International Law Firms see Opportunity in Africa

Regional Law Firms are Rising to the Challenge of New Competition

Mkono & Co. Provides Tier 1 Legal Services in Several East African nations


lawLegal services in Africa is a growth industry

Mkono & Co. has been providing legal services to discerning clients for nearly four decades. From its beginnings as a small firm in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it has grown to become one of the most important regional firms in East Africa, and has offices as far away as India. Its international team of experts stands ready to advise clients on the most complex issues relating to finance, corporate, environmental and other important areas of the law. Today, Africans are witnessing the arrival of European and American international firms hoping to cash in on the steady economic growth the continent is experiencing, but the jury is still out on whether these late arrivals will have the staying power of more established local and regional firms.


We all know that Africa is a land of opportunities, and law firms are well aware of this as well. In fact, during the past ten years, international law firms have begun to establish themselves on the continent, mainly getting involved in lucrative natural resources deals. They have opened offices in all parts of the continent: European firms Gide Loyrette Nouel and Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira have established practices in Morocco, while the San Francisco based firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe recently announced the launch of an affiliated office in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Baker & McKenzie -the world´s second biggest law firm- is trying to enter the Kenyan market.  Does this constitute a threat for local and regional law firms?


Regarding Orrick Herrington, ´s presence in Côte d’Ivoire, its chairman Mitch Zuklie stated that they do not intend to compete with local firms, but instead to advise foreign companies that invest in the region. He added “If we can help investment and if we can pay young professionals who can stay in Ivory Coast, this is also a good thing for the country.” 


Mkono & Co. is Ready to Meet the Challenge


Home grown law firms are taking notice and rising to the occasion. The truth is that the continent counts with leading and prominent firms that are well established and enjoy a reputation for excellent performance. A remarkable example is Tanzanian based Mkono & Co., one of East Africa’s leading law firms with a branch in Burundi, exclusive associations in Rwanda and Uganda, and cooperative agreements with firms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius and India.


Headquartered in Dar es Salaam, Mkono & Co. was founded in 1977 by MP Nimrod E. Mkono and provides a wide range of services in practice areas such as corporate, commercial and finance. Its team of lawyers come from the United States, Europe, India and the entire African continent, ensuring that its clients can take advantage of the broadest range of experience and expertise available anywhere in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. The firm has been particularly successful in attracting talent from in-house counsel departments of major corporations, international law firms and renowned universities. Its clients include top corporate entities and governmental institutions.


The firm has received multiple quality awards and awards for legal leadership, including a Tier One ranking by Chambers Global, first earned in 2000. It is also an ILFR Top Tier Firm for financial and corporate as well as for energy and infrastructure. Mkono & Co. was elected by Corporate International Magazine as Law firm of year 2010 in Tanzania in 6 Categories: Insolvency/Bankruptcy, Energy, Capital Markets, Banking & Finance, Arbitration, and Intellectual Property, and has been recognized as a Tier 1 law firm by multiple international directories. Mkono & Co offers a variety of legal services at a global level, specializes in assisting investors navigate the shoals of unfamiliar business waters, and is a member of Terralex, giving them even a more global reach.


Legal Expertise Combined with Caring for the Community




Success in the courtroom and in the boardroom is important, but being a responsible corporate citizen also drives the lawyers at Mkono & Co.  Attorneys from the firm are deeply involved in the places where they live and work, whether it is by providing pro bono services, support of school projects, construction of a medical ward in Bunda or sponsoring a windmill project to provide clean drinking water where it is scarce. Partners and associates alike are committed to making their communities a little bit better.


Many believe that the potential for growth is greatest in Africa, and the entry of international law firms on the continent is a sure sign that such growth is on the way. It will be up to local and regional firms to continue to up their game in order to compete with these much larger firms by providing local expertise and personal service while developing the size and legal muscle to keep important clients and acquire new ones. The firms that manage to capitalize on their home field advantage and deliver world class service, like Mkono & Co. have a bright future indeed.


Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Mkono & Co. has been selected  to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.

About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management.  A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.


The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.


Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated.  The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.