Africa is ‘next big thing’ for lawyers

23 May, 2013

According to a recent think tank hosted by BDO LLP and DMJ Recruitment, ambitious lawyers can dramatically boost their long term career prospects by working in African markets.


The general consensus of the panel ­ – made up of senior General Counsel and partners and directors from major firms such as SNR Denton, Mishcon de Reya and Clifford Chance – was that given Africa’s wealth of natural resources, it’s little surprise that six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries are on the continent. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in vacancies within international law firms operating across Africa.  


The panel found that benefits for legal professionals include; the chance to work on a variety of deals, get ‘closer to the action’, rise through the ranks quickly, and the associated financial reward. Participants made a point that the experience they gained on the continent was not just sought-after in Africa itself, but had allowed them to accelerate their careers when they returned to the UK. 


Commenting on the findings Justin Kopelowitz, Director of DMJ Recruitment, said; “Of course, countries within Africa are incredibly diverse, and there is a danger of overgeneralising the opportunities and challenges that working on the continent can bring. But is no secret that Africa encompasses many expanding markets and there is a growing demand for high-calibre legal professionals to service them”.


“It has been well documented that that the oil and gas sector is booming, and opportunities within arbitration associated with exploration and extraction are vast – most recently in Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, in recent years there has also been a sharp increase in opportunities across less obvious industries – particularly within more developed economies such as Nigeria and Ghana. Areas which are performing well include telecoms, agriculture, mergers and acquisitions, and infrastructure”. 

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