Afrique Advisors > Casablanca, Morocco > Firm Profile

Afrique Advisors
10 RUE AL JIHANI, ANGLE BD MASSIRA
QUARTIER RACINE
CASABLANCA
Morocco

Morocco > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

Afrique Advisors, which is the correspondent firm for Mayer Brown in Morocco, is building a strong track record in restructuring, capital markets financing and regulatory matters, thanks to lead partner Laila Slassi‘s experience in LBOs, tax law and cross-border financing. Partner Hajar Benyachou has extensive experience in exchange control regulation and project finance. The firm recently opened an office in Washington DC to develop relationships with institutional investors.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi; Hajar Benyachou

Morocco > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

Afrique Advisors, which is the partner firm for Mayer Brown, climbs the ranking this year. Having opened a new office in Washington DC, the firm is a key advisor to US clients investing in Africa, and has notable experience in assisting investment funds working with local start-ups. ‘Bold and knowledgeable‘ partner Laila Slassi and of counsel Hajar Benyachou, who is ‘dedicated and very strong in legal matters‘, lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi; Hajar Benyachou

Testimonials

‘The team is very responsive and proactive and provides cut-to-size services. It is a multicultural team with a true “family spirit”. Luckily one team member spoke Portuguese which also helped provide a better service as the deal was also involving a Portuguese firm.’

‘An extremely reliable team, very available in any situation. Flexible enough to work on different situations and to adapt billing accordingly.’

‘Laila Slassi is an amazing partner, bold and knowledgeable: able to handle different complex and stressful situations. Hajar Benyachou is dedicated and very strong in legal matters.’

‘The team is extremely professional, committed and shows a very high level of availability.’

‘Laila Slassi has strong negotiation skills on top of her technical skills. She has a very high emotional quotient combined with a very high intelligence quotient.’

‘Managing partner Laila Slassi is truly impressive.’

Key clients

WITAMAX 1

Work highlights

  • We have advised a Moroccan investment fund in the acquisition of various participation in seven (7) innovator local companies. In this context, the team has globally structured the implementation of all these transactions and drafted all the applicable corporate documentation.

Morocco > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Afrique Advisors has ‘a relatively small team compared to other law firms, but it is distinguished by cohesion‘. The firm focuses on international commercial arbitration and investor state arbitration. It recently assisted the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Trade with arbitration proceedings introduced by the German company Scholz Holding GmbH concerning its investment in Morocco. Managing partner Laila Slassi is ‘truly impressive‘ and associate Marie-Amélia Marqueshas advanced skills in commercial law‘.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Afrique Advisor is a relatively small team compared to other law firms, it is distinguished by cohesion. The team is very responsive and proactive and provides cut to size services. Multicultural team with a true “family spirit”, luckily one of team member was Portuguese which also helped provide a better service once the job was also involving a Portuguese firm.’

‘Laila Slassi is truly impressive, her qualities includes strategy, negotiation, anticipation and proactivity.’

Associate Marie-Amélia Marques has advanced skills in commercial law.’

Key clients

KINGDOM OF MOROCCO

BROOKSTONE PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL

Work highlights

  • Advising the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Trade for legal assistance in the context of the arbitration proceedings introduced by the German company Scholz Holding GmbH (Scholz) concerning its investment in Morocco.
  • Advising the private equity fund Brookstone Partners International in all litigation matters related to its subsidiaries in Morocco, Platinum Power and Brookstone Partners Morocco.

Morocco > Projects and public law Tier 2

Afrique Advisors focuses on business law, tax law and institutional relations, through which it has significant experience in project development and public law. It brings it expertise in restructuring, commercial matters, capital markets, financing, regulatory advice and dispute resolution to bear on major projects. Indeed, the firm recently created distinct departments for finance and regulatory work to handle increasingly complex matters, including major cross-border mergers and project development in key sectors such as renewable energy. Laila Slassi is the lead partner.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi

Morocco > Tax Tier 2

Afrique Advisors is a growing firm focused on business and tax law, as well as institutional relations, and it has one of the few specialist tax lawyers working at an international law firm in Casablanca in managing partner Laila Slassi. Well versed in banking, financial and capital markets transactions in Morocco, she is able to advise multinational companies on cross-border tax structuring. The firm is the local correspondent for Mayer Brown.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi

Morocco > Intellectual property Tier 3

Afrique Advisors is increasingly involved in large-scale IP transactions in the Moroccan market, having carved out a presence in the market in the last two years. The work stems largely from the firm’s busy corporate practice, though it provides increasingly specialised advice on licensing agreements, unfair competition and trade mark and patent infringement matters. Corporate and tax partner Laila Slassi leads the practice, in which associate Hajar Benyachou also plays a key role.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi

Other key lawyers:

X

Afrique Advisors is a Casablanca-based independent advisory firm with great prominence in the market and a complete and intimate knowledge of the Moroccan market.

