US firms head to Africa

August 5, 2013 US law firms are increasingly looking to Africa for new opportunities as the continent ramps up its infrastructure and energy projects. The opportunities are many, say the leaders of the new Africa practice group at US law firm Williams Mullen.

Covington & Burling launched its Africa initiative last year after the hire of Witney Schneidman, a former adviser on African policy to President Bill Clinton and President Obama. Greenberg Traurig hired Jude Kearney, who led Patton Boggs’ international business practice group, to develop its Africa practice.

Kearney said: “It used to be that New York and Washington firms might focus a bit on Africa, but now firms with any amount of substantial commercial activity, particularly in certain industries, have at least begun to consider Africa as a region of activity.

“If you’re a firm with clients that are internationally active, you’d have to be almost willfully ignoring Africa not to focus on it. The time is now.”

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