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Fulgence Kalema Bwatunda, Senior Partner

1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate FIRM NAME from your competitors?

Kalema Legal & Associates consists of dynamic and experienced lawyers who worked as partners and senior associates for years in well-known international law firms. While we were establishing Kalema Legal & Associates as an full service independent law firm in the Democratic Republic of Congo ‘’ DRC’’, our aim was to provide high quality and effective services to our clients with the approach to cater tailor-made solutions for their needs. As a team, one of the important points that differentiate us from the competitors in the market is the professionalism and the corporate culture that are reflected in our services despite our smaller size. The adaptation of an “international business” culture is very much inherited from the past experiences of the lawyers in the firm and law school and is unique among the peers and the competitors in the market. In addition we can advise our clients fluently in French and English.

Our clients receive excellent service at lower cost, having the privilege of being treated as our “single client”. When expertise and high-quality legal service is blended with an international culture, the outcome is success and client satisfaction.

2) Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Infrastructure, energy and natural resources will grow in the next 12 months , especially after the coming presidential election. As there is a new mining code signed since March 2018 I believe local and international companies will require professional consultancy to better understand the new requirements and adopt these changes to comply with the new law. Going forward, our clients will be in need of continuing support and consultancy with respect to taxes and other changes made. It is definitely advisable for the legal entities to be represented or assisted by attorneys in order to understand the new features of mining Code. DRC has immense potential and would be highly attractive investment location once the political environment is appeased.

In addition to the above mentioned areas, tax law is an important field of focus for us where we see the local and international companies having an increasing need of support to comply with the local tax regime requirements.

Finally, I believe that corporate law will continue to be an important area of focus for our firm with new M&A deals and private equity investments expected in the coming period despite the political restraints. We have a strong team in place ready to provide the best service to our clients and show our know-how in that respect.

3) What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Since Kalema Legal & Associates is established recently in 2017, we have structured our firm in line with the current needs of our clients and the sector. Therefore, we are not planning any changes for the moment. However, we are a full service-service independent law firm and will follow the market trends closely with the capability to adapt any changes swiftly, smoothly and effectively to meet the needs of our clients.

4) Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Our law firm serves clients in both French and English languages, responding in real time to clients ‘request taking advantages of modern information technology infrastructure and we are committed to delivering a quality work and complying with high standard ethical values. Therefore, following the establishment of our firm, we installed a special database for our clients’ files, documents and correspondences with high security protection against any technological threat. Confidentiality of our client information and protection of data is of high importance for our firm.

5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We aim to deliver excellent service to our clients proactively at every stage of our relationship and especially before any legal issues or risks arise. In this regard, we keep our clients updated by publishing newsletters on a regular basis in line with the legislative developments . Although such practices may be considered as a long-term investment, frankly speaking, we can examine the quick return on these investments.

For instance, we organized a performance evaluation training for the executives of one of our global client in mining sector and informed them about the legal procedures that lead to a lawful termination of an employment contract based on poor performance reasons, and misconduct. This is one of the most problematic labour lawsuit type for employers in DRC where most of the cases are ruled on behalf of the employees.

6) Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms? - where do you see the firm in three years time?

Kalema Legal & Associates ‘s main target is to deliver the highest level of service in terms of quality and provide the best possible solutions with deep industry-specific knowledge while considering business priorities. In today’s ever-changing global business climate and dynamic DRC legislative system, we need to keep the stability for our clients on this slippery ground by alerting the clients to those changes and providing strategic advice.

What is beyond doubt is that the needs of clients and our business continue to evolve with the transformations in the sector. We believe that we have a deep understanding of the changing needs of the sector and expect to be the one of the leading law firms in near future that stand out from the crowd with the best service at a lower cost in DRC.

In the years to come, Kalema Legal & Associates will continue its disciplined and service oriented business strategy while growing the client base on selective basis with local and international clients

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