The firm specializes in business law, tax law, and institutional relations and offers its clients, composed of both private and public entities from a wide range of industries, a global integrated assistance at various stages of their ventures, whether at the national or international level.

The team, composed of multilingual advisors from various legal backgrounds, with years of experience in different fields of business law, tax law, diplomacy and government relations, has a proven track record of success.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Legal Department Slassi Lailalslassi@afriqueadvisors.com+212(0)522369462
Legal Department Hajar Benyachouhbenyachou@afriqueadvisors.com+212(0)522369462
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Hajar Benyachou photoMrs Hajar BenyachouHajar Benyachou is Senior Associate at Afrique Advisors. She has a strong…
Meryem Lahlou photoMrs Meryem LahlouMeryem Lahlou is Mid-level associate at Afrique Advisors. She regularly assists local…
Marie-Amélia Marques photoMrs Marie-Amélia MarquesMarie-Amélia is Mid-level associate at Afrique Advisors. She has a strong knowledge…
Laila Slassi photoMrs Laila SlassiManaging Partner
Partners : 2
Advisors : 6
Graphic designer : 1
Office Manager : 1
Arabic
French
English
Spanish
Portuguese
Other offices : Washington D.C.

Diversity commitments:

Over the years, Afrique Advisors has embraced corporate social responsibility and built a solid reputation thanks to our passion for pro bono work.

At Afrique Advisors, we are strong believers that the most noble way to make an impact in our community is by giving back to those in need and by supporting businesses in difficult times. Besides taking part in and organizing seminars on a variety of specific and technical law topics, generally related to legislative updates in Morocco or business law, our commitment takes the shape of pro bono undertakings in the field of education, freedom of speech, rule of law, and actions taken for human and women’s rights.

Human rights: the team recently has had the opportunity to collaborate with the UN Women as well as UN Special Rapporteur in matters relating, for instance, to the Independence of the Judiciary System.

Women’s rights: the team is strongly engaged in actions taken for women’s rights. The team routinely collaborate with local associations such as Masaktach or ATEC association in order to raise awareness about women’s rights.

Rule of Law: the team regularly cooperates with the Tafra association, which promotes respect for the rule of law and democratic values.

Education: the team is strongly engaged in actions related to education. For instance, the team cooperates with the Education For Employment-Maroc association, known as EFE-Maroc, which missions address youth unemployment by bridging the gap between labor market needs and the existing hard and soft skills of young job seekers.

Start-ups legal and strategic support and mentorship: the team also routinely provides a global, legal and strategic assistance to innovative start-ups and had the opportunity to work with The Factory, a start-up accelerator, which main mission is to accelerate collaboration between start-ups and corporates.

Finally, beyond their professional involvement, the employees of Afrique Advisors are committed in a civic and voluntary way in social and artistic areas. In order to promote initiative and talent, they have undertaken and are involved in various actions, including the drafting of publications aimed at making law accessible to the general public in a comprehensive manner and broadening the knowledge of citizens.

Firm Values:
Proactiveness: Afrique Advisors makes its services accessible and available in Morocco and abroad, ensuring a reactive, efficient and mobile treatment.

Creativity: the team is constantly looking for innovative solutions to ensure proximity to its clients in providing advice, support or representation tailored to their needs and budget.

Attentiveness: we are committed to having a real knowledge of our clients and their fields of activity in order to work alongside them to ensure a personalised service, tailored to their specific needs, all in a spirit of collaboration and exchange.

Integrity: we respect the essential principles of ethics, such as confidentiality and professional secrecy, to ensure that each client has complete trust and transparency.

Laila Slassi, Partner

Laila Slassi, Partner at Afrique Advisors, a Casablanca-based advisory firm, explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Afrique Advisors from your competitors?

The main particularity of Afrique Advisors consists on the legal and lobbying approach offered to clients. This diptych vision that we nurture and constantly work on to build, is meant for our structure to be a crossroad for our clients between Morocco and the rest of the world, a springboard for their ideas and projects to raise, blossom and thrive. We moulded the scaffold of our firm to fit the image that we have of Morocco being a hub for international trade, a meeting point between Africa and the rest of the world. Furthermore, in 2021, Afrique Advisors opened its first overseas office in Washington D.C.

