South African law firm Bowmans is opening offices in Zambia and Malawi as its march across the continent continues despite the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In Lusaka its office will take the shape of standalone firm B&M Legal Practitioners — which has been set up by two former partners at Corpus Legal Practitioners — while in Lilongwe it has allied with boutique PFI Partnerships.
The latest expansion efforts come less than a year after Bowmans opened an office in Mauritius and launched an alliance with Ethiopian firm Assefa & Associates Law Office.
The Malawi and Zambia outposts take Bowmans’ office count up to nine across eight African countries.
Robert Legh, chairman and senior partner of Bowmans, said: “Now, more than ever before, we are focusing our vision of being the pre-eminent African law firm serving our clients wherever they are on the continent.”
Legh said the firm was pressing ahead with the openings so it is poised to take advantage of new opportunities when the pandemic eases and local trade and investment starts growing again.
He added: “Another consideration in our decision was the important roles that both Malawi and Zambia play as part of COMESA [the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa].”
In Malawi, the firm is teaming up with Elton Jangale, a barrister and chartered accountant who manages PFI Partnerships, a transactions advisory firm focused on corporate, finance and competition law, M&A, project finance, public-private partnerships and regulatory compliance.
Legh said: “The tie up will benefit our clients because it formalises an existing relationship and enables us to work together more closely to provide a seamless service in the competition and commercial law space, not only in Malawi, but in the region as a whole.”
In Zambia the firm’s office will be known as B&M Legal Practitioners to comply with Zambia’s practice rules and will be led by managing partner Mabyuto Sakala and partner Bwalya Chilufya-Musonda.
Sakala was previously managing partner at Zambian firm Corpus Legal Practitioners’ corporate advisory practice, based in Lusaka, and specialises in employment-related litigation and dispute resolution. Chilufya-Musonda also joins from Corpus, where she was a partner specialising in banking and finance. The pair will initially be supported by two senior associates.
Legh said: “We believe in Africa’s potential and are committed to supporting our clients and our people, as they seek to unlock opportunity, overcome challenges and realise the hopes that will shape the future of the continent.”
Last week, Italian firm BonelliErede’s Ethiopian partnership, Tameru Wondm Agegnehu, announced the addition of two new partners