recently held a series of events. For Wade, the key take away from the roundtable discussions is the importance of respectful partnerships when collaborating with colleagues in Africa. “I learned a great deal from the discussions, and from hearing what people liked and disliked most about working with international law firms when they have international matters,” he says. With collaboration between RPC and African law firms dating back more than 20 years, Wade says maintaining good relations has been their key strategy. As an arbitrator, he is also familiar with what works best for a particular jurisdiction, and shares his perspective on why it makes sense for a lawyer from an African region to lead a case pertaining to their country rather than a colleague who isn’t from that region. Wade and Pearson discuss some key global trends that Africa has mirrored, one of them being the issue of diversity, and how this is being carefully considered in the context of tribunals and in advocacy teams. Having a local arbitrator. or one that has expertise in a particular area. helps the tribunal find the correct answer for the circumstances it’s facing, says Wade, highlighting that the law can be applied harshly if it is taken out of the correct context. He points out that the other noticeable international trend which is lively in Africa, is the introduction and enthusiasm for regional arbitral institutions. “That is something which we have seen developed with great success in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE – Dubai in particular – and is emerging in Africa as well.” Wade says a robust and stable legal framework, as well as good legal services and hearing facilities are important elements that support the arbitral system. He also shared with Pearson his view on why clients prefer to go through arbitration rather than litigation, narrowing it down to time and cost. Moving the focus to RPC, Wade says they’re known to be a “conflict-free firm and a disputes powerhouse” which fits aptly into their company’s strategy. “Our conflict-free strategy means that we actively do not engage with the panels of international investment banks. We are not on their panels, and we are not on the panels of many of the major energy firms or infrastructure firms of the multinational construction companies, and so we are free to sue them.” The enlightening conversation ends with Wade offering advice to aspirant arbitrators.
9/28/202243 minutes, 47 seconds
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'Waving the ESG Flag' with Warren Beech

ESG has become a vital cog in the extractives and renewables industry. In this podcast, mining expert Warren Beech tells Tom Pearson why this is so. Historically, when it came to the mining of natural resources in Africa, returns on investment were top of mind for shareholders. That has now changed, with more companies paying closer attention to the environment, social and governance (ESG) aspects, says Warren Beech, a highly accomplished and widely acknowledged mining, natural resources and infrastructure specialist at Beech Veltman Inc. Beech says investors have come to realise the power held by the communities in which they extract resources, as these communities often determine the success of a project. He adds that if ESG is properly embraced, it has long term benefits across the spectrum, but cautioned against looking at it from a scorecard approach. Beech says governance is equally as important as the environmental and social components. “It's sometimes left behind, not only at investor or mining company level, but also at governmental level, where governments do not implement transparent governance and regulatory structures, and that's a concern,” he commented. He advises investors to take a nuanced approach by considering the E, S and G aspects separately before doing so collectively, to make an informed decision. Beech believes that CEOs should be responsible for a company’s ESG agenda. “The face and the voice and the narrative is always the chief executive officer. You need to listen to the CEO, supported by his or her board members and the role players, including the head of sustainability, the head of legal, head of risk, etc. For me, the CEO sets the tone, and if the narrative is not clear and it is not supported by all the key stakeholders, then it's difficult to understand what a company's ESG commitment is,” said Beech. The mining expert raises concern that while ESG is trending globally, there is a risk of the acronym becoming a buzzword that’s just bandied about. “ESG, when applied properly, plays a vital role in growth, development and the longevity of a business, to the benefit of all stakeholders. It's important for the health of the business and for the sustainable future of any business. “The biggest risk is that everybody is now trying to get on board because it is perceived as the current trend rather than a key component of a successful, sustainable business. I think we need to just go back to basics, look at the three components and report on those and show compliance in a comprehensive way.” The conversation wraps up with Beech’s insights into South Africa’s energy crisis, the impact that has on ESG compliance, and the broader commitment to the energy transition towards a green economy. He sadly admitted that coal, considered “dirty energy”, will probably be around longer than expected, forcing a review of the timelines set to drastically reduce emissions by 2030, even though some mining companies are committed to sustainability and making the costly move to cleaner energy.
9/21/202231 minutes, 9 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast in partnership with Webber Wentzel - Africa's 'Spider's Web' of Trade

In this podcast, Webber Wentzel’s Daryl Dingley and Judge David Unterhalter share their insights on the current trading and global influences in Africa with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. The multiplicity of trade agreements and policies in Africa can best be described as a spider’s web, says Daryl Dingley, who heads the Competition,Trade and Investment (CTI) practice at Webber Wentzel. Dingley noted that one of the shortcomings of having numerous regional and institutional bodies, is the inability of African countries to identify the parties in their trade policies. Webber Wentzel can advise governments on these and how to deal with the overlapping nature of the various agreements, he said. Other areas in which they can offer their expertise are in inter-regional trade, customs, regimes, procedures, insufficient infrastructure and the free movement of people. “To achieve the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), for example, and to achieve a liberal trade regime, it's very important that we address some of those issues,” said Dingley. Judge Unterhalter, a South African High Court judge, has served on a number of World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panels. He pointed out that African countries marginally benefitted from historic trade relationships with their erstwhile colonial counterparts. Unterhalter believes that if the aims of the AfCFTA are recognised, developed and realised, it will bring great advantages to the continent. He cautioned, however, that this must be coupled with significant institutional investment, as well as political will from all member states. In the podcast, Unterhalter delves into what he sees as the future-focused role of the WTO and the economic war between China and the US which, he says, is a key variable not just in trade, but in all areas of global life. The guests discuss the impact of the power rivalry between the two countries, their foreign policies and trade in other nations. Unterhalter comments that in some ways it's at the risk of having to make choices, particularly between the US and China. “Africa wants good relationships with both, and being forced to choose is not helpful. I think there are many opportunities, though, to foster relationships with both in a way that is ultimately in Africa's interests.” Dingley says there is definitely a scramble for investment in Africa, with the Chinese ahead with regard to infrastructure development and spend, while the Americans are throwing their support behind renewables and agriculture. Dingley and Unterhalter also talk about the ways major economic and politically similar African countries could form alliances to take advantage of the benefits of the continent. The conversation wraps up with the guests looking at how AfCFTA would enable streamlining and the adoption of competition rules across the continent, which has previously seemed arduous and complex.
9/7/202251 minutes, 22 seconds
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Ministry of Justice Podcast - 'Just Jump In!' with Shelagh Rule

In this episode of our podcast series focusing on multi-qualified lawyers, Shelagh Rule, partner at Webber Wentzel, shares her journey and views on being a triple qualified lawyer with Tom Pearson. Shelagh Rule is armed with qualifications from South Africa, the United Kingdom and New York in the United States, so she’s a triple threat indeed. Having earned her LLB at Wits University in South Africa, she was sitting for her masters degree at the University of Edinburgh when the opportunity arose for her to take the New York bar exam through the Barbri program. Rule was able to study for it alongside her masters and ended up with two new arrows in her quiver. Rule, an expert in venture capital and private equity, said being qualified in multiple jurisdictions was highly beneficial for both the client and the lawyer, especially since work then does not have to be outsourced. “You are able to advise in multiple jurisdictions and fully deliver on mandates that span multiple legal jurisdictions and multiple legal systems. It's invaluable when you work in a team that you not only understand the requirements of the jurisdiction you're working in, but also the requirements of the other teams that you are working with,” she said. Another plus is being able to manage client expectations, save on costs and improve efficiencies. She also pointed out that holding more than one qualification provided more opportunities. “You get to work on deals you wouldn't normally have the chance to work on. You get to see how transactions are run in jurisdictions all over the world. And, again, you can learn so much from that,” said Rule. Her counsel to her younger self and other aspirant lawyers considering multiple qualifications is, “Don't be scared to jump in as soon as you can.” This podcast series is a collaboration with the UK Ministry of Justice and GREAT Legal Services in partnership with Africa Legal in the lead up to our event in Johannesburg on 31 August, focusing on Law at an International Level.
8/26/202212 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ministry of Justice Podcast - 'Stay hungry and you’ll succeed' with Dr. Gabriel Onagoruwa

Law at an international level is the focus of the collaborative event being held by the UK Ministry of Justice, GREAT Legal Services and Africa Legal on 31 August. In this podcast, Dr Gabriel Onagoruwa chats to Tom Pearson about why being a dual qualified lawyer gives you the upper hand. Dr Gabriel Onagoruwa’s journey to becoming a dual qualified lawyer began when he was at university. The Nigerian-born Chair of Finance and Project Development at Olaniwun Ajayi, London, said back then he had already set his sights on working for the best law firm in the world and researched what it took to become a top lawyer. Onagoruwa then modeled his future along the profiles of the lawyers he read about on the internet, who happened to look nothing like him. He pursued his goal of taking his education beyond Nigeria, and completed his Masters at the University of Cambridge. Talking about the benefits of being conversant in Nigerian and English law, Onagoruwa said, “It gives me a background where I know some of the pressing issues from the Nigerian point of view, and when I'm advising on English law, I know what kind of questions I should be asking the local counsel. You become more marketable when you are a lawyer who is practicing English law having qualified in Nigeria.” He says being dual qualified is particularly useful in the finance sector. “The need for Africa today is around the development space. The hope is that Africa would rise, and therefore financing will continue to be a pivotal area of law for Africa. Having English law, knowledge, experience and qualifications just puts you in a good place. Most of the law in countries like Nigeria was fashioned on the English law which today is the law of global finance.” Onagoruwa’s advice to aspiring lawyers considering dual qualification is, “Stay hungry, keep an open mind and go for what you want.”
8/23/202219 minutes, 56 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Relentless In Pursuit of Excellence' with Anjarwalla & Khanna | ALN Kenya

ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khanna has cemented its position as a leading full service law firm in Africa. In this podcast, co-managing partners Rosa Nduati-Mutero and Daniel Ngumy speak to Tom Pearson about the changes that have taken place in the firm and the ALN alliance. Exciting moves have been made at ALN, an alliance of top law firms in Africa, which recently incorporated Nigerian powerhouse Aluko & Oyebode into their fold. Rosa says the rationale behind the expansion, for both ALN and ALN Kenya, was to augment and demonstrate the “One Region, One Vision, One ALN” integrated offering, making it easier to sell local knowledge with international expertise to cross-border clients. One recent addition to the ALN Kenya team is Tax Associate Director James Karanja, an experienced grants management and compliance specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the international trade and development industry. Daniel describes James’s appointment as invaluable to their capacity to offer international tax advice, “particularly where the revenue authorities across the countries that we work with are looking at transfer pricing disputes and to bring depth of knowledge in terms of capacity building within the various member firms,” he said. “James joining us, particularly focusing on international tax matters and transfer pricing, has been quite a coup.” While the collaboration with Aluko & Oyebode and James’s association with the firm is celebrated, Rosa and Daniel’s meritocratic partnership has also been hailed. Rosa points out that they have perhaps one of the most diverse partnerships on the continent, which includes 26 partners, representing about seven nationalities. “Diversity is really the key to success in today’s world,” she says, elaborating on how this is implemented. Daniel adds that much effort is being made to build a Pan-African law firm which provides integrated business solutions across Africa, while attracting and retaining top talent. “We are seeing that being represented by some of the strategic hires that we have begun doing.” Rosa is passionate about the environment and creating a circular economy, and the conversation wraps up with her talking about the firm’s corporate social responsibility offering and the case study they have created on the successful elimination of single use plastics within a specific region.
8/22/202231 minutes, 23 seconds
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Ministry of Justice Podcast - 'A qualification you won’t regret' with Michael Strain

Internationalising your practice by qualifying in multiple jurisdictions will be a focal point at the upcoming conference hosted by the UK Ministry of Justice and GREAT Legal Services in partnership with Africa Legal. In this podcast Michael Strain chats to Tom Pearson on why being dual qualified matters. Michael Strain, partner and Head of Corporate/M&A at Clyde & Co in East Africa took a rather unusual route to becoming dual qualified. He had already been practising corporate law in London when he got the opportunity to build the firm’s regional office in Tanzania some ten years ago. He progressed his Tanzanian admission as soon as he could, including an oral examination before law school professors and senior members of the judiciary. The outcome was Strain holding qualifications from both England and Tanzania. He told Tom that he felt privileged to have been able to qualify in Tanzania, and that being versed in both jurisdictions set him apart from many other Africa-focused M&A lawyers. “Having an additional qualification, and in particular a qualification from England and Wales, is super helpful, not just in terms of the work that you can physically do, but also in terms of the optics that it shows to clients. It shows that you are indeed international.” Being dual qualified, Strain says, means being able to seamlessly assist clients based on familiarity with the legislation in a particular country, instead of going back and forth from the negotiating table to find answers. He found this to be especially useful when representing clients in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), his area of expertise, where deals are often governed by English law but have many important local nuances. In the podcast Strain elaborates on the benefits of having multiple qualifications and ends the conversation with this advice for young African M&A lawyers with a qualification in their home jurisdictions, and who are considering the England and Wales qualification: “Just do it. It's an investment that will certainly pay off.”
8/19/202218 minutes, 50 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Never stop building' with Joshua Daranijo

