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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Kenya > Banking and finance and capital markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Anjarwalla & Khanna remains active in larger international financings, syndicated loans and restructurings. The firm advises a number of development finance institutions (DFIs) and banks and a range of borrowers and sponsors. It advised Swissport Kenya on the restructuring of its term loan B, a senior secured high-yield bond and a senior unsecured high-yield bond. The group also assisted Liquid Telecommunications Finance with its proposed $700m high-yield bond. Sonal Sejpal has a big local and international reputation, along with Mombasa partner Akash Devani and Mona Doshi. Project finance expert Amyn Mussa and senior associate Anne Muruka are also recommended.

Bowmans has experienced an increase in instructions pertaining to syndicated lending to government and state entities, while large corporate loans and debt restructuring continue to be a core part of the practice. The firm remains a market leader in debt capital markets (DCM) issuances; recently, it advised the mandated lead arrangers on an $800m medium-term loan facility to the government of the Republic of Kenya. Paras Shah is a renowned figure in the market, while department head Kamami Christine Michira has ‘strong capital markets capabilities’ and ‘insights around how to interpret various regulations’. Cornelius Kigera is a banking sector veteran and Richard Harney is recommended for debt restructuring.

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates is ‘very responsive and innovative’, ‘attuned to the industry’ and has an outstanding record in projects and infrastructure finance, real estate finance, and syndicated as well as general lending. The firm, which is also ‘supportive throughout the transaction’ and provides ‘a commercially and legally viable way forward even in the most complex of deals’, is on the panels of the majority of local banks and has close connections to major DFIs, such as African Development Bank. In a recent highlight, it advised Gulf African Bank on arranging a Tier II subordinated debt facility from Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank. Anne Kinyanjui leads the team, which includes the ‘very resourceful’, ‘innovative’ and ‘go-to lawyerJames Kamau, real estate finance specialist Amrit Soar and Norah Mutuku.

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates has a large and multi-skilled team that covers most finance products. It is ‘above all other firms in Kenya in terms of quality’, according to one client that emphasises its ‘excellent service’, while another notes its expertise with Asian clients and its ‘commercially oriented advice’. The team advised Victoria Commercial Bank on a series of capital raising exercises including a rights issue, private placement, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) issue and a bonus issue. Oliver Fowler and Binti Shah are ‘real stars’ who ‘understand the commercial aspects’, ‘offer solutions’ and ‘know exactly what middle ground would work for both sides of the table’. Ruth Kirunga is an ‘up and coming star’, ‘diligent’ and ‘hardworking’. Mahesh Acharya is recommended for capital markets deals.

Walker Kontos Advocates primarily operates in the high-end financing space, including refinancings, corporate finance and project finance. The firm also saw an increase in export-based and commodity finance in the agriculture and flora sectors and experienced an uptick in top-end real estate finance. A team led by Deepen Shah advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) on a $100m financing to Equity Bank (Kenya) to support the growth of its SME portfolio, including women-owned SMEs. Michael Kontos is a formidable force in energy and renewables financings and is well supported in this area by Diana Situma and Rahma Karanja. Peter Mwangi is recommended for capital markets issuances.

Hamilton Harrison & Mathews has impressed in the restructuring and sovereign lending fields; it advised the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) on several financings including the financing of the construction of the Nairobi Internal Container Depot Yard and Access Roads Project by Kenya Railways. The firm is ‘one of the best’ in capital markets and corporate finance, according to one client, with Andrew Mugambi and Richard Omwela as the senior figures in the team. Adil Khawaja is commended for his ‘knowledge and experience’ and Sigee Koech is also highly reputed.

Daly & Inamdar Advocates has a lengthy history in capital markets transactions, representing some of the biggest corporate issuers in the market. It recently advised the Central Depository & Settlement Corporation on the proposed M-Akiba bond issue by the government of Kenya. Julius Wako is recommended for banking and finance transactions.

MMAN Advocates packs a punch in aviation finance, including for lessors and lenders, with Suzanne Muthaura having a particularly strong standing in this field. Corporate lending is also a key area for the practice, which counts Equity Bank, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Cessna Finance, Barclays Bank of Kenya and BOC Aviation among its client base.

Mboya Wangong'u & Waiyaki Advocates is ‘undoubtedly the leading firm’ in capital markets according to one client. It is at the forefront of REIT listings, exchange traded funds (ETFs), derivatives and securitisation. The ‘knowledgeable’ Peter Waiyaki advised ABSA Barclays on the establishment of the first ever ETF in Kenya, which involved a secondary listing of Gold Bullion Debentures on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

Oraro & Company Advocates is noted for restructuring, refinancing and capital markets issuances. Clients include Barclays Bank of Kenya, Commercial Bank of Africa, Development Bank of Kenya and Bank of Africa. Pamella Ager has a wealth of experience across multiple financing product areas.

Tripleoklaw Advocates has a broad banking client base and notable expertise in corporate lending, capital markets and restructurings. It advised Prime Bank on a KS237m loan to Leisure Lodges. Jinaro Kibet and Tom Onyango are the key partners; associate Janet Othero is another name to note.

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