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Kenyan firms Hamilton Harrison & Matthews (HHM) and Oraro & Company have announced they are to merge, pending regulatory approval.
The combined firm, HHM Oraro, will be one of Kenya’s largest with 17 partners and another 34 associates. HHM managing partner Adil Khawaja will be the managing partner of HHM Oraro.
HHM is Dentons’ associated firm in Kenya, although the relationship is non-exclusive and allows the Kenyan firm to work with other Anglo-Saxon outfits.
HHM Oraro is planning immediate expansion outside the capital Nairobi. A Mombasa office is scheduled to open on 1 August this year. Khawaja said the Mombasa launch will be followed by other offices elsewhere in Kenya.
In a statement, Khawaja and Oraro senior partner George Oraro said the merger would create a firm with the scale and resources to meet the growing and sophisticated needs of clients.
The merger comes at a time of change in the Kenyan legal market, which is embarking on a path towards liberalisation (11 June 2014). It also follows the departure late last year of HHM partner Paras Shah to join local rival Coulson Harney.
The move is one of the most significant developments in the Kenyan legal market since Coulson Harney’s foundation in 2008 by a duo splitting off from Kaplan & Stratton.