30 October 2012

International Law Firm Herbert Smith Freehills to Open Office in Conakry, Guinea

- Office marks an important step in firm's developing pan-African strategy

26 October 2012 - International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills announced today that in early 2013 it will be opening an office in Conakry, the capital of Guinea in West Africa. 

The office will initially be headed by Bertrand Montembault, a leading projects partner for Africa currently based in the firm's Paris office, assisted by senior associate Salimatou Diallo. The office will have a regional focus on corporate and projects work in West Africa. Guinea is one of the fastest growing economies in the region and of particular interest to Herbert Smith Freehills' energy and infrastructure clients. 

The news follows the merger of Herbert Smith and Freehills on 1 October 2012 to form Herbert Smith Freehills, the largest fully integrated law firm in Asia Pacific and the world’s eighth largest law firm. Establishing an Africa office is an important step in the development of a single global platform that is central to the strategy of the new firm. 

Legacy Herbert Smith was active in Africa for three decades and enjoyed a market leading reputation across the continent, fielding one of the largest teams of common and civil law lawyers dedicated to Africa work and having acted on numerous high profile matters across its international network of offices. The firm had developed a particular reputation as the pre-eminent law firm for African and international corporates seeking to invest in Francophone West Africa and had advised on major projects in Guinea for many years.

Legacy Freehills also had a long history of working across the continent of Africa on resources projects and also in the areas of finance, infrastructure and disputes.

Stéphane Brabant, the head of Herbert Smith Freehills' Africa practice, said, "Having a presence in Guinea is a clear demonstration of our commitment to being a firm that works in Africa through Africa, and we want both our clients and local communities to benefit from this presence. Our Conakry office will for example give us an opportunity to support the development of graduates and young lawyers in Guinea and the West African region, and also to support the investment that is being made in legal resources for the country and the broader region." 

Jonathan Scott, Senior Partner of Herbert Smith Freehills, said, "A major priority for Herbert Smith Freehills over the next few years will be to grow our on-the-ground African capability in line with our developing pan-African strategy. The broader context for this is the firm's commitment to develop an integrated global platform. Such a capability will enable us to provide an end-to-end service aligned to the investment corridors being built between Africa and countries such as China, India, Japan, Russia and Australia." 

Herbert Smith Freehills has more than 2,800 top-flight lawyers, operating from over 20 offices across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America. 

Source: Herbert Smith Freehills