In this podcast, Joshua Daranijo, Managing Partner at Allen & Brooks, and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson discuss how the law firm flourished during the global lockdown. Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria are unable to survive the first five years in business because they do not have the necessary legal support to thrive in one of the fastest-growing African economies. This scenario spurred Joshua Daranijo and a group of colleagues to set up Allen & Brooks – an integrated firm of legal practitioners and business consulting experts. Founded amid the pandemic, Daranijo says they rode on the wave of chaos brought on by the coronavirus. For the first six months, Allen & Brooks was run remotely, proving that you don’t have to be in a brick-and-mortar space to work effectively. They successfully gained their first set of clientele working completely virtually till after the first quarter of 2021. “We did not see the need to have physical meetings with clients and we had to prove to them that they could still get the best of services. Now we have even resorted to a hybrid system where we have some time in the office and most of the other times working from home or wherever we are in the world because we were able to successfully convince our clients. They have seen that deliverables can still be delivered with the best quality, even though you haven't met me more than once or twice,” he said. Daranijo talks of how Allen & Brooks was keen to claim a market share among start ups, SMEs and conglomerates which were already among their clients. He also addressed the need for businesses to embrace technological integration. “The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that if you are in any business and you haven't figured out how to integrate technology, you have not succeeded. So we are making sure that in every business we are involved with, we help with advice on technological integration. We are not just lawyers, we are business savvy lawyers, and what that comes with is the understanding that we must find a way to make sure, no matter your business model, that we can eliminate waste, increase productivity and, most importantly, make it easier to do business.” He elaborated on the roles the firm could play in the various sectors including fintech, proptech, regulatory relations and government compliance, and offered an interesting take on why the burgeoning entertainment industry in Nigeria would benefit from their legal offerings. Daranijo also shared profound advice he would give to his younger self, using the analogy of running a marathon and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which Tom finds insightful and relatable. The dialogue wraps up with Daranijo highlighting the traits and skills required for other young Nigerians to be successful in business.
8/15/202222 minutes, 28 seconds
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Ministry of Justice Podcast - 'Dual qualification expands opportunities' with Njeri Wagacha

Africa Legal, in partnership with the UK Ministry of Justice and GREAT Legal Services, is hosting a series of events in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 31 August 31 to 1 September, with the theme being Law at an International Level. In this podcast, Tom Pearson chats to Njeri Wagacha on the benefits of being a dual qualified African lawyer. The road to being able to practise in more than one jurisdiction was a long and winding one for Njeri Wagacha, bilingual corporate partner at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) incorporating Kieti Law LLP, but she is now reaping the benefits. She did her first degree, an LLB, in England, qualified as a solicitor in London, fitted in an LLM somewhere in between, then returned to Kenya and got certified as an advocate. The reward for being well versed in both the UK and Kenyan law, says Njeri, is being able to deliver on mandates which span and interact with both systems. “Kenyan law emanates from UK law in terms of the Commonwealth jurisprudence and precedents, and so transitioning from the UK to Kenya was very easy in terms of understanding the law and its application,” she commented. Njeri says the added value of being dual qualified is being able to offer a broader, more multidimensional service than just in Kenya. She aims to access West African clients as well. She points out that having an English-qualified lawyer on the bench is a confidence booster for clients, “specifically in banking transactions where an English legal opinion is required, and only a UK qualified lawyer can sign off on that. In terms of mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions, being able to understand UK law documents or principles is a confidence booster for clients emanating out of those jurisdictions or even European jurisdictions.” Njeri elaborated on why English law has predominantly been seen as the safer jurisdiction to enforce judgements, and wraps up the brief conversation with interesting advice for lawyers wanting to attain dual qualifications.
8/10/202211 minutes, 17 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Mental Health First Aid' with Liz Giles, Timothy Dare and Lynn Etemesi

Mental health issues require first aid in the same way physical health issues do. In this podcast Tom Pearson and his guests discuss what’s being done to overcome the stigma attached to mental health issues and why first aiders are required in the workplace and society. The difficulty in trying to find an outlet to talk about mental health drove Lynnette Etemesi and Timothy Asobele Emmanuel Dare, both lawyers, to create separate platforms for those affected by the illness. Etemesi, from The Stability Network in Kenya, and Dare, who represents the Anti-Suicide and Depression Squad (ASADS) in Nigeria, said while moves were being made to address mental health wellbeing in their respective countries, there was a lot more work to be done. This work should include decriminalising attempted suicide, a crime that carries a three year jail sentence in Kenya, said Etemesi. “Suicide is a cry for help. So you can't necessarily charge somebody for attempted suicide and take them to prison instead of helping them out,” she emphasised. “You need to understand (that when someone attempts suicide) it’s not from a criminal perspective, but it is based on whatever it is that is happening around this person and they don't have the mental strength to be able to deal with it.” Etemesi said while Kenya had crafted a sound mental health policy for the period 2015 to 2030, seven years later, it was still to be implemented. In Nigeria, Dare said, the Mental Health Law in their Bill of Rights was outdated and had to be reformed to address the problem. “When you read the Nigerian Constitution, you realise that you are sort of against people who have any sort of mental health issues,” he commented, adding that it was important for those in governments across Africa to champion legislation in favour of people with the illness, and for the legal sector to fund legitimate organisations working with sufferers. Both Etemesi and Dare are strong proponents of mental health first aiders, a career or job title that’s cropping up at firms in the United Kingdom (UK), although it was started in Australia in the year 2000. Liz Giles has been a mental health first aider at the UK Justice Ministry for the past 18 months. She said the role entailed being receptive and understanding of people who might be in a certain situation that they just don't want to go through. Her appointment came at the time when Covid-19 hit, and the psychological effect of lockdown took its toll. “It’s just about having somebody outside your team. You know they’re not going to judge you. It can be really informal sometimes; you might not get into any sort of depth of conversation, but it’s just about having someone there and you know it’s a safe space,” Giles explained.
6/13/202254 minutes, 41 seconds
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Special Episode: 'Francophone In Focus' with Webber Wentzel and Linklaters

In recent years, investors have begun to show keen interest in Francophone Africa. In this vidcast, representatives of Webber Wentzel and their alliance partner Linklaters Paris talk about the latest trends and developments. In 29 African countries, French is the official or first language; most of these countries are located in the western, central and northern regions of the continent. Seventeen of them are signatories to Ohada, a French acronym for “Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires”, a grouping which essentially guarantees legal and judicial security for investors and companies in its member countries which were previously considered volatile areas. Yael Shafrir of South African-headquartered law firm Webber Wentzel, leading the conversation, says an interesting feature of Francophone Africa is that it has the most regional groupings which adhere to uniform laws and policies. Justin Faye, a managing associate in the Banking & Projects practice of Linklaters Paris, goes on to discuss the legal regimes that need to be considered when doing business in the region. He explains that with Ohada, the uniformed legislation that applies across member countries makes doing business there easier. This is the case for business law, security, arbitration and even insolvency proceedings. Justin also elaborates on other regional group sureties to assist investors. Bruce Dickinson, Webber Wentzel’s specialist in mergers and acquisitions in the mining sector, notes that project development and expansion of existing projects are on the rise as companies move towards green minerals and energy. “From an investment perspective, we tend to see a lot of internationals coming directly into those countries, but also quite a few of them structuring through South Africa or having elements of their business in South Africa. Given that so many of the service providers to these mining operations are South African based, be they technical service providers or equipment service providers, we see these linkages happening quite a lot,” he commented. Discussing other trends, Bertrand Andriani, Head of Banking: Energy and Infrastructure department of Linklaters in the Paris office, said among the most recent developments is the interest in green hydrogen. He pointed out that this important source of energy is expected to be active in the coming years and presentes a number of advantages for Africa to build the facilities. Another outstanding shift, according to Bertrand, is that the market is no longer being driven by western investors, but by their African counterparts. The speakers go into detail about the markets and opportunities on the uptick, as well as why it is still business as usual even when there is a coup in a particular Francophone country.
4/28/202223 minutes, 38 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Mining Matters with INMISO Consulting

In this podcast, Africa Legal’s Thomas Pearson chats to Robert Botha, CEO and founding member of Integrated Mining Solutions (INMISO) Consulting, ahead of the Mining Indaba taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 9 to 12 May. Robert Botha held diverse legal and commercial positions at some top mining companies before starting INMISO Consulting, a uniquely structured firm that provides cutting edge, streamlined and cost-efficient solutions to their clients. Together with his team of experts, their collective experience tallies more than 100 years. In the podcast Botha provides insight into current affairs in the industry and says he believes the underestimation of how valuable it is to include in-house general counsel from the onset of a major project is still a perennial issue. He says 99% of the time mining houses forget to address the legal hurdles they will need to jump through, especially in such an overregulated sector. “That obviously has a huge knock-on effect on the actual project. Not only in terms of your timeline and the milestones you must meet, but it has a huge impact on the npv (net present value) of that project,” he explained. Botha advises that in-house general counsel be included on projects from the feasibility stage to mitigate potential risks and save on costs. He is of the view that in-house general counsel is often slowed down with run of the mill, voluminous work, some of which can be outsourced to legal service providers. Botha tells Tom how the industry has grappled with the pandemic and the dilemma of vaccinations for those who work in offices in comparison to those working on site. The discussion then focuses on INMISO Consultancy’s journey and the strides it has made. Botha says their offering has grown into a multidisciplinary mining entity and their focus is on adding value for clients through their team of experts. In addition, they have developed a mineral rights management technology tool. The conversation wraps up with Botha predicting what the most pressing issues will be for in-house general counsel in the next five years. He says environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will continue to play a major role and wants to see the implementation of plans and programmes, not just for the sake of ticking boxes – a topic likely to be deliberated on at the Mining Indaba.
4/25/202240 minutes, 37 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Influential Women in Legal Tech

In this podcast, trailblazers Leah Molatseli and Naomi Thompson chat to Africa Legal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Pearson, about disrupting the legal industry through future-focused technology. Naomi Thompson, Senior Vice President of Legal Solutions at Exigent Group Limited, and Leah Molatseli, the Head of Business Development at Legal Interact and advisory board member for the Global LegalTech Hub, have shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. They are both featured by the International Legal Technology Association in this year's list of most influential women in legal tech. Naomi and Leah shared their views in a wide ranging discussion on Africa and, in particular, South Africa’s advancement towards the use of legal tech solutions. Their main advocacy is for more women to be recognised in what is still considered to be a male-dominated sector in Africa. Naomi says the legal tech ecosystem is a lot friendlier towards women, but Africa is still developing and so there are many challenges, even from the perspective of how many women are participating in the tech world. She says education, funding and support are key in making the legal community more open and accessible to female talent. “Statistics say that Africa tech founders are one of the most mentored in the entire industry but they are the least funded. So it is really about ensuring that we get the funding for them, ensuring that we create ecosystems that can support them and that they have buyers for those technologies that they are busy developing,” Naomi said. Leah believes in-house legal communities have a more forward thinking outlook compared to their counterparts in private practice. “Maybe because of the space that in-house [counsel] are in or they understand the business side of optimising or creating efficiencies. So their appetite for legal tech solutions is a bit higher. They are interested in figuring out how we can do this better,” she commented, adding that private practice law firms not only had to consider their budgets but also still needed to be educated on legal tech. “Law firms that really appreciate legal tech solutions are the ones that function like businesses which recognise that we are on a different playing field,” said Leah. Both Naomi and Leah elaborated on how the legal tech community can be more accessible to women, what the future law firm would look like, and the pace of transformation. The conversation wraps up with advice they would give to their younger selves and the T-shirt slogan of this Tom hopes to have made.
4/4/202238 minutes, 28 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Law. Tax. Future' with CMS

In this podcast, Hugo Coetzee, chairman of the Africa practice at CMS, chats to Tom Pearson, Chief Commercial Officer at Africa Legal, about the premier law firm’s prospects in Africa. CMS is a huge law firm; it has 8 000 staff and operates in 45 countries with 80 offices globally. But in the context of a massive continent like Africa – a place of great contrasts, different jurisdictions and distinct legal systems – raising awareness of this historical practice is important. Coetzee, an infrastructure and energy finance partner who heads up the global Africa practice at CMS , notes that while the firm has been advising clients there for more than 50 years, there is a need for greater exposure of their offerings. “We are starting to tell more people about who we are,” he says, “to make it work better together.” With Coetzee’s personal practice focusing predominantly on energy and infrastructure, and a specific interest in climate change, he offers a thoughtful analysis on why some African countries lag behind in their ability to move towards renewable energy sources. He names lack of funds as the core problem, with politics, infrastructure and procurement, being some of the other hurdles to realising the energy transition. “In some places the procurement regime is not necessarily developed, so this is where international firms like CMS come in and assist with looking at the procurement programme.” The conversation pivots back to the firm’s key statement: “Law Tax Future”, and Pearson asks which one of those best describes CMS in Africa. Coetzee acknowledges that while tax has been a huge underlying pillar for the practice, in particular across francophone and lusophone Africa, the most important of these three is “Future”. He foresees scope for growth in future trade finance, fintech, payment services platforms, digital infrastructure, telecoms, data centres, cyber security and data processing among others. The discussion wraps up with a look at the firm’s future targets. These include legal tech, developing AI to assist with the delivery of cost effective legal services, expanding the firm’s legal collaboration platform and the provision of targeted legal services assistance to start-ups. “We are looking to deliver value for clients by moving into future-facing areas that will assist them, and make things easier for them around particular types of work that we can offer.”
2/16/202239 minutes, 3 seconds
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Access to Banking and Insurance in Africa and the Role of Technology with Webber Wentzel

