The days when firms insisted that the African market could be served just as well out of their European offices could be coming to an end, as Clifford Chance announces the details of its first African outpost just days after A&O did the same.
Morocco, or more specifically Casablanca, has emerged – amidst a flurry of puns – as the destination of choice due to its hub status, relative stability and sophisticated banking market.
Clifford Chance announced yesterday that it would be launching its own gin joint – sorry, office – in Casablanca by the end of the year, with Paris partner Mustapha Mourahib relocating to the city along with four associates
The firm wants to double the size of the office during the course of 2012, but first-mover A&O appears to have got the cream of the Casablancan crop, scooping M&A star Hicham Naciri and two more lawyers from Gide Loyrette Nouel – Naciri & Associés (see story).
The lack of well-known local lawyers in the region may make office launches and growth more difficult for other firms that want to get in on the action in Casablanca. It could well be that there’s just no usual suspects left to round up.