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Legal market overview
March 2013 saw the first general elections to be held under Kenya’s new constitution which, contrary to the 2007 elections, passed largely without violence, prompting Kenya’s stock market to soar and law firms’ transactional workload to increase, particularly in relation to mergers and acquisitions.
The country’s reputation as East Africa’s largest and most advanced economy has attracted foreign investors over the years and, despite views that the September 2013 terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall might discourage tourism and also deter foreign investment, most observers do not see the incident as a long-term threat to Kenya’s economic prospects overall.
In addition to M&A, a number of large infrastructure projects are also keeping lawyers busy; the 2013 Public Private Partnerships Act has encouraged more PPP projects, which are gaining popularity across Kenya. In addition, the real estate sector continues to prosper, driven by development projects to meet the high demand for desirable residential property.
Anjarwalla & Khanna is the largest Kenyan law firm, and is part of Africa Legal Network (ALN), an alliance of independent African law firms. A number of other local firms thrive on alliances or strong links with international firms. The attorney general is in favour of allowing foreign law firms to operate in Kenya, and many local lawyers expect it will not be long before the law is amended to enable international firms to establish offices in the jurisdiction.