Access to Banking and Insurance in Africa and the Role of Technology with Webber Wentzel by Africa Legal
1/20/202245 minutes, 1 second
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'New Horizons' with FRA Law

Chief Rotimi Williams’ Chambers, also known as FRA Law, is positioning itself to become the foremost law firm in West Africa. In this podcast, the firm’s newly appointed Managing Partner, Alade Williams, along with former Managing Partner Folarin Williams and Senior Partner Efe Etomi, enlightens Tom Pearson on how this will be achieved.
12/13/202119 minutes, 5 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'The Legal Tech Hype Curve' with Legal Interact

Africa’s legal technology journey has started, and tools that support the work of lawyers have become critical to running businesses more efficiently. In this conversation, Raphael Segal, CEO and founder of Legal Interact, and his colleague Leah Molatseli, the organisation’s Head of Business Development, tell Tom Pearson how this can be achieved.
12/6/202122 minutes, 37 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Unlocking African Expansion' with Hortense Mudenge

In this podcast, Hortense Mudenge of Rwanda Finance Limited, the agency which operates the Kigali International Financial Centre, and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson discuss the findings of their latest collaborative research report. This third report focuses on expanding markets in Africa. A survey into unlocking expansion opportunities across Africa has revealed that around 85% of respondents, being both corporates and service providers, expect their operations to expand into new markets within the next five years – notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic. The drivers behind this confidence growth are the most recent economic reports from the International Monetary Fund which highlighted that the GDP growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rebound to 4-5%. Hortense Mudenge, Chief Operating Officer at Rwanda Finance Limited, told Tom that the reports show that Africa continues to have the fastest growing population and urbanization rates which means great opportunities for existing and new businesses. She lists e-commerce, e-logistics, and financial technology as platforms that are enabling businesses to easily expand to new markets from their domestic base of operation. While just over 20% of respondents to the survey indicated the use of holding companies, Hortense believes there is room to grow and develop this aspect. She says holding companies are seen to be the most efficient model for asset consolidation and management. “If you’re a company and you have multiple businesses across different jurisdictions, you are going to be exposed to different risks.There will be a need for you to find a structure that can allow you to easily manage or distribute your assets effectively.” That is where Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) speaks to the heart of what can be offered to African-based companies, or companies looking to set up shop on the continent. Hortense goes into detail on discussing whether holding companies are viable for young, high growth businesses and talks about the innovation explosion witnessed in many African markets. She is particularly excited about the advancement in technology – both financial and regulatory – and its capabilities for monitoring and compliance. “Some of the key innovative products that we’re really keen on developing are centred around financial and regulatory technology and that is because we’re seeing an increase in financial inclusion and compliance. There’s also the opportunity for fintech investors and actors to pilot their projects in our market.” The conversation ends with Hortense bringing out the technophile in Tom, who is fascinated by how fintech and regtech can support each other. Click here to read the report:
12/2/202121 minutes, 5 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'The Addicted Lawyer' with Brian Cuban

Brian happens to be billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s younger brother but, to me, that is a footnote to what made Brian such an important guest to converse with. Brian is in long-term recovery from alcohol and cocaine addiction, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and bulimia, and has maintained his sobriety since 2007. During our conversation we covered a range of topics from law firm leadership to de-stigmatising mental health and the true rates of substance and alcohol abuse in the legal industry. The most important topic for me personally, was that of vulnerability. In my eyes, vulnerability and self-honesty are absolutely key to unlocking a healthier lifestyle, regardless of whether or not you are in recovery. Brian notes that his approach and data is predominantly US-focussed, but there are clear parallels and lessons to be drawn from his commentary regardless of location. We both hope that this content can help continue the de-stigmatisation of mental health and substance misuse in the legal profession. If you’ve been personally affected by substance or alcohol misuse, have a story to share, an idea as to how we can work as a community to help, or just want to start a conversation, please email me at [email protected]. Alternatively, reach me via any of Africa Legal’s social media channels.
11/19/202137 minutes, 36 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Outlook on Zambia 2022' with Moira Mukuka Practitioners

Infamous for its debt burden, plans to turn around Zambia’s fortunes are in the pipeline following the election of a new government. Brenda Mutale Chanda and Sharon Sakuwaha, co-managing partners at Moira Mukuka Legal Practitioners, chatted to Tom Pearson on the renewed optimism among its citizenry.
11/9/202129 minutes, 11 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 54 'Getting Forensic' with Anjarwalla & Khanna

In an exclusive interview, East African law firm ALN//Anjarwalla & Khanna’s director of Forensics and Investigations, Willie Oelofse, and Roddy McKean, director of the Corporate Department, spoke to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about why a forensic lawyer should be on every due diligence team There will be a special webinar on forensic law lead by the expert team from A&K on October 26. To reserve your spot go to:
10/25/202127 minutes, 31 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 53 - 'Zambian Horizons' with Corpus Legal Practitioners

Your Go-To Finance Team Corpus Legal Practitioners recently received high acclaim for their expertise in the banking and finance sector, winning Best Finance Team – Small Firm, at this year’s African Legal Awards. In this podcast, Lupiya Simusokwe, Head of Banking and Mergers & Acquisitions at Corpus, chats to Tom Pearson on why they are the go-to firm in this arena. Assembling the best talent in the industry and pushing boundaries to provide premier legal services, was what earned this Zambia-based law firm the award, said Simusokwe. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, Corpus’s finance team worked on a crucial project with the United Kingdom export finance department to secure lending for health facilities in Zambia. “It was a £280-million transaction where lending was being made for the purpose of constructing 108 health ports dotted around the country and three district hospitals. It was an interesting transaction in that the client had to make sure they had come to the right people who could help them navigate the various local law hurdles, particularly when you are lending to a sovereign country like the government of the Republic of Zambia. We continue to be a go-to firm when it comes to development finance institutions (DFI),” said Simusokwe. He also noted the shift in the source of funding insofar as DFIs in Africa are concerned, adding that “the future looks good”. “I can talk about transactions that we have handled, where African DFIs provide finance not only to the government but also to local companies that are seemingly viable financially. The trend is looking very promising, and we expect more in the short-, medium- and long term. I don’t imagine that the source of finance would be limited to outside the African continent.” Another positive trend on the domestic front is the creation of the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises under the new Zambian Government. “This is meant to deal with specific issues that businesses in this stage of development would be facing, most of which you would imagine would be finance. It is expected that the financial sector would be very busy in the medium term and beyond. As one of the leading service firms in the country, we are extremely excited about the future,” Simusokwe told Tom. He also discussed the challenges clients face in the fintech space, the firm’s progressive attitude towards the country’s regulators, and how they can influence regulatory reforms which can then support businesses.
10/20/202128 minutes, 40 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 52 - 'Delivering Alternative Excellence' with Herbert Smith Freehills

Fresh from scooping the title of Alternative Service Provider of the Year at the recently held African Legal Awards, Vanessa Kingsmill and Naseem Ameer-Mia of Herbert Smith Freehills chatted to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about their recipe for success. Vanessa heads up the Johannesburg practice of the Alternative Legal Services (ALT) business, leading a team of lawyers and legal analysts who combine legal expertise, process efficiency and cutting-edge technology solutions to provide pioneering legal advice and excellent value to clients. The Johannesburg team works as an integral part of ALT's global network and services clients across a range of industry sectors. Vanessa has over 20 years' experience within the legal sector gained in major international law firms, as a practising Disputes lawyer, HR and L&D professional, Executive Coach and Partnership Secretary. Naseem leads the Alternative Legal Services (ALT) Corporate Johannesburg team and is focused on the service design, operations set up and continuous improvement associated with servicing high volumes of documents, which form part of a commercial transaction. He has previously acted for large financial institutions, FMCG houses, manufacturing and telecoms companies across Europe, Africa and Asia–Pacific in acquisitions, large-scale outsourcing transactions, global rollouts of IT services and regulatory focused projects.
9/29/202128 minutes, 29 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Integrity. Diligence. Respect' with Detail Commercial Solicitors

Integrity. Diligence. Respect. Commercial law and how to keep clients ahead of the game and productive when doing business in Africa is the topic of this week’s podcast with the team from Lagos law firm, DETAIL. Managing Partner Dolapo Kukoyi is joined by partners Chukwudi Ofili and Abiodun Oyeledun in this conversation with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson. Dolapo Kukoyi is the Managing Partner at Detail Commercial Solicitors and leads the firm’s Energy, Infrastructure & Power Practice. She is one of the leading lawyers in Nigeria’s Power sector with extensive experience advising clients in the private sector, government agencies and regulators on a wide range of complex transactions. “She stands out as perhaps the most knowledgeable lawyer in the country on the Nigerian power industry.” Chambers & Partners, global commentary 2019. Dolapo combines her strong legal background and industry knowledge to add value to each transaction. Her attention to the intricacies of every brief sets her apart as a pillar of support to clients. With over 15 years’ experience, Dolapo is an avid speaker and thought leader, passionate about increasing energy access in Nigeria and across Africa by leveraging private finance with the use of viable business and project models. Abiodun Oyeledun is an intelligent, creative and resourceful lawyer who leads the Finance & Capital Markets Practice and the Real Estate & Construction Practice at DETAIL. With a sterling reputation as a versatile finance lawyer able to handle complex structures, Oyeledun received the “Nigerian Rising Star Award” as one of the top 40 Nigerian lawyers under the age of 40 at the Nigerian Legal Award 2018. Abiodun has also authored several articles including a contribution to the “2018 Project Finance Report” by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR). Chukwudi Ofili is a Partner at DETAIL Commercial Solicitors and leads the Technology and Digital Economy practice area as well as the Legal Tax Advisory practice area. He is qualified to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. With his background as a finance lawyer, he has also advised on a broad range of financing and commercial transactions such as corporate and project finance; project development; public-private partnerships; private equity; derivative transactions; the tax implication of different financing structures and asset holding structures; as well as the tax implication of providing cross border services. His experience also includes providing foreign investment advisory services.
9/22/202130 minutes, 56 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - 'Passing the Baton' with Konyinsola Ajayi, Tominiyi Owolabi and Wolemi Esan

The Africa Legal podcast series moves to Nigeria this week where the leadership team from Olaniwun Ajayi LP chat to Tom Pearson on recent changes in the Management of the Firm. Taking part in the conversation are Dr Tominiyi Owolabi, the firm’s new Managing Partner, alongside Wolemi Esan, the new Deputy Managing Partner and Konyin Ajayi, SAN, outgoing Managing Partner. Olaniwun Ajayi LP has been in business for almost 60 years and, with more than 100 lawyers, is one of the most respected legal names in the west African country with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The firm has vast experience in corporate and commercial work, as well as litigation and arbitration. To open the interview, outgoing Managing Partner, Prof Ajayi, reflects on the firm’s history, which is a story that is also threaded through that of Nigeria’s legal system. He tells how its enigmatic and stylish founder, Sir. Olaniwun Ajayi, had been enormously proud to see the seed he planted blossom into a Baobab. Prof. Ajayi remembers an interview the late founder gave at 90-years-old when he marvelled at what the firm had become. “And this Baobab (that he planted) is (now) providing shade for many, medicine for many and comfort for others. For some (it gives) flowers and some food to eat and protection from rain and sun and something to lean on, wood for fire, for combustion and energy…these are all the things this mighty tree stands for.” “And, at the heart of it all, are still the people who make up the firm because it is they who have built it into an institution,” he says. Incoming Managing Partner Dr Owolabi explains how the firm’s strategic direction will remain on the same path under his leadership as a full-service commercial law firm providing top quality legal support to clients on the contentious and non-contentious sides of legal practice. “What will change is not the breadth of our practice but the depth of the service we provide for our clients,” he says. As the new deputy Managing Partner Mr Esan says, clients and the firm’s team will remain at the core of the business. “We do not see ourselves as external to the client but as part of their team …and we will continue to find ways to innovate and to build on this relationship. We will constantly be asking how to create a better future for our clients.”
9/16/202154 minutes, 37 seconds
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Episode 49 - 'Relevant. Responsive. Practical' with Warren Beech and Koketso Molope

In this episode of the Africa Legal podcast series, Warren Beech, one of Africa's most experienced and enormously pragmatic mining lawyers, joins his colleague Koketso Molope, to speak about what lawyers need to do to keep relevant and hands-on in this time of global change.
9/2/202130 minutes, 6 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 48 - 'Trauma-Informed' with Lynn Etemesi.

