Anjarwalla collect their award Glenda Benson, Africa Legal Network, collects the award from host, broadcaster Leanne Manas (left), and awards judge Gail Evans, Steinmuller Africa

Finalists: Aluko & Oyebode; Bowmans; Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr; Cox Yeats; Shepstone & Wylie; Webber Wentzel

Kenya-based law firm Anjarwalla & Khanna (A&K) has grown from humble beginnings into one of the largest law firms in Africa, employing more than 90 lawyers (from just five at the turn of the century) and with ambitions to expand that number to 400 by 2027. That rapid growth was spurred by A&K’s desire to do things differently, such as offering round-the-clock service to its clients (at a time when most Kenyan law firms hung up their phones at 5pm) and establishing the Africa Legal Network, an alliance of independent law firms primarily in east Africa.

Yet the firm maintains that its pursuit of growth is not about becoming the biggest law firm on the continent, but about changing how Africa is perceived globally and demonstrating that African lawyers can be just as professional, ethical and committed to excellence as those in the West. A&K has built a solid reputation for its energy, tax and M&A work – in the latter case acting as lead counsel on some of the largest buyout deals in Kenya. And the firm is increasingly working on pan-African transactions in countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, helping it secure this award for the second year in a row.