Practices from Algeria, Morocco, Guinea and Ivory Coast join forces to form ADNA with further expansion in Africa planned
(lr) Salimatou Diallo, Safia Fassi-Fihri, Sydney Domoraud and Foued Bourabiat
Four law firms in North and West Africa have merged with the ambition to help develop the “next generation of lawyers on the continent” by creating a fully integrated African law firm focused on Francophone countries .
ADNA has offices in Algeria, Morocco, Guinea and Ivory Coast, bringing together Bourabiat Associés, BFR & Associés, SD Avocats and EMIRE Partners respectively.
With five partners and 20 other employees, his main areas of practice will be business, banking and finance, projects and litigation with a particular focus on the agriculture, energy, infrastructure and mining sectors. . He is a member of the Pan-African Alliance of Law Firms Africa Legal Network.
The managers of the boutiques that make up the merged company are longtime friends, all four having spent a significant part of their careers in large international companies, mainly based in Paris.
Conakry-based Salimatou Diallo, who is the managing partner of the new company, said it took two years to structure the deal which includes profit sharing between the partners. She said the plan was to expand to other French-speaking countries with ongoing discussions with two other companies, although more deals are not imminent.
She added, “We have all worked in international firms and understand the importance of having a regional platform for clients who will be drawn to our credentials and experience in various practice areas.
Diallo founded SD Avocats in 2013 after spending seven years in the Paris office of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), where she was of counsel. She has dual Franco-Guinean nationality and her practice focuses on the energy and natural resources sectors in Francophone Africa.
Foued Bourabiat was at HSF in Paris at the same time as Diallo, founding his firm of Algiers Bourabiat Associés in 2012. He advises investors and credit institutions in their investments and financing operations in Algeria and in the MENA region.
Its co-founder Safia Fassi-Fihri worked in the office of Bredin Pratt, Ashurst and Gide Loyrette Nouel in Cassablanca before moving internally as general counsel of the Moroccan wealth management company RMA Capital. She founded BFR & Associés in 2015.
ADNA’s quartet of founding partners is complemented by Sydney Domoraud, managing partner of EMIRE based in Abidjan, which focuses on the energy, mining, infrastructure and real estate sectors. Before creating EMIRE in 2017, he spent four years at Orrick, notably on secondment to his London office, then founded Orrick’s partner in Abidjan, Orrick RCI in 2014.
Pan-African law firms remain scarce, with most independent firms offering cross-border advice through network membership while many international firms continue to serve the market from offices in London and Paris.
In April, Dentons agreed to partner with Nigerian law firm Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun to become the second law firm in the world to operate in Africa’s largest economy.