Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP was the only indigenous East African Law firm shortlisted as among the top nine (9) Law Firms in Africa in the Intellectual Property (IP) Category for the prestigious African Legal Awards held recently. The firm beat dozens of established and large Kenyan and East African law firms to be shortlisted as the Finalist for the Africa’s “IP Team of the Year 2021” as the only law firm from East and Central Africa.
“We were delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious IP Team of the Year 2021 award by African Legal Awards. We are thankful for the team support and client trust, and cherish the established relationships which earned us this humbling nomination. For us, this IP Award nomination is a clear sign that our Intellectual Property Practice has earned continental attention and it is time to take it to world-class,” said Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP in a Media Statement.
Indeed, it is proof of the growing reputation of Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP in IP law that the firm was nominated in the IP Category alongside leading African law giants. Other nominees included the ENS Africa, the largest law firm in Africa with 472 lawyers and operations in 7 countries, Bowmans, third largest law firm in Africa with 388 lawyers and operations in 6 countries and Webber Wentzel, one of the largest law firms in South Africa and the 5th largest law firm in Africa with 311 lawyers.
The other firms that were shortlisted for the most coveted IP award in Africa next to Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP include the leading Nigerian Law Firms, Aluko & Oyebode (ranked 18 in Africa’s top 50 law firms with 81 lawyers), Jackson, Etti & Edu (ranked 36 in Africa with 40 lawyers), Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe and The New Practice (Winner of IFLR Africa M&A Deal of the Year Award, 2021). The IP Team Award was won by AELEX (ranked 25th in Africa with 60 lawyers).
Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP has an impressive record in advising and defending clients on the Image Rights which blends with other factors like privacy and data rights, Copyright (the firm represented one of the biggest insurance entities in Kenya on a copyright breach worth US$1.46M), Patent legal services including search services, monitoring, and registration services, Trademark legal services and Trademark Watchdog Service as well as Domain & Trademark which entails securing rights to trademarks from infringement by registration of Domain Names.
In addition, Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP has a strong reputation as a full-service boutique corporate commercial law firm. The IFLR1000 profiles the firm as “an innovative and strategic legal service provider in Kenya which blends both traditional and innovative practices to enhance the provision of legal solutions.” The first’s philosophy is that the client’s target is always its target and its legal team is always looking for strategies to attain the best possible outcome for client.
The firm has built enviable reputation as a legal specialist law firm focused on strategic litigation and offering advisory services to clients in Kenya and Africa and across the world including the European, Asia, Middle East, Australia and North America as a member of Globalaw, the leading network of 89 Independent Law Firms with over 4000+ lawyers spread across the world – covering 76 countries and 177 cities. This cross-border strategic legal alliance helps the firm’s corporate and private clients to invest and secure prime immigration permits as well as citizenship
Ong’anya Ombo Advocates LLP service offering combines the traditional and innovative means to provide local and international clients unique legal service experience. The firm’s lawyers are always seeking ways to create a unique environment and understand every client’s legal need and pursue a defined solution that best serves their objectives. In February 2021, the firm was recognized by Business Daily Africa in 2021 for its international collaboration program with a global law firms to enable Clients to access markets in foreign countries for business opportunities.
The firm’s service categories include strategic litigation and alternative dispute resolution, property and banking law, policy monitoring & legal audit, corporate and commercial law, and strategic legal consultancy or advisory services. The firm is well known for thought leadership in cyberspace and telecommunication law, employment and corporate immigration law, energy law, fashion, media & entertainment law, gambling law, procurement law, intellectual property law, mergers & acquisitions, oil & gas, real estate, securities law, tax law & business structuring.
The firm principals are Jack Brian Ong’anya, the Managing Partner and In-charge Litigation and Dispute Resolution and Ombo Malumbe, Partner and Head of Corporate Law and Cross Border Practice. Other key members of the Legal team include Allan Mukuki, Flora Okonji and Sophia Khalid. The firm’s client portfolio comprises high net worth local and foreign individuals, local and international corporate clients.
CR Advocates LLP is the Kenyan Law Firm to Watch in 2023 after Epic 2022
The year 2022 was a year of many firsts for CR Advocates LLP as the firm defied every theory of law firm growth to emerge as a top mid-size firm in Kenya. In the wake of its rise to the top, CR Advocates LLP scooped two top legal awards and earned its place in the law listings in the country among the Top 20 Law Firms in Kenya.