In this podcast, which is part of Africa Legal’s Ubuntu Mental Health Series, Kenyan lawyer and mental health campaigner, Lynette Etemesi, speaks to Tom Pearson about why so many lawyers suffer with mental health issues and what can be done to change this. The incredible pressure on lawyers – to win, to bill big, to never fail – is having consequences for their mental health. Excessive drinking, drug taking, bullying behaviour, burnout, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety are all examples of what has become “normal” in a profession that does not encourage balance. In this discussion, Lynette tells Tom about her own mental health journey and how she had to turn away from her family’s expectations, that she would be a high-flyer in a big law firm, to chart a different journey through the legal world that was more suited to her disposition. Lynette is now the regional leader for Africa of The Stability Network, a global movement of “people in the workforce speaking out about their own mental health challenges to inspire and encourage others”. She also runs the Mental Health Wellness Project Africa, is completing a second international masters’ degree and working on decriminalisation of suicide in Kenya. Her mental health first suffered when she was a timid teen, she says. She was much smaller than her peers, at boarding school in Kenya, and was bullied. Her strict father was not always sympathetic and wanted her to “step up”. Law school and a job at a law firm offered little respite and she was eventually diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Eventually she walked away from the environment causing her so much distress – instead focussing on global public policy law while working to help her legal colleagues pay attention to their mental health. “Many lawyers don’t see a problem with our system because they are so used to being in a high-pressure environment which then becomes normal. But it is not normal,” Lynette says. From the outside, and with her insights into destructive behaviour and mental health, Lynette has come to see how dysfunctional and unhealthy aspects of the legal world have become. The answer is in education, she says, with the senior managers and top lawyers needing to take the lead. Too often the argument is, “this is how it was for me, so you should go through this too,” which is an attitude that can destroy rather than shape talent, she says. This is a heartening and hopeful conversation about what it is to live a balanced life in a world where a lawyer is expected to be available 24/7. For any professional person feeling like they are on a dead-end road, Lynette’s story and her work could just be the boost you need to make the change.
8/18/202148 minutes, 29 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 47 - 'Digital Learning' with Africa Legal Learn

Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 47 - 'Digital Learning' with Africa Legal Learn by Africa Legal
8/9/202124 minutes, 12 seconds
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'Creating a transformative & sustainable impact in Africa' with Sally Hutton and Christo Els

Webber Wentzel Senior Partner Christo Els and Managing Partner, Sally Hutton, chat to Tom Pearson in a podcast focussing on the growth and success of one of Africa’s foremost law firms. An exciting new addition to this podcast is an “infovid”, an easy-to-follow presentation on this firm's exceptional story. Christo Els and Sally Hutton, a formidable duo, have been working together for the past 25 years at Webber Wentzel, part of the team who have turned it into a modern-day powerhouse law firm. The firm, established in South Africa in 1868, has been servicing clients in Africa for the past 50 years. It has strong relationships across borders, which have been further cemented by a collaborative alliance with global law firm Linklaters. “Our Africa strategy has always been to follow our clients to where they do business. We are invested in our clients and their success and, if they need assistance on the continent, we would be there to assist them,” said Christo. Key to remaining relevant has been staying abreast of emerging trends and, among the notable ones observed by Christo and Sally, is the increase in regulation coupled with its complexity. “There is a very strong focus on new regulation across the continent but we also see that some of the African regulators are copying each other, so there is growing evidence, when something is happening in a particular country, you will see that starting to be followed in other countries. I think, as a firm, we can add real value to clients when it comes to multi-jurisdictional transactions. Once you are managing multiple jurisdictions simultaneously with your local counsel, you can manage how that regulation is approved across a wide network of countries on the same basis,” said Christo. Reflecting on some of the firm’s achievements, Tom was impressed by their dedication to pro bono work. In the past financial year, the firm provided 21,056 hours of pro bono work and held 300 training sessions with over 9,000 attendances. Tom was curious as to why there was such a strong commitment to non-fee-generating activities. “It goes back to our stated purpose,” said Sally, “which is to have a transformative and sustainable impact through our work and actions and that has informed everything that we do for a very long time. “We were the first big South African firm to establish a dedicated pro bono team and the figures from the last financial year are no different from many prior financial years. “In the last year alone, we spent over R63 million (approx $4 million USD) on pro bono, which is very much aligned with what we have done in prior years. “As we all know South Africa and Africa have complex challenges and we see our role as a large South African law firm, and a firm very much rooted in Africa, as one that can actually make a difference and we seem to do that through our deep expertise.” Sally and Christo also discussed the firm's gender, BEE and diversity strategies. “Diversity directly correlates to the success of an organisation. Diverse leadership teams make more robust and creative business decisions. It also enhances the kind of service we give our clients. Diversity means we come up with much better client solutions and better client service. It makes complete business sense and very much links into our purpose,” said Sally. Sally Hutton biography: Christo Els Biography: Watch the InfoVid here:
8/9/202134 minutes, 32 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 45 'Indexing Innovation' with Rian Hancock

Rian Hancock of Africa New Law joins the Africa Legal Podcast to discuss the exciting new Innovation Index. Visit the Africa New Law Innovation Index here: Contact Rian here:
7/5/202129 minutes, 9 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 44 - Mental Health Focus with the International Bar Association

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have no place in the legal workspace - at least that’s the perception. In this podcast discussion, between two of the International Bar Association’s Mental Wellbeing Task Force Heads for Africa, Isibor Aigbe and Banke Olagbegi-Oloba and George Artley, Bar Issues Commission project manager at the IBA, Tom Pearson learns about what is being done to address the stigma around mental health in the profession. A recent global study by the International Bar Association (IBA) into the mental wellbeing of those in the legal profession found that there is a general lack of knowledge about good practice when it comes to addressing the issue in the workplace and on an individual level. There are also no forums for sharing information on good practice, however the IBA intends to raise awareness of this taboo topic through its newly formed global task force of members. Artley says the information gleaned from the research will assist the task force in starting conversations in their workplaces and with their regulators and legal communities in their different countries. Aigbe talks about why lawyers in Africa ranked their levels of fatigue second to their North American counterparts. He says some lawyers have to take on two jobs to support their loved ones, due to the low income they receive. Other contributing factors that lead to increased stress levels were the unreasonable deadlines given to junior staff by their bosses as well as sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. The failure by governments to provide robust mental health policies, that are inclusive and impactful, adds to the challenges. For Olagbegi-Oloba, the first step to addressing mental wellbeing is acknowledgment. “The most important way would be to recognise and accept that mental health issues exist within the profession. Unless and except this is done, I am afraid the challenge may continue to linger”. She recommends that partners, directors, and lawyers at management level come up with policies, programmes and coping strategies to deal with the illness. The lawyers offer their own coping strategies, which listeners will find useful when feeling overwhelmed. Read the full IBA report:
7/1/202142 minutes, 36 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 43 "Africa's International Law Firm" with Pascal Agboyibor

A desire to build a global law firm with an African focus has propelled the growth of Asafo & Co. In this podcast the firm’s managing and founding partner, Pascal Agboyibor, speaks to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about disrupting the status quo and extending the law firm’s reach. Asafo & Co has offices in Paris, London, Washington DC, Casablanca, Abidjan, Nairobi, Mombasa and Johannesburg with more openings on the horizon. Pascal admits he can’t rule out a presence in Japan or China and is very open to establishing new offices where there is an interest in doing business in Africa and where there is client need. “We remain very ambitious and, while the initial goal has been to have a presence in key hubs on the continent, hubs can be very different. So, it is very likely that we are going to open new offices, the rationale being that we will be everywhere where we can best serve our clients.” He says his colleagues tease him that every time he travels, he comes home with an idea for a new office. The reality though is that Asafo & Co. is disrupting old ways of cooperation by creating an international firm of like-minded professionals focussed on their clients’ African interests. “And where we cannot open offices that are entirely Asafo & Co. because of local regulations, we will work in cooperation with local partners,” he says. He says the firm’s rapid growth in East Africa (Asafo & Co. has two offices in Nairobi and Mombasa) is to meet the burgeoning demand for internationally-linked legal services in the region. Kenya is attracting investment despite Covid, he said, while Rwanda, (with the new Kigali International Financial Centre) is on investors’ radar. “Tanzania offers a lot of work but mostly on the contentious front – in arbitration, especially due to changes in the mining sector, while Uganda has movement in oil and gas.” Ethiopia is also being looked at for opportunities by the global investment community, but this has temporarily paused (due to Covid and political reasons). Asafo & Co. was launched two years ago in Paris by a group of lawyers from a US firm and then later joined by colleagues from UK and other international firms, many of whom have worked together for decades. Serving client needs is paramount for everyone no matter where they are based, and this means working on an understanding that there can be no conflict of interests with clients at the centre of all decisions. Tom asks Pascal what it means to be a disruptor and he explains that the way Asafo & Co. has been set up – as a law firm offering extremely broad international expertise but with a local coverage – is what sets it apart. It could be that it is “the way we are tackling things, with energy and ambition and not just following existing lines and existing habits,” that is shaping the firm’s “disruptor” reputation, he says. Ambitious and passionate lawyers also thrive under the Asafo & Co. structure which is not over-limiting and offers a clear career path. Pascal hails from Togo but has been based in Paris for some time. He was recently ranked second out of 100 business law leaders in Africa and named projects lawyer of the year by the publication Jeune Afrique. For his work on strategic and complex matters including mining, oil and gas and Mergers and Acquisitions he was, this year, listed as an expert in projects and energy by the Chambers Global Guide. In addition, in 2020 he featured as no. 17 of the top 50 disruptors in Africa published by The Africa Report. This is an easy-to-listen to conversation that highlights the rigorous innovation in strategic planning around how to provide big clients with a unique combination of international expertise and on-the-ground legal support in Africa
6/17/202123 minutes, 29 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 42 - 'Extractives in Focus' with Jacqueline Musiitwa

Extractives in Focus International lawyer Jacqueline Musiitwa, the founder and director of Kalene Hill Resources, speaks to Tom Pearson, Africa Legal’s Chief Commercial Officer, in a podcast introducing the Extractives GC Forum on June 29 and 30. Jacqueline is a global expert in African commercial affairs working across jurisdictions. Her unique insights into the complexities and challenges of the extractives sectors and their impact on developing world environments has her well placed to co-chair the upcoming virtual forum. In this podcast discussion she said that while mining and oil and gas were facing many challenges, the single most pressing issue was the environment. The upcoming forum offered an opportunity for lawyers working in these sectors to reflect on how to meet this challenge and chart a way forward. Whether this reflection fell under the broader rubric of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) or was more focussed on the upcoming COP 26, the way things were done and the impact this was having on the broader environment had to be challenged. “This could be in relation to the sectors’ carbon footprint or asking what it means to coexist with nature,” Jacqueline said. “Both mining and oil and gas have not been viewed in the best light and there is now a huge opportunity for the sectors to come clean and demonstrate what they are doing to get to ‘net neutrality’.” Tom asked what changes could motivate these sectors to move to a commitment to deal with environmental issues. Jacqueline highlighted how there was growing pressure on investors to “do the right thing with their money” – and this was important because without the threat of losing money, there was a tendency to “always take the slow approach”. Consumers too wanted to know the route products or food had taken to market so that they could spend in ways that supported the best interests of the broader social and natural world. The discussion moved to the social impact of mining and oil and gas extraction and Jacqueline explained that while communities had been vocal for a long time on the impact of these sectors on their worlds, companies were, at last, starting to hear their voices. It was now that Africa’s lawyers needed to sit up as their role was changing from one that simply offered legal advice to one where they had to provide guidance on regulation, risk and governance at the local, national and global level. “African lawyers need to stay on top of current trends in their field across the world, not just in their own jurisdiction…By staying on top of the trends and knowing what is happening in other places, lawyers have the opportunity to provide great value to their clients,” she said. It was an exciting time for lawyers as they were the go-to professionals on the continent with the power to shape outcomes that would impact the lives of all Africans. Register for the Extractives GC Forum here. The forum is being hosted by Africa Legal with the Africa Oil Week and Investing in African Mining Indaba.
6/4/202139 minutes, 5 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 41 - 'Facilitating Capital Deployment in Africa' with Ntoudi Mouyelo