Our team, composed of advisors with years of experience in the various fields of business law, tax law, regulatory, finance, diplomacy and government relations, has a proven track record of success, and offers tailor-made advisory services on the various issues encountered by clients, whether at the national or international level. This hybrid and tailor-made approach is what makes us unique players on the market.

Furthermore, the firm’s practice is coordinated globally, with the unique ability to bring together experienced practitioners who look at situations holistically and offer practical solutions on all aspects of a project with an extraordinary level of interactivity.

Finally, our firm is recognized for being creative, detail-oriented, young, modern, energetic, constantly improving and, most importantly, for having a profound sense of commitment to the quality of the advice given and loyalty to the client retained, which allowed us to forge several long-standing relationships and earn new clients through recommendations.

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

It is clear that many markets and sectors around the world have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, various M&A transactions have been cancelled or postponed. Nevertheless, and although the Covid-19 crisis is still ongoing, our team has seen a tangible and continuous increase in requests for legal support in corporate and M&A transactions, over the last few weeks. Due in particular to the consequences of the pandemic as regards the labor and employment law matter, this practice will very likely be strongly solicited.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also notably obliged companies, organizations, or institutions to rethink their activities by adopting, among others, a remote-work policy for employees and a new online and digitalized work environment. In addition, the Covid-19 crisis has continued to accelerate the development of e-commerce and also led to the development of new technologies to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (i.e. contact tracing applications) involving the collection and processing of personal and sensitive data. These various developments have clearly highlighted the importance and need to take into account and comply with the privacy and data protection law. Thus, data protection and data privacy practices will certainly continue to increase exponentially in the coming years.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

In 2021, Afrique Advisors opened its first overseas office in Washington D.C. The Washington D.C. office, specializing in strategic lobbying and institutional relations, will most certainly offer important opportunities for its clients’ future projects, both overseas and on the African continent.

We also constantly work on evolving our practice to meet the needs of the legal market. At an early stage of our development, we have realized that general legal advice was not practical enough for a direct implementation of our recommendations on the part of the client. In the light of this observation, we created two new departments in finance and regulatory by recruiting profiles fit for that purpose. These expertises allow us to complete our advice and, for the financial expertise, to allows us, especially in M&A practice, to support points of law with a deep financial knowledge.

Finally, thanks to its increasingly frequent assistance of start-ups and investment funds and its in-depth knowledge of the start-up’s ecosystem, Afrique Advisors has decided to develop a specific comprehensive range of legal, financial and strategic services specifically designed to meet the needs of start-ups and emerging companies at all stages of their lifecycle.

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

Afrique Advisors always took advantage of the various opportunities and tools offered by technologies.

For instance, we communicate extensively with our clients to meet their needs. To do so, we provide a constant, 24/7, assistance to our clients by allowing them access to the practitioners leading their cases through groups created via platforms such as WhatsApp or Signal. Plus, early on in the process, teams are created for each prospective project in collaborative work platforms such as Teams and Slack. This structure allows for a smart and integrated approach to team collaboration and allows both the practitioners and clients to have, at any given stage, a broad overview of the advancement of the deals.

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

In Morocco, the nature of most of companies’ implies that they rarely have a dedicated in-house legal department. As a result, our clients are mainly at the top management level and their needs often go beyond legal advice to include tax, financial and strategic advice. Our clients see our team as a pool of expertises and ask us to address issues that often go beyond legal advice.

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

Clients’ need for stability and strategic direction from their advisory firm has continued to develop with the Covid-19 pandemic. To address this need, during the lockdown period, we have created a Special Advisory Unit, a multidisciplinary crisis unit, to assist our clients and our ecosystem to prepare, combat, understand, and mitigate the challenges arising from the ongoing and global Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the team noticed that Legal departments and companies, of all sizes and in all activity sectors, considerably increased their recourse to advisory firms to benefit from a global legal and strategic support for their daily business and decisions.

Afrique Advisors ambition is to be a global firm, with experience in a wide range of different and diverse areas, but not only. We pride ourselves on constantly and proactively working on our structure and our knowledge to build an integrated team where each individual is, in her or his own discipline, deeply imbued with the Moroccan market and its intricacies and is aware of its latest trends and evolutions. We seek to evolve in symbiosis with recent legal, social, economic and cultural developments of the country where we work and to be as close as possible to the reality of the environment of the clients we advise.

In three years’ time, the team strongly expects to be a Top-Tier ranked Law firm in Morocco.