Africa’s in-housers lead the way in market development

In any job, building something from scratch is a challenge. One in-house lawyer who’s in the middle of this process at her company – and indeed in her legal market – is Adefunke Adeyeye, group head of legal at Silverbird Group.

Lucy Burton

Silverbird is one of Nigeria’s largest media companies, with a portfolio that includes beauty pageants and cinemas. But until Adeyeye’s arrival five years ago the company had never had its own legal function.

Her challenge was not just to build a legal team from nothing, but also to do it in a market which has been characterised in the past few years by an explosion in demand for consumer goods. Accompanying that growth is a new need for lawyers specialising in media and entertainment, and Adeyeye is relishing the chance to help lead the sector’s development.

But she is not the only in-houser playing a key role in her market’s growth. At South Africa’s utility provider Eskom, Neo Tsholanku is demanding that his panel firms commit to investing in the development of the local legal market.

Elsewhere, others are seeing that their role as general counsel is becoming increasingly prominent. Africa’s in-housers are set to be just as powerful as their counterparts in more developed partners of the world.

Lucy Burton
Senior Reporter

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