Our Africa Legal podcast series returns to Rwanda this week for a conversation with the Kigali International Financial Centre’s new Chief Investment Officer, Ntoudi Mouyelo. Ntoudi’s interview with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson is intended to shine a spotlight on the survey, “Realising and facilitating pan-African investment” that is currently underway and aimed at the global business community. To participate go to: By giving input into this survey, the Africa Legal community can assist in developing understanding around the state of capital flow into Africa and the hurdles in the way of future investment. The results will feed a second report on the opportunities for doing business in Africa and the advantages of channelling this through Rwanda, a burgeoning business and investment hub. (For an introduction to Rwanda and the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), our first report is available here: There is no better person to discuss the issues around African investment and Rwanda’s part in making this happen than Ntoudi, a banking and finance executive. His career has taken him to Luxembourg and Singapore – both financial centres with a broad focus and which the KIFC is now working to emulate. There are different kinds of financial centres, Ntoudi explains, which focus on domestic, regional, global or offshore agendas. “What we are developing for Rwanda is a hybrid model – the financial centres that are closer to us are Luxembourg and Singapore. We want to ensure we answer to the domestic agenda but, at the same time, also to the needs of the continent. In that sense our model is unique.” What immediately puts Rwanda at an advantage in attracting business is that it is trilingual with French, English and Kinyarwanda as official languages and laws drafted in all three. It is this ease of communication which is enabling the country to turn its goal of becoming a financial centre for the whole continent into a reality. For the centre to achieve this means meeting three key requirements, Ntoudi says. 1) Compliance; “We must align ourselves with global standards.” 2) Transparency of the legal and regulatory framework; “It is key for investors and businesses to feel and perceive predictability and quality when they use the centre.” 3) Access to talent; “We need to have the relevant professionals to answer the needs of those who want to do business.” Ntoudi explains how the project was part of the Rwandan government’s Vision 2050 which is to increase GDP, further the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and to drive the continent-wide development agenda. It was Rwanda’s future-focus, propelled by clear and forward-thinking leadership, Ntoudi says, that sparked his excitement in the KIFC project and drew him back to Africa. “I was convinced that this project of an African international financial centre that is in line with global standards is possible. Today I am proud and happy to see this achievement, that already after two years of development (is becoming a reality).” Link to Report 1: 'A Modern African. A Modern International Financial Centre':
5/27/202128 minutes, 29 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 40 - 'Enhancing Capacity' with Bernard Oundo

This edition of the Africa Legal podcast series moves to Uganda for a conversation with Bernard Oundo, the president of the East Africa Law Society and the managing partner of Citadel Advocates. Bernard is an alumni of the University of Dundee in Scotland and the Harvard Executive Programme. Mentorship is an issue close to his heart and in this conversation with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson he speaks about his role with the Beacon Scholarship Programme. The East Africa Law Society, which represents bar associations across the region - including South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda - has 19 000 members of which more than 70% are young lawyers. With the ratio between senior and junior lawyers so big, one-to-one mentorship is impossible, says Bernard. For this reason the Society has turned to technology and once a month hosts a virtual meeting with guest speakers and senior lawyers aimed at young lawyers. The intention is to build capacity and develop professional practice across the region. Bernard then delves into the challenges that are emerging for the profession as the millennial generation joins the workforce. They are impatient yet agile, he says, and intolerant of old structures which demand eight to 13 years of junior roles before their careers take off. “We need to devolve a system that strikes a balance between the need to acquire experience and the need to fast track our highly talented millennials coming through the system,” he says. A solution lay with supporting universities to review their law degree programmes. “If you take a sample of universities in Uganda and Kenya - across the East Africa region - you would not easily find a module on project finance, for instance. Yet this is so necessary for work related to infrastructure, mining and oil and gas.” The conversation then turns to Bernard’s area of practice. He explains how ten years ago he made the move to specialise in project finance and oil and gas. It is a decision that has paid big dividends as it has enabled him to bring in business from across the region. It is this kind of focus that young lawyers need to consider when developing their careers as improved and high level capacity played a part in developing all parts of the regional economy. Later in the conversation Bernard and Tom touch on how the legal profession can support the rule of law and good governance and how this “knocks on” in terms of encouraging investment confidence and generating more work and so building the profession. Rule of law impacts on a country’s risk profile and ultimately on the cost of doing business, Bernard says, and there is an important role for bar associations to play in challenging violations. Bernard and Tom cover a host of different topics in this fascinating interview.
5/19/202129 minutes, 51 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 39 'Tales of the hunt' with Kenneth Muhangi

While East Africa is teeming with young entrepreneurs maximising on the prospects that presents itself with the 4th Industrial Revolution, such advancement does not come without risks.
5/4/202133 minutes
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Episode 38 - 'Sector Champions - Financial Services- with Karim Anjarwalla & Titus Edjua

This special edition podcast brings together two leading figures in pan-African Financial Services and M&A. Karim Anjarwalla of Anjarwalla & Khanna and Titus Edjua of Watson Farley & Williams are our nominated 'Sector Champions' for Financial Services aligned with the UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference coming April 22 2021. Africa Legal are proud to partner with the UK Ministry of Justice to realise our mission to bring together leading lawyers from across the UK and Africa to collaborate, network and deliver customer satisfaction. Join us at the cutting-edge UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference on 22 April 2021 to hear from an incredible speaker line-up and benefit from unique networking opportunities. REGISTER TODAY at
4/15/202131 minutes, 7 seconds
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Episode 37 - 'Sector Champions - Int. Trade' with Nigel Boardman and Daryl Dingley

This special edition podcast brings together two leading figures in the field of International Trade in relation to UK and African markets. Nigel Boardman of Slaughter & May and Daryl Dingley of Webber Wentzel are our nominated 'Sector Champions' for the topic of International Trade aligned with the UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference coming April 22 2021. Africa Legal are proud to partner with the UK Ministry of Justice to realise our mission to bring together leading lawyers from across the UK and Africa to collaborate, network and deliver customer satisfaction. Join us at the cutting-edge UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference on 22 April 2021 to hear from an incredible speaker line-up and benefit from unique networking opportunities. REGISTER TODAY at
4/8/202150 minutes, 35 seconds
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Episode 36 - 'Sector Champions - TMT' with Sandra Oyewole and Jennifer Mbaluto

This special edition podcast brings together two leading figures in the UK and African Telecoms, Media and Technology (TMT) sector together for a lively discussion looking at key trends and opportunities in this vibrant market. Sandra Oyewole and Jennifer Mbaluto are the nominated 'Sector Champions' for the TMT aligned with the UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference coming April 22 2021. Africa Legal are proud to partner with the UK Ministry of Justice to realise our mission to bring together leading lawyers from across the UK and Africa to collaborate, network and deliver customer satisfaction. Join us at the cutting-edge UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference on 22 April 2021 to hear from an incredible speaker line-up and benefit from unique networking opportunities. REGISTER TODAY at
4/7/202135 minutes, 53 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 35 'Kigali - Gateway to Africa?' with Michelle Umurungi

What is the global legal community demanding of a modern African International Financial Centre? Africa Legal recently partnered with Rwanda Finance Limited to answer this question, amongst others, as part of the launch of the Kigali International Financial Centre via ground-breaking research and data analysis. Listen to this riveting conversation between Africa Legal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tom Pearson, and Rwanda Finance Limited’s Senior Policy Analyst, Michelle Umurungi as they dig deeper into the findings of this must-read research. To download the full report visit (Please note that an active LinkedIn account is required to view/download the report)
3/31/202122 minutes, 9 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 34 - 'Talking Offshore' with Nicholas Kuria

This week the Africa Legal podcast series turns to matters of high finance with an easy-to- follow interview with Nicholas Kuria, a counsel at Conyers law firm and who is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the Caribbean. Nicholas and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson talk through how an offshore financial centre operates and explain the tax implications for investors. Misconceptions about dodging tax are put on the table with Nicholas laying out how the offshore investment system works, that it is legislated and an established part of the BVI economy. For novices in high finance this is a fantastic introduction to understanding how big money moves around the globe and the tax-friendly conduits that are available to do this. “An offshore investment centre allows people to pool investment and share risk while enjoying neutrality,” he explains. Nicholas uses the example of a business on the ground in Africa, which employs people and pays its taxes in the country where it operates. Profits, which could come from capital receipts or dividends, are channeled back to investors through financial services based in the off-shore territories. These investors could be resident in North America or Asia, for instance, and, when they earn an income from their investment, would be liable for tax where they are resident. The BVI takes no tax on the money that moves through its systems which makes it a far less expensive option than working through inshore financial service centres (think New York, London, Hong Kong). “The most common understanding of the term offshore jurisdiction is that most of the financial and commercial activity deals with non-domestic clients. The BVI has a large financial services industry that is entirely outward looking,” Nicholas explains. On the country’s domestic front, financial services and tourism are the two major industries for the BVI which comprises more than 50 islands. On a final note, listen closely to the envy in Tom’s voice as he quizzes Nicholas about working in the Caribbean. One can only wonder how BVI lawyers and finance gurus ever make it off the beach and into the office…but then, maybe they don’t!
3/25/202127 minutes, 56 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Ubuntu Special - 'Building Resilience' with Jenny Canau

Take a Breath! An active training session on mental wellness is the topic for this week’s podcast. Resilience coach Jenny Canau takes Tom Pearson through steps to becoming more mindful and positive, giving him the techniques to change his way of thinking and being. The session is part of Africa Legal’s Ubuntu series on mental health and is an introduction to Jenny’s eight-week virtual resilience courses being run through the University of Cape Town’s Law@Work programme. While Tom and Jenny are physically thousands of miles apart, they move through the session with the ease of two people in the same room. Jenny’s warm laughter and calm voice help Tom through the steps to becoming more considered and positive. “I really enjoyed it and found the activity genuinely helpful,” says Tom. Jenny explains that with training we can grow our mindfulness capacity, which in turn helps to regulate our nervous system and improve our sense of well-being. “Neuroscience shows that regular practise of mindfulness reduces stress and the inflammation it causes in our bodies, which can lead to illness. It helps build our inner-resilience, emotional stability and ability to cope with life’s challenges,” she says. Tom comments how many lawyers live a fast-paced busy and reactive life, denying themselves the joy of being in the moment but, through embracing relaxation techniques, they can reduce stress and focus their thinking and so become more considered and productive. Jenny’s training focuses on cultivating equanimity of mind which can be applied to every aspect of life. In the podcast she takes Tom through several mindfulness exercises followed by a short discussion where they reflect on the impact of the exercises and why they are beneficial. For anyone struggling with negative thinking or battling with stress, this podcast is an interesting insight into what mindfulness training involves. The first course dates fall on days between April 12 and May 31 from 6pm to 8pm (SA time) and the second between June 10 and July 29. For more information on the courses go to:
3/2/202141 minutes, 59 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 33 'A Moral Compass' with Bisi Adeyemi

A Moral Compass This week the Africa Legal podcast series is in Nigeria for a conversation with Bisi Adeyemi, Chief Executive of DCSL Corporate Services. Bisi and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chat about how an inhouse legal team can be the moral compass for a business and why being accountable is the key to good governance. Bisi says her role at DCSL has shown her how important it is for those in leadership roles to keep flexible and to be ready to embrace accountability especially during times of turbulence. The challenges of the last year, especially, have seen some businesses emerge stronger and more robust as they developed new ways of servicing clients. Bisi explains how DCSL has its roots in multinational audit and accounting but that it has grown to become a niche firm focussed on providing exceptional governance, legal and corporate services. The firm is now quintessentially African - and Nigerian - and is an example of how a business can evolve and develop to fit changing client needs. On a personal note, she tells Tom how many years working as an inhouse company secretary with a multi-national dredging taught her how to keep independent in times of boardroom turbulence and to always “maintain the middle lane and keep a very professional manner” when battles are underway. It was during difficult times, she says, that she learned that the inhouse legal function provides the moral compass of the business and is where everyone looks for advice and guidance. Tom and Bisi chat about how law firms have made the transition to virtual offices with some falling by the way as they were incapable of operating in the virtual space. One of the services offered by DCSL has been training webinars which have been extremely successful during the global lockdowns. Bisi says she is still working from home but missing the office and social and professional stimulation of her colleagues. When Tom asks Bisi what advice she would give her younger self, she offers a lovely moment of introspection.
2/2/202120 minutes, 39 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 32 - 'Expanding Horizons' with Naima Zayla

Expanding Horizons In this week’s podcast, BARBRI legal co-ordinator Naima Zayla and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson examine changes to how lawyers can become qualified to practise as solicitors in England and Wales. Increasingly, African lawyers working on international transactions or with clients represented in multiple jurisdictions, are seeking to become dual qualified – able to practise at home but also in countries like the UK or the US. However, later this year, the system for registration in England and Wales will change when the Qualified Lawyers’ Transfer Scheme (QLTS) is replaced by the Solicitors’ Qualifying Exam (SQE). The SQE will be more uniform and incorporate a system of assessment for all new lawyers not just those wanting to expand their international qualifications. Naima herself is preparing to be one of the first to write the SQE in November and is currently busy with the 40-week preparatory course. She says though that lawyers wanting to qualify under the old system do have one last chance and will be able to complete the last QLTS Multiple Choice Test (MCT) in July and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination or OSCE (practical assessment) in early 2022. “The advantage of doing the QLTS is that it has been trialed and we know exactly what it involves whereas the SQE is an unknown. If you have the opportunity and time I would do the MCT now,” she advises. “However, the first stage of the new SQE does mirror the MCT – both exams include 360 questions over two days, five hours per day in front of the computer.” BARBRI, of course, has more than 50 years of experience providing support to lawyers preparing for these kinds of legal exams. In their conversation, Naima explains to Tom what the changes will look like and what this will mean for lawyers wanting to become dual qualified. However, she points out, lawyers wanting to follow the tried and tested method of qualification – and, who are able to undertake the preparation now, – would be wise to work towards qualification before the change in the exam. Preparation is entirely online with one-to-one mentorship meetings and online lectures. She also reminds listeners that BARBRI uses technology to support its students and this AI can identify gaps in knowledge and where support is needed. At a time where more and more transactions are global and with increasing interest from the UK in doing business with Africa, this conversation is a useful introduction into the possibilities of dual qualification.
2/1/202118 minutes, 7 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 31 - 'Africa, Innovation and the AfCFTA' with Christo Els

