Legal Week Launch African Legal Awards 2017

The African Legal Awards has launched today (27 April), with a call for entries from international and African law firms as well as in-house legal departments and general counsel.

Hosted by Legal Week and the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa (CCASA), and supported by The American Lawyer, the awards – which are in their fifth year – will take place on 8 September at The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Key awards include International Law Firm of the Year, African Law Firm of the Year (Large and Small Practice), General Counsel of the Year and Legal Department of the Year (Large Team and Small Team). The practice area awards cover: M&A; banking, finance and restructuring; competition and regulation; employment; IP; litigation and dispute resolution; environmental, energy and natural resources; TMT; transportation and infrastructure; and property and construction.

Key winners in 2016 included Clifford Chance, which was named International Law Firm of the Year; Kenyan firm Anjarwalla & Khanna, which won the award for African Law Firm of the Year – Large Firm; and Standard Chartered, which collected the award for Legal Department of the Year – Large Team category. South African firms ENSafrica, Bowmans and Linklaters ally Webber Wentzel all had successful nights, each scoring a hat-trick of awards.

The evening will culminate in the announcement of the winner of the CCASA Achievement Award, which is chosen by the association and last year went to outgoing public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Despite sluggish growth in Africa, due to low commodity prices and ongoing governance concerns, international law firms continue to be attracted by its potential.

In March, Baker McKenzie chairman Paul Rawlinson told Legal Week the firm was targeting Africa’s mining and infrastructure and consumer sectors, while in January Pinsent Masons became the latest UK firm to open in South Africa after recruiting an eight-strong team of Bowmans lawyers including two partners. In the same month, Norton Rose Fulbright bolstered its presence by acquiring four-lawyer commercial law boutique Keller Snyman Schelhase in Cape Town.

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