Orrick’s Ivory Coast affiliate faces opposition from second professional association

The Ivory Coast association of legal consultants has joined the Ivory Coast bar association in voicing its opposition to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s plans to launch an affiliated office in the country.

In a press release printed in Ivory Coast newspaper Fraternité-Matin last week, the president of the Chambre Nationale des Conseils Juridiques, Ahmed Outtara, confirmed that the two lawyers tasked with leading the new office, Karamoko Fadiga and Sydney Domoraud-Operi, are members of the association. The release also confirmed that Fadiga and Domoraud-Operi had informed it of Orrick’s plans to open an affiliate in the capital Abidjan (20 October 2014).

But the release went on to say the association could not support the project and was opposed to it.

Outtara added that members – particularly Fadiga and Domoraud-Operi – were reminded they should abide the rules governing legal counsel or put themselves at risk of disciplinary proceedings.

In a statement Orrick said: “We appreciate the confirmation by the National Chamber that Karamoko Fadiga and Sydney Domoraud are legal counsels in good standing. Mr. Fadiga and Mr. Domoraud practice with the Ivoirian firm Orrick RCI, with which Orrick will partner to advise international investors in Cote d’Ivoire in project financings and other investment matters.

“Orrick RCI as legal counsels reaffirmed that they do not act in contentious matters before the Ivoirian tribunals. We look forward to the growth of Orrick RCI through the recruitment of additional Ivoirian legal counsels.”

The public announcement follows the news that the Ivory Coast Bar Association, which governs the activities of ‘avocats’ or advocates, had opened proceedings against Orrick (10 November 2014).

The country has a split legal profession. Legal consultants are required to have an academic qualification in law and have undergone at least three years of training, but they are not allowed to appear in court. That right is restricted to ‘avocats’, a regulated legal profession.