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create the largest free trade zone in the world. For law firm Webber Wentzel this heralds a time of innovation and opportunity. In an insights series (of podcasts and digital content), Webber Wentzel explores the impact the free trade zone will have on the continent and for intra-African business relationships. In this kick-off conversation, Christo Els, Webber Wentzel's Senior Partner, speaks to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about his impressions of how he believes the AfCFTA will change the way Africans do business. As global power and allegiances shift, and the impact of the pandemic starts to be understood, says Christo, so too are Africans realising how their resilience and ability to make-do can mean a new kind of future for their countries. AfCFTA, he says, is prompting a more inward-looking approach to trade with an emphasis on focusing closer to home for business. This in turn is bringing about a new confidence and appreciation for the benefits of working together. There is also growing recognition that Africa’s spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation are its greatest strengths and should be celebrated and developed. “Covid has meant that within Africa the focus is on being more self-reliant. We should be able to ‘produce’ and not be so dependent on others.” This shift in emphasis means there is likely to be an increase in infrastructure development, Christo said. Already there is enormous innovation. Telecommunications, for instance, has been an industry of remarkable growth across all 54 African countries. Whereas most countries gradually moved from terrestrial lines to mobile phones, in Africa users leapfrogged straight to mobile phones. “Today, in Africa, the growth of the mobile phone sector has outstripped every other region in the world. And East Africa leads the globe with its developments in mobile banking.” This is where the role of advisory firms (like law firms, banks, accounting firms) becomes important as they enable start-ups to expand their innovations into multinational businesses. Webber Wentzel was committed to supporting start-ups and scale ups and helping them put in place the correct legal frameworks to thrive and expand. It is an exciting time for a “very African practice” like Webbers, says Christo. Headquartered in South Africa and founded over 150 years ago – we are working with clients with business interests all across Africa. Our relationships with other African law firms and our alliance with global law firm, Linklaters really position us well to provide exceptional client service. Another area of potential growth on the continent is arbitration, says Christo. Complex disputes often involve travelling to the centres of arbitration like Paris or London but the thinking now was increasingly that this was something that could be done “at home.” “All of this reflects a continent moving towards self-reliance,” says Christo. For law firms it means following clients and it was important to see Africa “not as full of risk but full of opportunity.” What this means for Christo is, at last, the coming of age of a continent. “At Webbers we want to be part of Africa’s success, to increase connectedness and selling its potential. It is about being facilitators and overcoming challenges – to be able to do that is a real pleasure and a privilege.”
12/9/202021 minutes, 27 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 30 - 'One Stop Solution' with DLA Piper

A deep appreciation for the opportunity to work across Africa shines through in this easy-flowing podcast conversation with the team from DLA Piper. The firm is represented in 20 countries on the continent and double that across the globe. Understanding the nuances that come with cultural difference is what has seen it take root and grow in Africa and what saw it named International Law Firm of the Year at the 2020 African Legal Awards. In the podcast Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson speaks to Sarah Wilson, head of marketing and business development for the Middle East and Africa and consultant, Patricia Fokuo, about how the firm’s approach has enabled it to gain this strong foothold and respected reputation in such a diverse environment. Some countries in Africa do intimidate some clients, Patricia explains, but robust partnerships with local firms and an indepth understanding of the laws and regulations of the country where they are doing business, coupled with insight into regional idiosyncrasies, makes legal challenges manageable. DLA Piper is a Swiss Verein, Sarah says, meaning its members are made up of independent law firms that are not themselves part of DLA Piper but which work under the auspices of the firm. It means that strong relationships, joint learning, capacity building and excellent communication are fundamental to the firm’s success. “That is why with Covid we have had to relook at our marketing and business development approach and, I have to say, there are positives to what has happened.” New technology has meant the roll-out of new virtual platforms and within a short time a diverse global community is now suddenly able to be in one virtual room. While there is no replacement for in-person meetings, this way of working and meeting is more cost effective while still enabling a deep level of interaction and camaraderie. “And it has allowed us to really challenge our carbon footprint,” she says. Patricia draws attention to the inevitably of Africa expansion for the global business community in coming decades and that there is already a growing choice of excellent legal services. The advantage of working with firms under the DLA Piper umbrella is the access to an international network of expertise coupled with a deep local knowledge, she says. “African countries offer great markets and, with the right legal support, the region is no different to any other.” Patricia uses a wonderful idiom, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together,” to stress the importance of being part of a strong legal community. It is an idiom that explains, in a nutshell, why DLA Piper, has become the big name of multinational legal support in Africa.
12/1/202031 minutes, 39 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 29 - 'Close Connections' with JLA & Abreu Advogados

Mozambique offers investors a wealth of opportunities and in this week’s podcast Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson speaks to two lawyers who understand this unique but largely unknown investment landscape inside and out. Zara Jamal is a partner with Abreu Advogados and its Mozambican associate firm, JLA Advogados, based in Maputo, while Ana Sofia Batista is a partner with Abreu in Lisbon. At the recent African Legal Awards JLA Advogados was named African Law Firm of the Year (small firm) – recognition for the incredible work being done in a country that is finding its place on the global stage. The award has shone a spotlight on a firm where the team is determined to grow – more than half the lawyers are enrolled in master’s programmes for instance. Its relationship with Abreu Advogados is also enabling two-way learning through exchange programmes and a host of other learning opportunities. Zara’s focus is on the implementation of international business and project finance transactions in Mozambique. These are particularly in banking, insurance, real estate, agriculture and the energy sector. She also has vast experience in Islamic banking and provided services to Murabaha for its first transaction in Mozambique. Ana’s practice focuses on corporate work and M&A in Portugal. Her expertise is in business restructuring with a focus on corporate structures, contracts and financing. Mozambique has been a country where Ana has been heavily involved in investment operations through providing legal advice. In the conversation, the lawyers explain how the two law firms are intricately linked. Abreu Advogados has a “Mozambican desk” and, with its strong ties to JLA Advogados, (a relationship that has been cemented over the past decade) offers clients international expertise and on-the-ground local insight. Zara explains how this collaboration was born out of the two countries' close historic ties and subsequent shared legal background. “After Mozambican independence in the 1970s the country did not repeal all its legislation – only the legislation that was contrary to the new constitution which means you still have Portuguese diplomas in force in the legal system. This partnership explores these commonalities.” Ana explains that this shared jurisprudence and the relationship between the firms gives international clients confidence their interests are in knowledgeable hands. Mozambique is often overlooked by the Anglophone and Francophone investment communities and this conversation gives insight into the world class legal support available in the Lusosphere – including places like Angola, Cape Verde, Macau and Brazil, East Timor and Guinea-Bissau.
11/20/202021 minutes, 39 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 28 - 'Results. Not Hours' with Joselynn Fember

If there is one lesson to take away from this podcast interview with South African attorney Joselynn Fember it is: listen. Listening and patience, coupled with hard work, grit and a staggering intelligence, are what won this 27-year old legal entrepreneur the Partner of the Year Award at the recent African Legal Awards. It is an affirmation that was completely unexpected, Joselynn says, mostly because she is fairly new in the game and still young. But, what the award recognised is how the legal world is in dramatic transition as lawyers grapple with the “new normal”. Fresh and inspiring ways of addressing old problems and the vibrant and innovative young minds finding solutions are what the judges were looking for. Joselynn’s ability to absorb the frustrations of her clients and then understand how they can be resolved in the context of the broader traditional legal system is what has set her apart so early on in her career. The motto of her firm, Fember Attorney’s Incorporated, is “Results. Not Hours”. Billable hours, she says, are inefficient, punitive and susceptible to abuse and do not serve the best interests of the client. “Many clients get little or no satisfaction from traditional or and outdated systems of legal practice. “To enable better access, the firm works to make legal information more available to the public and clients we serve,” she says. Fember Attorney’s Incorporated’s structure was built around addressing client need with an organised and digitised system of “onboarding” that manages the expectations from the outset. Joselynn's legal specialities are commercial, criminal and family law. She has assisted multinational companies, handled complex high-profile cases and has been invited to speak on several media platforms to advise on different aspects of the law, including criminal law, child law and business law. In the interview she tells Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson a little of her own journey to becoming a lawyer as someone from a background hobbled by poverty and alcoholism. She is the first in her family – including her extended family – to achieve a university degree (from the University of the Witwatersrand) which she funded through part-time work and applying for bursaries. This is a landmark interview with one of Africa’s emerging legal minds. Joselynn reflects a way of thinking that is building across the continent where lawyers are tenacious, hungry and refuse to accept old ways of doing things. It is a conversation that will put a spring in the step of all young African lawyers. Her message is clear: challenges are there to be faced head on, obstacles are there to be overcome and no boundary cannot be crossed.
11/10/202029 minutes, 46 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 27 - 'Go Far Together' with Alison Diarra

Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 27 - 'Go Far Together' with Alison Diarra by Africa Legal
11/6/202023 minutes, 59 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 26 - 'Huggers. Not Hoggers.' with Slaughter and May

This week the Africa Legal Podcast Series is in London for a conversation with one of the doyen’s of African-British legal relationships, Nigel Boardman from Slaughter and May. Joining Nigel is new partner Samay Shah and Justina Omotayo, who leads on development for the firm. Hearing Nigel speak about his relationship and interactions with some of the great names of post colonial Africa is a lesson in history. This is a legal mind which has been involved in the development of nations and there can be no-one who understands the strengths, weaknesses and astounding potential of Africa better than Nigel. In one anecdote he reminisces about how the new nation of Botswana had its capital in Rustenburg in South Africa because the modern day city of Gaborone was not yet built! He is quick to point out that the continent is diverse with very different challenges. Slaughter and May’s approach though, he says, has always been to work with the lawyers on the ground and not to open offices and impose the Western way on local people or business. Slaughter and May have a philosophy of encouraging the development of the people they work with, he says, wanting everyone in the team to be strong and to manage the complex needs of the firm’s clients with confidence. Nigel says the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a welcome development with far more trade needed between African nations than is currently the case. The colonial powers, he points out, developed plenty of routes to the coast but not enough between nations. Building of trade is a building of wealth, he says, but alongside the strong legal structure that comes with the Free Trade Agreement must come the physical structures. Samay Shah then joins the conversation explaining that his move to partner had been under the cloud of Covid and travel restrictions but that he is looking forward to building relationships with Africa-based lawyers. His goal is to deepen relationships and for Slaughter and May to grow with the firms on the ground. Africa, he says, poses novel legal issues that are not encountered in other parts of the world making strong relationships with local law firms imperative. On a final note Justina Omotayo talks about her special project - Slaughter and May’s Practical and Legal Exchange African Symposium which will take place online on November 26. “Sadly, this was meant to be our African year,” she says but taking the initiative online will enable delegates to experience different cultures and learn from international and local legal experts. The theme this year is “Navigating the Crisis” and while the waters are still choppy, markets were righting themselves, she says. The strategic focus of the symposium would be on M&A and look at how companies were recovering.
11/4/202037 minutes, 10 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 25 - 'Part of The Client' with KO Associates

This week’s podcast moves back to Kenya with Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson in conversation with the senior partners from Nairobi law firm KO Associates LLP. KO Associates was named Specialist Law firm of the Year at the African Legal Awards for 2020 and, in this interview, Managing Partner Crispin Odhiambo and Senior Partner Stephen Kiptinness explain how they steered their firm through one of the most challenging times in modern history to achieve this accolade. Crispin is also the Lead Partner in the Projects, Energy and infrastructure Department as well as the Corporate and Finance department while Stephen is the Lead Partner in the Technology and Intellectual Property Practice. What sets the firm apart, Stephen says, is how they strive to give clients a small firm feel which means the attention given to any challenge is intensive and focused. “We look at a problem up, down and sideways – not just from the client’s perspective but from the market perspective,” he says, “eventually we understand the matter as if we are part of the client’s business.” This means the firm is able to offer advisory support that helps a business “move to the next level”. Crispin elaborates saying that as an African law firm they have to think internationally – or at least regionally – because that is the way their clients are thinking. “Businesses are wanting to expand their reach. Whereas in the past it was ‘the north’ (Europe, the US and, lately, Asia) looking to come into Africa, this has swung round with African business looking outward.” Stephen says advances in technology have raised the bar in Africa as local clients demand a higher standard of service – on a par with what they are used to in other markets. What is also driving this reaching out is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which was seeing an integration of African markets. The discussion moves on to cover the impact and subsequent bouncing back from Covid-19 and how Africa is back to business as usual while Europe and Britain are still grappling with the crisis. Stephen says the pandemic has been an opportunity to take stock and, while businesses “hit pause”, many continued growing but have emerged leaner and, in many instances, more efficient.
10/29/202026 minutes, 45 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 24 - 'Learn. Connect. Innovate.' with Legal Innovation & Tech Fest

