Consolidation is gathering pace in Africa’s legal services market with standalone law firms in four countries in north and west Africa coming under a single umbrella.
Morocco’s BFR & Associés, Algeria’s Bourabiat Associés, Ivory Coast’s EMIRE Partners and SD Avocats of Guinea have come together to form a new firm called ADNA, they said Thursday. The new firm will have four offices and more than 30 lawyers.
ADNA is led by managing partner Salimatou Diallo, who had formed SD Avocats eight years ago. She had previously worked at Herbert Smith Freehills and had a short stint at Lovells (now Hogan Lovells).
Diallo’s practice focusses primarily on mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and commercial, finance (including acquisition finance), project development and other matters, principally in the energy and natural resources sectors, in Francophone Africa.
The chiefs of the other three law firms are joining ADNA as founding partners.
Foued Bourabiat of Bourabiat Associes had also worked previously at Herbert Smith Freehills and Lovells before starting his own firm in Algiers. He has done deals in the Middle East and North Africa region across sectors like energy, consumer and healthcare.
Sydney Doramaud started EMIRE Partners in Abidjan in 2017. He had previously worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dewey & LeBoeuf and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
He focuses on advising commercial lenders, development finance institutions, project sponsors and private equity firms in sectors such as energy, mining, infrastructure, real estate and agriculture.
Safia Fassi Fihri had launched her independent firm BFR six years ago in Casablanca after working at Gide Loyrette Nouel and RMA Capital. She specialises in PE, M&A, project finance and capital market transactions.
The formation of ADNA follows another merger in April when Dentons, the world’s largest law firm by the number of lawyers, announced a combination with Nigeria’s Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun (ACAS-Law). The combination will give Dentons a presence in the capital Abuja and key cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt.
ACAS-Law has seven partners and 52 lawyers. It is 60% female-owned and led by a female managing partner. It is specially known for corporate and commercial, energy, project finance, dispute resolution, intellectual property and tax practices.
This itself came just over two weeks after Dentons launched a previously announced combination with Tanzanian law firm East African Law Chambers.