Coffee Break ... with Eversheds Sutherland - 'Big firm, wide reach, strong reputation'

Africa Legal Podcast

12-10-2023 • 21 mins

In this Coffee Break podcast, Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson chats to John Kemkers, about Eversheds Sutherland’s continental footprint. With more than 100 legal experts working on Africa-related mandates, and offices in key jurisdictions such as South Africa, Tunisia, Angola, Mozambique and Mauritius, backed by partners and offices in London, Paris, Dubai and New York, Eversheds Sutherland has a global reach that few law firms can rival. All these offices frequently work in conjunction with a network of alliance firms called Eversheds Southern Africa Alliance (ESAA), which covers a further 30-plus jurisdictions. “We have broad coverage right across the continent,” says John Kemkers, Head of Africa Group for Eversheds Sutherland, whose focus areas include financial services, real estate and energy sectors. Having worked in both the UK and the UAE, Kemkers has managed disputes across the Middle East and Africa, which gives him valuable insights into the legal landscape of the region. “Our Africa work has two categories of work streams: the first is business-as-usual work for many of our global clients, and the second category, is largely generated and serviced by the Africa Group, working in conjunction with our ESAA firms. The main sectors that we are focusing on are in energy infrastructure, financial, TMT (technology, media and telecommunication) industries and consumer services. In terms of our practice areas and service lines, our focus is on corporate M&A projects and project finance and disputes,” Kemkers explained, adding that the team has worked in over 25 jurisdictions in Africa on significant energy and infrastructure projects, particularly in the clean energy space. Working on a continent with a population of 1. 4 billion spread across 54 countries with dozens of languages being spoken, understanding the local laws can be challenging. “In Africa, more than anywhere else, there is no substitute for local knowledge, and that's why we've grown our Africa network the way that we have. The upshot is that we have a genuine alliance which affords us and our clients access to strong, responsive local expertise,” commented Kemkers. He added that the firm’s local law experts are the assets of the firm, enabling Eversheds Sutherland to provide sector- and practice area expertise coupled with cultural awareness and an understanding of the relevant legal and business environments. Kemkers also elaborates on how the firm mitigates risks for their clients in countries with political instability, and further discusses the seamless cooperation between Eversheds Sutherland and their alliance network. He goes on to share a bold step the firm recently took with China’s foremost law firm, King & Wood Mallesons, and unpacks the exclusive cooperation among them – a benefit for clients investing and operating in Africa

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