Baker & McKenzie opens third African office with Casablanca launch
26 Jul, 2012
Baker & McKenzie is further strengthening its presence in Africa with an office in Morocco to serve clients in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Casablanca will be the Firm’s third office in Africa and 71st overall.
The office opening reflects Casablanca’s increasingly important status as a gateway for investment in the Maghreb region. It will be led by Partner Kamal Nasrollah, who joins Baker & McKenzie with his team of senior lawyers from Paris-based August & Debouzy. Kamal opened August & Debouzy’s Casablanca office in 2007, and previously worked in Paris, New York and London for Sullivan & Cromwell.
The highly regarded team has particular experience advising on complex corporate deals and disputes in Morocco as well as on cross-border work, particularly with North African, West African and Middle Eastern countries. The team, based in Casablanca and Paris, also has extensive experience with large-scale cross-border projects and corporate reorganizations.
Casablanca is Baker & McKenzie’s fourth office opening in the past 18 months. In addition to opening in Johannesburg in May, it has recently opened offices in Istanbul and Doha. The Firm now has 71 offices in 44 countries, including 26 of the world’s 30 largest economies. It opened its first office in Africa in 1985, in Cairo.
“We are deeply committed to Africa and to clients who do business on this fast-rising continent,” said Eduardo Leite, chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s Executive Committee. “Africa now accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s foreign direct investment. This strong Casablanca team, together with our highly regarded teams in Cairo and Johannesburg, further enhances our ability to help clients navigate with confidence in the region.”
Koen Vanhaerents, chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s EMEA region, said: “We are very pleased to have Kamal and his team join Baker & McKenzie to help us become the premier law firm in North Africa and the wider continent. We can now offer clients market-leading Africa expertise both in global financial centers and locally on the ground in key African regions.”
Kamal Nasrollah added: “I have enjoyed nine years of exciting practice with my friend Gilles August and I am now looking forward to this new challenge. Baker & McKenzie’s global platform is unrivaled, and the Firm’s commitment to high-growth markets and quality advice makes this an exceptional opportunity for our team. We will be working closely with our new colleagues as, together, we open doors for clients in this vibrant market.”
Led by the Paris office, Baker & McKenzie has extensive experience advising clients on work in the French-speaking nations of North and West Africa. Lawyers from Paris, London and other offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific have long advised clients on high-profile transactions in Africa across a wide range of industries, including energy, natural resources, healthcare, IT and telecommunications and more. No law firm has advised on more cross-border transactions in Africa over the past four years, according to mergermarket data.
“With the growing dynamism of North Africa’s economies and their long history of trade with France, our new presence in Casablanca provides us with exciting opportunities to further assist our clients as they build their businesses and relationships across the region,” said Eric Lasry, managing partner of the Paris office.