In its quest for global dominance, Dentons has announced a combination with Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA). The move follows nearly a dozen other combinations unveiled by the global legal giant in recent months.
The latest deal, announced Wednesday, will see Dentons add 26 lawyers—12 of them partners—in Uganda through a combination that will see the KAA brand disappear. If approved by Dentons partners, the union will come on the heels of the firm’s combination with leading Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which is expected to be finalized within a month.
Dentons claims that KAA is the largest law firm in Uganda, a landlocked country in central Africa whose legislature has recently been rocked by protests. Dentons’ deal with KAA is expected to go live before years’ end and is subject to securing partner approval over the coming weeks.
When the deal does go live, Dentons will have more than 8,500 lawyers around the world. The American Lawyer’s recently released Global 100 rankings show that the firm is the largest in the world when measured by head count, beating out leading Chinese firm Yingke. (Dentons famously combined with Dacheng, another top Chinese firm, in late 2015.)
“With this combination we are truly poised to become one of the leading and fastest-growing firms in Africa,” said a statement by Dentons global chairman Joseph Andrew. “It’s our goal to be the first truly pan-African law firm, through a blend of full-firm combinations and our network.”
KAA’s managing partner David Mpanga added in a statement of his own that his firm’s proposed deal with Dentons underscored the latter’s self-proclaimed “polycentric” philosophy, one that will enable KAA “to maintain our deep connections in the local community while embracing and building upon the attributes of the firm that helped us become one of the elite in East Africa.”
Dentons’ deal with KAA comes almost two months after the firm appointed Noor Kapdi as its new Africa chief. Kapdi joined the firm in early 2014 after it joined forces with South Africa’s KapdiTwala. Since that time Dentons has been one of several global firms that have sought to expand their presence in Africa.
In recent months, Dentons has snapped up Maclay in Scotland and finalized deals in Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Georgia, Hawaii, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru, The Netherlands and Uzbekistan. Dentons also announced this month a strategic affiliation with global energy consultancy EJM Associates LLC—an outfit led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz—and the launch of a global public affairs network under its Nextlaw brand.