Portugal’s Miranda expands alliance into Cameroon

Portuguese-led alliance Miranda has added its tenth African office, tying up with Cameroon’s Abeng Law Firm as it continues to expand across the continent.

Abeng is the fourth firm to join the alliance from a francophone country, following Gabon, the Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (17 January 2013).

Rui Amendoeira, managing partner of Portugal’s Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados, said the firm had been looking at opportunities in Cameroon for some time and the office would not be the last addition to the alliance.

“We see economic growth activity and more importantly activity for existing clients,” Amendoeira told The Lawyer. “Over the years we’ve got enquiries from clients regarding activities in Cameroon. We started to channel these enquiries to a local lawyer. Things evolved to a point where we believed that there was enough prospects to set up an office there, and we had this existing relationship with Roland Abeng which was going quite well so we decided to take it a step further.”

Abeng Law Firm has 12 lawyers, led by founder Roland Abeng, and is headquartered in Cameroon’s commercial centre of Douala.

Amendoeira said all the alliance firms aim to work together in as integrated a manner as possible. Lawyers from Portugal are regularly seconded to alliance firms, and the arrangement also works the other way.

He added that the alliance intends to expand further, focusing on civil law African countries with an emphasis on the oil and gas sector, while also seeking to consolidate its existing footprint.

“We’re not going to open offices just for the sake of opening offices. The biggest opportunity now is to increase our activity iin the existing countries,” he told The Lawyer. “It’s a permanent challenge to deepen and increase activity in these jurisdictions.”

Amendoeira said expansion into anglophone Africa was unlikely as none of the alliance firms had common law expertise.

Miranda also has African alliance members in Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe, with other allies in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Macau and Timor-Leste.

Last year Miranda Correia became the first Portuguese firm to open a representative office in London, with the aim of channelling work through to Africa (15 November 2012).