First, CR Advocates LLP as a firm came of age by emerging as the top recommended law firm in Kenya by highly-rated The Lawyers Global. CR Advocates LLP was the Winner of the Legal Award of The Lawyers Global ranking in Kenya based on reviews by clients and independent analysis by the directory. It beat top tier firms including Gikera & Vadgama Advocates and Walker Kontos Advocates to scoop the coveted award.
Second, CR Advocates LLP made a debut into THE LAWYER AFRICA Top 100 Law Firms in Kenya List which is based on headcount and reputation for excellence. The firm emerged among the TOP 20 LAW FIRMS IN KENYA by headcount having two dozen fee earners within its ranks. In this category, CR Advocates LLP stands shoulder to shoulder with many seasoned law firms including Mohamed Muigai LLP, Robson Harris LLP and Mboya Wangong’u and Waiyaki Advocates.
Third, CR Advocates LLP was shortlisted for the Nairobi SME Law Firm of the Year Award at Nairobi Legal Awards. The award recognizes the top mid-size law firms in the country. As if that was not too much already, CR Advocates LLP beat a dozen established law firms to emerge as the overall winner of the prestigious award with Igeria & Ngugi Advocates emerging as 1st Runners Up and McKay Advocates as 2nd Runners Up.
The overall result is that the firm of CR Advocates LLP begins the year 2023 as the top law firm in Kenya being the reigning award winner of both SME Law Firm of the Year Award 2022 and The Lawyer Global Legal Award Kenya 2022. In addition, the firm is now confirmed as being amongst the top 20 law firms in Kenya by THE LAWYER AFRICA.
The quick-paced upward trajectory of CR Advocates LLP which has earned it the reputation of disruptor in the corporate and commercial law scene is attributable to excellent client service and consistently efficient, reliable and cost-effective legal services. The firm boasts over 25 legal professionals most of whom are leaders and rising stars in their respective specialist practice areas.
CR Advocates LLP clientele ranges from established multinationals to state corporations and emerging SMEs and Startups as well as individuals clients. Founded in 2013 by Princess Caroline Mutisya, one of Kenya’s top Real Estate, Commercial and Corporate Law Attorneys, the firm is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year as it pivots to embrace its new status as a leading law firm in the country and to set the stage to dominate the legal scene for the next decade.
There is no doubt CR Advocates LLP is the law firm to watch this year as every move the firm’s Managing Partner Princess Caroline Mutisya and her team makes is bound to shake the legal sector. The firm is admittedly a case study for legal services sector analysts seeking to seeking to unearth the secret of building a top law firm from the bottom up within a decade.
Bowmans Expands its Tax Practice in East Africa
Bowmans has made a substantial investment in its tax capacity in East Africa by expanding its Tax Practice in Nairobi with recruitment of four (4) associates. Senior Associates, Fredrick Ogutu and Patience Mbugua, joined the firm on 1 May 2022. This is in addition to Associates Lynet Mwangi and Bernard Kirii who joined the firm on 1 March 2022, adding further depth to the firm’s tax service offering.
Before joining Bowmans, Fredrick was a manager in the tax and legal department of audit firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. He has extensive experience in providing tax advisory on both local and international/cross – border tax issues, tax restructuring, tax support in mergers and acquisitions, tax due diligence, tax dispute resolution, tax compliance and assessment of tax risks across various sectors.
Patience Mbugua previously worked in the tax dispute resolution department of the Kenya Revenue Authority (“KRA”), where she gained considerable experience in handling tax disputes involving taxpayers in various sectors. Prior to that, she worked for an audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and has considerable experience in providing a wide array of tax services including direct and indirect tax compliance, tax reporting, tax advisory, KRA audit support, tax dispute and tax litigation.
Lynet previously worked in the tax and regulatory services department of audit firm, KPMG East Africa, as well as Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Matthews. She has wide experience providing tax services, including tax advisory and structuring, KRA audit support, tax dispute resolution and regulatory compliance. Bernard Kirii joined Bowmans from KPMG East Africa, where he specialized in tax dispute resolution services for clients; tax optimization; tax restructuring; and tax advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions.
