Baker & McKenzie seeks closer ties with African relationship firms

Baker & McKenzie is making efforts to deepen its relationships with African firms, last week hosting a meeting for 25 local firms from across the continent in London.

Representatives from 13 countries attended Baker & McKenzie’s inaugural African Relationship Law Firm Conference last week (21/22 November), including lawyers from countries such as Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

Baker & McKenzie Europe, Middle East and Africa chair Koen Vanhaerents said the conference was designed to build closer links between Baker & McKenzie and its relationship firms across the continent.

“We’ve been working with a lot of law firms in Africa, but to be able to deliver on client demand we wanted to build closer relationships with these firms,” Vanhaerents said.

He said the key focus for the conference was for both the African firms and those Baker & McKenzie partners working in Africa to understand each other’s needs better, as well as improve their understanding of what clients wanted from the region. Issues such as pricing models and regulatory issues specific to certain jurisdictions were among the topics on the agenda.

Vanhaerents added that the African firms had been consulted over what they wanted from the conference and the relationship with Baker & McKenzie, and the message was that they wanted to be involved in building the client relationships as part of a team, “rather than us imposing what we want to do”.

Baker & McKenzie currently has three of its own offices on the ground in Africa. It has been present in Cairo for a long time, and last year added Casablanca (25 July 2012) and Johannesburg (29 May 2012) to its office list.