The Legal Innovation & Tech Fest online is fast approaching (2-4 November 2020). Africa Legal sat down with the event organiser Eventful People's Head of Content, Andrea Erasmus to learn more about why this is a must-attend event for legal practitioners across Africa. Those listeners not based in South Africa can register with your the Africa Legal 50% off code (AFRICALEGAL2020) here:
10/20/202025 minutes, 39 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 23 - 'Bouncing Back' with Jenny Canau

Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 23 - 'Bouncing Back' with Jenny Canau by Africa Legal
10/16/202025 minutes, 11 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 22 - 'Say Yes More!' with Yindi Gesinde

This week our podcast series moves to London for an interview with Yindi Gesinde, a partner with Baker McKenzie’s Dispute Resolution Team and a member of the Compliance and Investigations group. Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson opens the interview by asking Yindi about her Nigerian heritage and, she explains, that while her parents left West Africa before she was born, her ties with extended family are still strong. Much of Yindi’s compliance and investigations work focuses on Nigeria and South Africa but, she says, the outbreak of the pandemic means travelling to meet clients has become impossible - nevertheless, out of necessity, the transition to online meetings is evolving. Yindi sits on Baker McKenzie’s Global Africa Strategy Steering Committee which encompasses offices in Casablanca, Cairo and Johannesburg. With other members of the committee she is responsible for the firm’s Africa strategy and advises clients who are foreign international investors, global corporates, domestic companies and sovereign states working, or looking to invest, in Africa. Baker McKenzie’s ambition, she adds, is to be the global law firm of choice in Africa. “While we don’t have offices everywhere our ways of working means we are able to support clients all over the continent,” she adds. Yindi has experience in corporate crime and investigations and Tom asks her about how the pandemic has impacted this as businesses have moved online in the Covid-world. “A ‘down’ economy can create opportunities for fraud,” Yindi explains, “something that is being seen in the UK where there has been a hike in fraud, for example counterfeit Covid-19 testing kits, non-existent testing schemes and fake PPE.” Later in the interview Yindi talks about her pro bono work and how this has given career depth - this includes a focus on refugee rights and working with the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR.
10/1/202019 minutes, 39 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 21 - 'Building Radical Ideas'' with Raymond Asiimwe

Building Radical Ideas This week the podcast series moves to Uganda, the home of Bytelex Advocates in Kampala. Founding and managing partner, Raymond Asiimwe, chats to Tom Pearson about how East Africa is showing the way by exploiting regional strengths. Bytelex Advocates has been setting the pace for law firms in the region as it builds a client-base in the technology sector and is breaking ground through identifying opportunities for regional co-operation. “But it has been a delicate time,” Raymond admits, “Even so, Covid has helped us to innovate.” To manage its distributed teams and clients, the firm has innovated and developed systems that enable work to continue at a pace. “We have evolved... One example being a new document assembly tool for clients.” Tom probes Raymond about how he is recruiting young lawyers – especially to a field that demands an entrepreneurial and tech-informed mindset. Raymond says the firm’s Tech Start-up Ambassador Attorney Programme is how they identify talent. “We only recruit through this initiative - young lawyers who have completed the programme have a grasp of our clients’ needs.” They also discuss the upcoming event, Next.Legal, on October 23. This is an initiative aimed at opening channels between East African nations and developing connections that play to different strengths. Rwanda, for example, is an innovator’s dream, where the regulatory environment is “can-do” with vibrant sandbox development in the tech sector. While Kenya, for instance, has a robust financial sector and is where to look for investment. This enlightening conversation between two “tecchies” is about the challenges of taking the law into unchartered territory and finding the skills and out-the-box thinking that will make it an incredible journey. To register for the Next.Legal event, visit:
9/21/202020 minutes, 21 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 20 - 'Embraced not Stigmatised' with Greg Nott

Embraced not Stigmatised Greg Nott is head of the African team of the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright with a special focus on the energy sector - he is also super-athlete Caster Semenya’s lawyer. In this podcast he speaks to his good friend, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson, about a moment, more than a decade ago, when he realised he could not stand by and watch an injustice being done. Greg had been at home in Johannesburg watching the 2009 world athletics championship in Berlin where Caster won gold but was then told she would be subjected to sex testing. “I was aghast,” says Greg. It was later, while out walking his dog, that he realised he could not turn away from a situation so clearly wrong. Today he is still Caster’s lawyer and still at her side fighting battles that, he says, have more to do with north and south, rich and poor and black and white than athletics. All that he has witnessed, while at Caster’s side, is rooted in prejudice, he says. This week the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland dismissed Caster’s appeal against a Court of Arbitration in Sport’s ruling allowing the IAAF to impose new rules for competition around women runners with differences in sexual development. In the conversation Greg gives the legal context to Caster’s battle with the IAA. It was only a fellow African (from Senegal) in the IAAF who had ever really grasped the situation. The attitudes he sees continue to appal him. Tom highlights how Greg’s involvement in Caster’s legal battles is an example of the power lawyers hold in fighting wrongs. The conversation swings eventually to mental health and the challenges lawyers face in grappling with demons like addiction and stress in a world that is rooted in high-paced competition. Greg says, in his own life, Caster’s attitude and inner confidence in the face of immense obstacles has taught him a great deal about his own approach to life’s challenges. This is a frank conversation about integrity, self-belief, facing off injustice, fighting demons but, most of all, what it truly means to be African.
9/16/202024 minutes, 6 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 19 - 'Live The Change' with Nicolene Schoeman-Louw

Live the Change South African attorney Nicolene Schoeman-Louw was 24 when she founded SchoemanLaw Inc, using technology as the springboard from which to begin her career as an entrepreneur and lawyer. In this podcast, Nicolene tells Africa Legal’s resident technophile, Tom Pearson, about how pushing the boundaries enabled her to build a business that is now the epitome of what a modern legal service business can look like. “When I established SchoemanLaw Inc, I wanted lots of flexibility so I embraced technology to support my own motives,” she says. What gradually emerged was a highly efficient and cost-effective service that has been embraced by clients. In the podcast Tom asks if this way of practising law is likely to spark a “tech revolution” in Africa, but Nicolene says there are still too many hurdles to overcome before the full benefit of tech will be felt by Africans. “Connectivity, for one,” she says. “And this is also not only because of technical limitations, but because many people can’t afford to buy data. Until people can afford data we cannot use technology to bridge the access to justice divide,” she says. For lawyers though, leveraging technology can be the answer to a prayer and enhance their value. By using tech to complete more mundane legal functions tasks, lawyers can free up time and have more physical and mental energy to deal with issues creatively. Technology should enhance the lawyer’s offering rather than replace it, she says. The challenge though, still lies with the end-user, many of whom lack confidence and trust is some of the tech offerings available. Nicolene uses the example of internet banking, and then mobile banking, to illustrate how end-users need to be helped to the point of fully embracing what technology can do. To manage this, SchoemanLaw Inc has developed a tool called “Pocket Advisor” to marry the learning and implementation of experience. To enable people to fully take the next step into a world where technology can fulfil a job that in the past they would have entrusted to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of look, the lawyer, “really has to be human”, Nicolene says.
9/8/202020 minutes, 42 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 18 - 'Demystify The Struggle' with Nelson Ashitiva

Over the last decade Nelson Ashitiva has built his Nairobi law firm, Ashitiva Advocates LLP, into a respected legal brand, yet he started from nothing. In this interview he tells Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson why it is important to lay solid foundations for a structure to “go high”. Nelson is the senior partner and head of strategy for Ashitiva Advocates LLP and a mentor for many up and coming young lawyers. He says that too often new lawyers are driven by the desire to have flashy cars and big houses to illustrate their success when they have not yet done the spade work to properly establish themselves. “True wealth is not external but internal,” he says. “Many young lawyers are pushed to the brink and want success overnight.” “Nobody admires good foundations,” he admits, “But that is what is most important when building a structure.” Nelson tells Tom how he was recently called to speak to one of his young mentees who was threatening suicide because he felt he was taking too long to show signs of material success. Young lawyers need patience, he says, and they need to put in the time and work and then success will come. “They need to know it is okay to live in a humble abode and to stay within your means.” Tom then speaks to Nelson about expanding the firm – something which he had mentioned in an earlier interview with Africa Legal. Nelson said the firm now had two satellite offices. “But our model has shifted to the digital,” he says, “Expanding our physical space is no longer as important as it was. We believe we can meet our clients’ needs by growing our digital footprint.” This is a warm-hearted interview with a true legal entrepreneur and gives the listener real insight into a law firm and lawyer on the frontline of African legal services.
9/2/202028 minutes, 28 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 17 - 'Winning Formula' with Pieter Badenhorst

Pieter Badenhorst, Director: Legal and Compliance at the AFGRI Group is something of an enigma in inhouse legal circles in South Africa. His award-winning team at the AFGRI Group has broken records at the African Legal Awards, won innumerable international accolades, and regularly held up as a model of what an inhouse legal team should be. In this conversation, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to Pieter about what makes this winning team and how Covid is challenging them to find new ways of providing their service while maintaining the spirit that has set them apart. Pieter reflects on how, when he was tasked with building a legal service department for the business, he started by creating a “legal culture” within the organisation. It took time but gradually the new department gained the confidence of the other parts of the business. “The more they came to trust the legal team, the more complex the work became. This in turn led to more exposure and then more awards.” Pieter says the support of AFGRI’s senior management team and chief executive officer have been instrumental in the legal team’s success. His advice for any inhouse legal team is to understand the business of the company they serve and then to look to where they can add value. “Once others can see you are part of growing the business the trust will come.” At AFGRI, he says, the culture is to outsource as little work as possible with the legal services team confident that, because they know the business best, they are the ones for the job. Covid has emphasized the importance of being versatile, agile and having a diverse skill set, Pieter says. Being able to adapt in a short period and do more with less, has become critical. Join Pieter and Tom, for this inspiring conversation that speaks to all the challenges faced by inhouse lawyers doing their best during this impossible time.
8/26/202019 minutes, 51 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 16 - 'Justice Liberated' with Simba Mubvuma of LawBasket

Zimbabwean legal tech entrepreneur Simba Mubvuma and Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson have comfortable rapport in this easy-to-follow podcast about building access to justice for Africa’s small businesses and start-ups. Tom probes Simba about how Harare-based LawBasket has found a way for businesses with limited turnover to afford legal support. They also talk through a new idea that is seeing LawBasket work with two major insurance companies to build legal cover into policies. This is all part of ensuring that as many new businesses as possible are able to access the legal help they need if and when they are in trouble. LawBasket’s achievements have already drawn commendations from the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law when it was awarded second place at its southern Africa regional finals for legal innovation in Johannesburg last year. “Access to justice is something people talk about all the time – but how do we ensure that a small business can access legal services in a way that is affordable and that fits their needs,” Simba asks. The first thing is to confront the issue of financing by finding a way to ensure a business can afford to pay a lawyer, he says. To do this LawBasket works with lawyers on the ground across the continent, persuading them to charge a set fee so their potential clients, sourced through the LawBasket platform, know what they are in for, upfront. Simba then elaborates on how LawBasket is assimilating legal cover into insurance offerings. It’s a formula that can be replicated across jurisdictions, he says, something that LawBasket is looking to progress in coming months. “One of the challenges we have had is that many people have never used a lawyer before but, by plugging legal cover into other insurance, they can access support if they run into trouble.” He says they initially found that there was not much uptake on stand-alone legal insurance products but, when it was offered with other portfolios, clients were more open to the add-on. Join Simba and Tom for this fascinating discussion on using technology to solve the ongoing challenge of creating access to justice for all Africans.
8/18/202023 minutes, 57 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 15 - 'Footprints Across The Continent' with DOA Law

The partners from the boutique Lagos law firm Duale, Ovia and Alex Adipe are the special guests on this, the latest edition of the Africa Legal Podcast Series. Soibi Ovia, Adeniyi Duale and Oluwaseye Ayinla share their views on a host of issues from Covid, to technology, free trade and government policy. In this conversation, with Africa Legal editor Carol Campbell, the lawyers explain how they are helping clients navigate through the myriad of legal challenges thrown up by Covid-19. This has been especially challenging as government policy has become increasingly confused on how the emergency should be managed - often hampering rather than helping the economy. However, they agree, the tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians, combined with an enthusiastic consumerism, means that businesses are coping better than many in the West. Beyond Covid, the lawyers also address the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and look at how this will drive business in an economy that, while internally competitive, has not had to deal with the influx of that many major African corporates. Soibi talks about the rapid growth of technology in the justice sector and how the global move to a virtual world is expediting change on the ground – improving access to justice and promising efficiencies that were only a pipe dream before the pandemic. Finally, the trio agree that opportunities emerge in every crisis but, when it comes to maintaining health and safety, sometimes it is better to batten down the hatches. The firm has pulled together a useful guide on what Covid-19 means for African start-ups. Which can be accessed here: The team also speak about their recently published article 'Innovate for a Green Future' - which looks at the intersection of IP law and Green business.
8/5/202024 minutes, 28 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 14 - 'Opening Doors' with Saadatu Hamu

