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Zambia’s well-established legal market is dominated by a small number of firms – Chibesakunda & Co, Corpus Legal Practitioners and Musa Dudhia & Company – providing a full-service offering to high-profile domestic and international clients. Good smaller firms compete in their core practice areas. Foreign firms do not have a direct presence on the ground, but do instruct several local firms on a range of international mandates.

The mining industry is a key driver of commercial legal work in Zambia, with the copper industry dominating the sector. Despite a recent slump in prices, it still provides a steady flow of work for firms. The renewable energy market is showing signs of growth, with a number of projects planned, particularly for solar energy, where the government has announced its intention to increase solar power capacity by 2016. Firms note that international investment from China has jump-started a number of construction projects in the country. Litigation is also a key component of the practices of most law firms, as are corporate, commercial and M&A mandates, with most firms providing general advice on a range of practice areas.

Most of the recommended firms are based in the capital, Lusaka. The local currency is the Zambian kwacha (denoted as ZMW).

A member of the DLA Africa alliance, Chibesakunda & Co is ‘highly regarded in the Zambian legal market’, and is noted for its prowess in banking, finance and M&A, as well as in capital markets transactions. It advised Barclays Bank and Deutsche Bank as joint bookrunners of Zambia’s $1bn second sovereign bond issuance and acted for Stanbic Bank Zambia on the establishment of a ZMW1bn medium term note programme. It is also acting for Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation on the financing of a 150MW hydropower station. The five-partner firm includes the ‘brilliant’ Mwelwa Chibesakunda, who is ‘experienced’ in commercial work, and Chikosola Chuula, who heads the litigation and dispute resolution department. Chileshe Chileshe and Sevie Panayotopoulos are also recommended.

Corpus Legal Practitioners is ‘rarely far away from the biggest transactions in Zambia’. Its six-partner team has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and ‘significant experience’, and is adept at advising on the full range of banking, finance, M&A, capital markets, disputes, energy, mining and infrastructure matters. Senior partner Charles Mkokweza is ‘a remarkable legal mind’ and ‘a true expert in mining law’, while Mabvuto Sakala has ‘considerable experience in litigation’ and adopts ‘a strategic approach’. Sharon Sakuwaha heads the banking and finance practice, Sydney Chisenga leads the disputes and competition department, and Jacqueline Cornhill Jhala heads the corporate advisory team.

Outstanding’ firm Musa Dudhia & Company is ‘well established’ in the local legal market and the five partners in the firm have ‘broad experience’. Part of the ALN alliance, it undertakes capital markets, banking, finance, M&A, corporate recovery and real estate mandates, as well as commercial disputes. It advised the European Investment Bank on a €50m loan to the government of Zambia and ZESCO, a state-owned power company. It also advised African Development Bank on a $44m loan to FNB Zambia. Managing partner Arshad Dudhia is ‘a recognised expert in M&A’, and highly regarded founding partner Abdulla Ebrahim Dudhia has a longstanding reputation. Abigail Lungowe Chimuka and Gilbert Chishala Chama are also recommended.

Well established’ firm Christopher, Russell Cook & Company is noted for its commercial law expertise, as well as IP, competition, real estate and mining know-how. Key contact Kanti Patel has ‘longstanding experience’ in the Zambian legal market.

Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde (MMK) Legal Practitioners has a strong footing in litigation and corporate finance matters, and also operates across a range of practice areas including capital markets, mining, conveyancing, insurance, M&A and pensions. It recently advised the Zambian government on the issuance of Zambia’s inaugural $750m Eurobond and is advising an international bank on tax structures relating to a major housing project. Managing partner Michael Mundashi is a ‘well-respected’ figure, who is recommended for tax and litigation work. Senior partner Mutila Mulenga is active in securities, corporate advisory and conveyancing instructions.

Kitwe-based ECB Legal Practitioners is an established name in the Zambian legal market and is recommended for its commercial law and dispute resolution experience. Senior partner Elijah Banda is a key contact for contentious matters.

Heavyweight litigation’ firm Eric Silwamba, Jalasi and Linyama Legal Practitioners is strong in administrative, constitutional and tax-related matters. ‘Noted practitioner’ Eric Silwamba is ‘well known for his court skills’. The firm also has expertise in commercial, mining, banking and finance work.

At Mwenye & Mwitwa – Advocates, managing partner Eddie Mwitwa is experienced in litigation and arbitration. Musa Mwenye joined the firm in 2015 as senior partner.

Well-established litigation outfitNchito & Nchito Advocates is ‘noted for its strength in pursuing the "big cases"’. It also provides corporate, commercial, banking, finance, insolvency and employment advice. Nchima Nchito is the key contact, in what is a ‘strong’ team.

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