According to Bowmans, the expanded tax team helps expand the firm’s tax offering especially by providing additional assistance in mergers and acquisition transactions, including undertaking tax due diligence reports; tax restructuring and optimization involving both local and international/cross border entities; assistance with KRA audits; and conducting tax health checks on all tax heads. These services are in addition to the current tax advisory and tax dispute resolution services provided by Bowmans.
“We are pleased that the team has chosen Bowmans as their new home, and we are confident that they will enhance the tax service that we offer our clients across our geographical footprint,” said Bowmans Tax Partner and Head of Tax Practice Alex Mathini. Alex has been ranked by Chambers & Partners for the last six (6) consecutive years and Chambers Global Guide 2022 ranks Alex among the Top 2 Lawyers in Tax Law in Kenya.
In addition to Alex and the four new associates, Bowmans Tax Practice in Nairobi includes Andrew Oduor (Tax Partner), Samuel Githanda (Senior Associate), Nelly Chepkoeach (Associate) and Maurice Muma (Associate). Andrew Oduor is a tax practitioner of sixteen (16) years who is active in tax litigation, tax compliance and tax advisory services. He is the Kenyan contributor to an annual Global publication by Thomson Reuters Practical Law on Tax Litigation in Kenya.
BOWMANS SOUTH AFRICA: JSE Consultation Paper to Reform Listings Framework
By Mili Soni (Senior Associate) and Charles Douglas (Co-Head of M&A), Bowmans, Johannesburg, South Africa. Bowmans is the 3rd Largest Law Firm in Africa as ranked in Africa Top 50 Law Firms in 2022, with over 400 specialist lawyers providing integrated legal services throughout Africa from eight offices (Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Kampala, Moka and Nairobi ) in six countries.
As part of the JSE’s active focus on remaining relevant and competitive in order to retain and attract more listings and capital markets activity, the JSE has released a further consultation paper considering the following proposals:
- Market segmentation: It is proposed that mid/low-cap companies be provided with regulatory relief by splitting the current two-tiered equities market from the Main Board and AltX into two segments at Main Board level and establishing a growth board (for SMEs to have an effective and appropriate level of regulation depending on the market cap and level of liquidity concerned).
- Dual class shares: The introduction of dual class shares is being proposed (i.e. low or high voting shares, being shares of different classes holding different numbers of votes per shares).
- Technology Board: The JSE would like to establish a Technology Board to invite tech IPOs to take place through more inclusive and adaptable listing rules to support technology and innovation enterprises. It is anticipated that this would allow, inter alia:
- dual class share structures;
- no profit or qualified audit opinion over the last two years;
- a lower threshold for subscribed capital;
- a lower level of equity shares in issue and a lower free float threshold; and
- broader ranges for cat 1 and 2 transactions and issue for cash authorities.
- Free float: The 20% free float threshold for a Main Board listing is a deterrent to listing and may be reconsidered, alongside reconsidering public spread criteria as applied to institutional investors.
- Depositary receipts: The JSE would like to allow African listed companies to access the JSE through depositary receipts to gain exposure to African listed securities.
- Simplification of the JSELR: The aim is to use plain language and reduce the volume of the JSELR.
- Auditor accreditation: This may be removed for applicants whose auditors are regulated by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA).
- REIT expansion: The JSE is considering expanding its REIT offering beyond property (e.g. to include infrastructure).
- Review of SPACs: Further alignment with international leading markets is sought to ensure the attractiveness of SPACs.
- Financial Reporting Disclosures: The JSE aims to simplify these.
- Actively Managed Certificates and Actively Managed Exchange Traded Funds: Expansion of specialist securities offerings is in the pipeline.
- Specialist securities rejuvenation project: The JSE intends to remove administrative provisions and align the provisions with international best practice going forward.
- Repositioning the BEE segment: Simplification of the BEE Listings Requirements is sought to allow BEE companies to list on a stand alone basis, where trading will only be allowed between eligible BEE participants.
- Review of Secondary Listings Framework: The JSE would like to expand its list of approved and accredited exchanges to facilitate these (e.g. the Singapore Stock Exchange was added to the list in 2021 and also qualified for the fast-track secondary listing route).
The JSE invites comments by Monday 20 June, after which it will engage with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for approval.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Follow this link to read the Original Article published in the Bowmans Website. The Copyright © for the article belongs to Bowmans and the Authors. For any further information or clarifications on the above matters, please contact: Charles Douglas and Mili Soni.
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