Saadatu Hamu is challenging stereotypes with her law firm Hamu Legal carving a niche in Nigeria’s private practice sector. It hasn’t been easy, she admits, especially when most Nigerians imagine a lawyer as a “big, old man” and not a “young woman from the north!”. In this podcast she speaks to Africa Legal’s Chief Operating Officer, Tom Pearson, about the challenges women still face in law, the Nigerian Bar Association’s elections and going to the United States to complete her LLM in National Security Law at Georgetown University. In Nigeria, she admits, the legal profession has been led by men but, as women play a greater role in business, this is gradually changing in law. But it is a constant challenge and, even in her own firm, the majority of lawyers are male, with two women associates coming through the ranks. “We need to create an environment that is inclusive,” she says, and also to find ways of finding and keeping female talent. The advantage of having women in a practice is their instinctual empathy for the plight of the client. “And, of course, legal problems are not unique to men,” she says. Moving on to her experience at Georgetown, Hamu says it was one of the best professional decisions she has taken as the issues around technology are global. Technology is also touching on every aspect of policy-making and there are many legal issues that need informed attention. This is a delightful conversation with one of Nigeria’s brightest minds, especially relevant to young lawyers coming up against barriers that can feel insurmountable.
7/27/202022 minutes, 34 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 13 - 'African Law Student Association' with Atiku M. Jafar

Atiku Jafar is a former president of the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria (Lawsan), a body that represents the 50,000 students studying towards legal degrees at 55 universities in Africa’s biggest economy. Jafar is currently working with Africa Legal to found the African Law Students’ Association and so bring together law students from across the continent. In this podcast interview he speaks about the importance of creating a culture in the legal profession that is focused on mentorship rather than exploitation. In so many parts of Africa young lawyers and interns are overworked and underpaid, with the situation in Nigeria among the worst. It is an issue that raises its head at every election of the Nigerian Bar Association but has yet to be dealt with, he says. With the NBA elections coming up later this month, Jafar says it is only strong leadership and a commitment to change that will improve the lot of young lawyers but, for the sake of the profession and justice in Africa, it has become an imperative. There is growing discontent, he warns, and with modern technology enabling easier communication, a growing groundswell of feeling that the current situation cannot continue. Jafar talks about his own inspiring journey and passion to become educated and eventually to become a lawyer. Strong mentors and the opportunities for internships have shaped him, he says. He touches on the challenges faced by law schools in Nigeria where much of what is being taught is out of date and no longer fit for purpose.
7/20/202022 minutes, 42 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 12 - 'Battling Prejudice' with Dr Funke Abimbola MBE

In a timeous and frank conversation, for this episode of the Africa Legal Podcast Series, Dr Funke Abimbola, chief executive officer and board advisor of the Austen Bronte Consultancy, speaks to Carol Campbell about racism and the fight for equality. Dr Abimbola was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her work in encouraging diversity, an honour that came as a complete surprise, she says. Of her Nigerian roots she is immensely proud, and while she has lived in the United Kingdom most of her life, it is the city of her birth, Lagos, that holds a special place in her heart. She has an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Hertfordshire - awarded for contributions to social and corporate diversity and her leadership and influence have been recognised by the Financial Times who listed her as being one of the top 15 ethnic minority leaders globally. In this podcast, aimed very much at emerging young lawyers in Africa, Dr Abimbola speaks about how to deal with racism in the workplace, referring specifically to the legal context, and using her own experiences as examples. Young people of colour have many hills to climb for recognition in the West, she warns, but tenacity, hard work and a hunger to succeed sets them apart. To listen to this wonderful conversation, which reflects Dr Abimbola’s optimism and hope for a fair and equal world, go to:
7/6/202021 minutes, 4 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 11 - 'No Bar to Learning' with Michael Akintola Phillips

Michael Akintola Phillips is a tax and dispute resolution counsel for Hermon Law in Lagos. He specialises in commercial and real estate law, among others. In this conversation with Carol Campbell he talks about how an altercation between a soldier and his mother at an ATM led him to become a lawyer. “I was just 16-years old and, when my mother was arrested on false information, I went to the police station and argued her case. The police asked me if I was her lawyer when I wasn’t even out of school yet!” Michael goes on to discuss the importance of education and mentorship for young lawyers saying that the end of legal education should not be the end of studying for any lawyer. Nigerian lawyers are fortunate, he says, in that they are able to gain access into top universities across the world. The challenge, he points out, is always funding. “It is time,” he argues, “for the Nigerian Bar Association and the African Bar Association to put together a welfare package that gives easy access to scholarships.” This would enable many more Nigerian lawyers to full reach their potential. This conversation is an illuminating discussion on the journey of one young lawyer from university to a top Lagos law firm and will appeal to young African lawyers across the continent.
6/29/202025 minutes, 21 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 10 - 'Stay Hungry' with Davidson Oturu

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast Series Davidson Oturu, a partner with ǼLEX, one of the largest full-service law firms in Nigeria and Ghana, speaks to Africa Legal editor Carol Campbell. Davidson is an expert in the protection of IP rights and trademarks and explains to listeners some of the idiosyncrasies of protecting intellectual property in the West African region. For instance, he says, even big brands like Apple and Microsoft could run into trouble if their brands are not registered in Nigeria. Someone passing off the brand as their own might get away with it unless the legitimate brand owner could convince a court otherwise. He explains that the Madrid Protocol, that enables trademarks to be registered in jurisdictions across the world, does not cover Nigeria. This means that companies wanting to come into the Nigerian market need to work with local law firms to ensure their intellectual capital is protected. Davidson is a member of the Africa Global Advisory Council of the International Trademark Association and also a member of the Steering Committee of the Labour & Employment Law Group of the International Section of the American Bar Association. In the time he has worked in the field he says there has been growing appreciation of trademarks and the importance of protecting innovation. In the podcast he talks about how technology is filling gaps even in the provision of legal services in West Africa and that Covid-19 has levelled the playing fields in law pushing everyone onto the internet.
6/23/202019 minutes, 27 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 9 - 'Scaling Heights' with KN Law

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast series Doreen Onwong’a and Emmanuel Mueke from KN Law in Nairobi speak about the rapid growth of this agile boutique firm based in Kenya’s capital and now also represented in the United Kingdom. Doreen, a partner, shares her journey into law and how she moved from being an in-house counsel within the finance sector to becoming a specialist in real estate, project finance, construction and capital market transactions. Emmanuel, a senior associate with a special focus on commercial dispute resolution and litigation, tells how his interest in business and public policy grew into a passion for law and justice. He explains how a mid-sized law firm, like KN Law, is more easily able to build a personal relationship with a client at a time when those needing legal services are demanding value for money. Emmanuel talks through the challenges companies face when they are in distress and how slow downs, like that which is currently being experienced because of Covid-19, can provide opportunities to restructure and look at debt. Doreen tells how the firm is building relationships with clients and partner law firms in the United Kingdom - with the recent relocation of KN Law’s founding partner Mugambi Nandi. She also addresses the issue of female empowerment in law and how women need to have confidence especially when they have put in the hard work.
6/16/202025 minutes, 15 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast Trailer

Welcome to the Africa Legal Podcast. Bringing you the right news, views and insights from across the African legal community.
6/12/202038 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 8 - 'ESG' with Stephen Shergold and Jennifer Kamerman

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast Series, we speak to Stephen Shergold and Jennifer Kamerman on the evolving role of ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) from both a corporate and public standpoint. We talk about whether ESG has already fallen victim to alternative priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic, exactly who should be involved in an ESG consultation and deployment exercise, whether ESG is purely 'greenwashing to attract investor cash and much more.
6/9/202031 minutes, 25 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 7 - 'Tipping Point Tech' with Raphael Segal

In an interview guaranteed to delight tech-lovers, Raphael Segal, director of Legal Interact, chats to Africa Legal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tom Pearson about a new app that has been developed to make lawyers’ lives easier. Legal Interact is a South African practice management software solution company based in Johannesburg. Its new mobile phone app, Fee-Trac, is enabling lawyers to consolidate their daily activities – including phone calls, meetings and mileage - on one screen making billing more accurate and far easier. In this conversation Raphael talks Tom through the development of the app. He says that Microsoft’s decision to open data centres in Africa was a game changer for Legal Interact as it became clear that mobile and ‘the cloud’ would be permanent fixtures on the local tech landscape. Key to this was Microsoft Azure which provided the platform to enable a business like Legal Interact to offer a compliant and secure service to its users - the legal community – and to do this across jurisdictions. Tom and Raphael talk about the impact of Covid-19 on remote working and how the cloud has become the enabler for a new way of communicating. They also discuss how, when testing the app, it was encouraging to see how easily lawyers picked it up and were able to use. Towards the end of the discussion Tom probes Raphael on the development of a new Bot. Raphael explains how the Bot will be able to use a host of media streams to answer questions. Finally, Raphael says that Fee-Trac is being offered free to users for 60 days during the Covid-19 lockdown giving anyone wanting to understand how it works and what it can mean for a business the opportunity for a trial run. Join Raphael and Tom for this easy-to-follow chat about new Africa-developed tech aimed specifically at lawyers.
6/8/202018 minutes, 38 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 6 - 'Local Flavour' with Michael Strain

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast Series we move to Tanzania to speak to Michael Strain, a partner with Clyde and Co in Dar es Salaam. Michael leads the firm’s corporate practice advising local and foreign companies on a wide variety of commercial and trade matters. His conversation with Africa Legal’s editor Carol Campbell offers unique insight into an investment environment that sometimes falls under neighbouring Kenya’s shadow. The economies of East Africa are extremely resilient, he says, and post Covid-19, there will be a bounce back. The podcast focuses on the challenges and opportunities for Private Equity (PE) in a smaller economy. PE in East Africa is a very different game, he warns, from countries like the UK, US and even South Africa. Almost all the money that is driving the PE industry comes through Development Finance Institutions. The purpose of this money should not be forgotten with impact, rather than return, often the driver of investment. Michael says there are not enough appropriate “homes” to accommodate available funding and the challenge remains to find a way to enable more start-ups to access financial support. Before leaving the United Kingdom nearly a decade ago Michael was a London solicitor but is now an advocate in Tanzania’s High Court. The country, he says, is one of the jewels of Africa and a place he is proud to call home.
6/2/202020 minutes, 12 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 5 - 'No competitors. Only communities' with Paras Shah

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast Series we speak to Paras Shah, a partner in Bowmans' Nairobi office, about life under lockdown and seeing blue skies ahead. Paras heads the M&A and projects team and is one of Kenya’s leading corporate and commercial lawyers. He explains how quickly the firm adapted to a new way of doing business, and that the transition has had silver linings. He confesses he is finding working from home surprisingly productive while enjoying more opportunity to be with his family and to exercise. A challenge for Kenya like so much of Africa, he says, is to ensure those outside the formal economy are enabled to make ends meet and that the suffering and desperation of the poor is not ignored. The law firm has risen to the occasion to do what it can to help the communities where it operates but also at national level where lawyers have engaged with governments to see where they can provide support. Most heartening has been the coming together of rival firms who are working together to chart a way forward for the legal and financial sector – stepping up to support and lobby governments where necessary. For Paras, there is always cause of optimism and, he says, post Covid-19 there will be new opportunities. Bowmans is expanding its African footprint reflecting a growing confidence in locally-based expertise supported by strong global relationships.
5/27/202026 minutes, 6 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 4 - 'Crime & Covid' with Barry Vitou

In this edition of the Africa Legal Podcast we speak to one of the world’s leading experts in the legal aspects of white collar and cyber crime. Barry Vitou is co-chair of Greenberg Traurig's Global White Collar Criminal Defense Practice and head of London’s White Collar Defense & Special Investigations Practice. Speaking to our editor, Carol Campbell, Barry explains why the “new normal” could mean businesses are exposed to an increased fraud risk. It is important that policies and procedures are updated so that staff working from home know exactly what the protocols are, he says. Very often it is at times of vulnerability that criminals pounce. “Everyone needs to be reminded of the procedures and managers must stay alert for anything out of the ordinary,” he warns. Barry has been interviewed before by Africa Legal when he spoke about the importance of doing due diligence before investing in any project. In this podcast he recaps this advice, warning again that paying a bribe is a fatal mistake no matter how big the potential deal.
5/19/202028 minutes, 24 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 3 - 'A view from Zim' with Farai Nyabereka

In this edition of the Africa Legal podcast series Farai Nyabereka, a partner at Manokore Attorneys in Harare, Zimbabwe speaks to Carol Campbell about the challenges of the “new normal” for the southern African nation.
5/7/202019 minutes, 3 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 2 'BAME Nation' with Ikenna Onyebuchi

We're joined by Ikenna Onyebuchi, co-founder of BAME Nation who are dedicated to supporting aspiring lawyers from BAME backgrounds. Join our discussion on the work of BAME Nation and hear Ikenna turn the tables to interview Scott Cowan, CEO and Tom Pearson, COO of Africa Legal on their vision for the platform, legal technology and the future for young African lawyers.
5/1/202045 minutes, 24 seconds
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Africa Legal Podcast - Episode 1 'The Great Reset' with Sherisa Rajah

Africa Legal Editor Carol Campbell speaks with leading employment lawyer, Sherisa Rajah, about the impact of Covid-19 on employment law, female empowerment, 'The Great Reset' and more.
4/21/202035 minutes, 8 seconds