International legal juggernaut Dentons said Thursday it has plans to combine with Zimbabwe law firm MawereSibanda, a 21-lawyer boutique, a month after boasting that the firm has already grown to 10,000 lawyers around the world.
Dentons billed the move as part of its growing presence on the African continent, following previous inroads into Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
“In a country scarred by the legacy of colonial domination and in a market where the operations of every leading law firm are hierarchical, Dentons’ unique polycentric and anti-colonial approach has been a stark differentiator, disrupting the traditional model for providing legal services in Africa,” the firm said in a statement announcing the move. “Dentons is the first global firm in which its African operations are 100% owned by local partners from the black indigenous community.”
MawereSibanda’s practice offerings include banking and finance, corporate, litigation and disputes, real estate and intellectual property, and infrastructure and telecommunications.
“The combination in Zimbabwe with a strong firm like MawereSibanda will help us continue to attract even more top talent and top law firms in Africa,” said Noor Kapdi, CEO of Dentons’ Africa region, in a statement. “Connecting talent to opportunity is Dentons’ founding principle and we look forward to building more connections through this combination.”
Tatenda Mawere and V.B. Sibanda, co-founders of the Zimbabwe firm, said in a statement shared by Dentons that they were “enthusiastic” about the combination because of the offerings Dentons’ platform will provide their existing clientele. MawereSibanda formed in 2001 and describes itself on its website as a “key player in cross-border commercial transactions.”
“We are building a pan-African law firm through whole firm combinations of locally owned and controlled firms that serve both local and global clients,” said Joe Andrew, Dentons global chair, in a statement. “While I appreciate that this may sound like a nuance, it is the kind of small difference that other firms in Africa that are truly in and of each community will understand and appreciate.”