DLA Piper launches on the ground in Africa with two new offices

DLA Piper has expanded its presence in Africa with the launch of its own office in Casablanca, Morocco as of 5 October, to be followed by Johannesburg, South Africa in the first quarter of next year. These offices will complement and support the fifteen DLA Piper Africa firms across the continent.

Having a strong presence in both the north and south of the continent is a key element of the firm's strategy for Africa, where Morocco and South Africa have become two of the continent's main business hubs. In addition to the considerable business opportunities it offers, Morocco is developing Casablanca Finance City as an international hub and a leading gateway into Africa's fast-emerging markets. Johannesburg is already established as a major financial and corporate hub for those doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The firm's Casablanca office will be led by Christophe Bachelet as Managing Partner with partner Mehdi Kettani and counsel Mohamed Mahjoubi. Christophe has extensive experience in cross border mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the firm, he spent several years in Casablanca with Clifford Chance working across a wide range of sectors with both local and international clients.

Mehdi Kettani, a Moroccan partner admitted to the Casablanca bar, has more than ten years’ experience handling litigation and arbitration disputes and regulatory matters for local and international clients on commercial, banking, corporate, employment and technology issues.

Mohamed Mahjoubi represents and advises project sponsors, independent power producers, state-owned entities and African governments in the development of oil and gas, mining, power, water and infrastructure projects particularly in Francophone Africa.

The team in Morocco will be working alongside the firm's Paris office and its lawyers in Asia, the US, the Middle East and Europe to provide seamless and high-quality legal services to our clients internationally.

In South Africa, the DLA Piper office will consist of both international and South African lawyers. Michael Whitaker, former COO of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, has been appointed by the firm to assist in the development of the new office in Johannesburg.

Simon Levine and Jay Rains, Global Co-CEOs of DLA Piper, said: "Morocco and South Africa are amongst the strongest economic bases in Africa for many of our clients. Our strategy is driven by the needs of our clients so it makes absolute sense for us to open our own offices in both countries. Having an office in Casablanca is crucial to the continued development of our business in Francophone Africa and establishing our own presence in Johannesburg will enable us to better serve our clients there and beyond. These new steps align with and complement our existing Africa Group and the next steps in our plan to truly establish the DLA Piper brand across the continent. As our clients continue to build their operations and increase their investments in Africa, we will be there to support them."