Legal Market Overview
In Cameroon, the first order of business of 2020 was the parliamentary elections, which had been postponed twice since 2018 to finally coincide with the municipal elections in February. President Paul Biya’s party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, won 139 out of 167 seats, which once again makes for a supermajority government. The ongoing Anglophone Crisis resulted in a very low voter turnout in English-speaking minority regions, as separatists called for a boycott of the elections and many civilians feared violence. An end of this conflict and its rising death toll is not yet in sight.
The main struggle for the legal market in Cameroon was without a doubt the global pandemic. While case numbers in the country remain largely under control, the economy has slowed down significantly. Most construction projects were suspended in spring and multinationals rushed to fly personnel out of the country before international flights closed. Starting in June, the market cautiously inched back to normal activity, but the true effects in the long run remain to be seen. Law firms report that the work load has not decreased, but the type of work has changed significantly. Transactional work, for instance, has decreased, but employment law advice jumped in demand. Many lawyers are forced to branch out of their usual stomping grounds and assume the role of a general legal adviser for unprecedented queries.
In terms of law firms on the ground in Cameroon, the market remains dynamic. Several new firms have been established in the last couple of years, often by young, internationally trained lawyers. Three of these firms enter the ranking in 2021, namely Amadagana & Partners, Core Africa Lawyers and Epena Law.