Among the celebrations at the African Legal Awards, hosted by Law.com International in partnership with Africa Legal, we announced some top-level findings of the annual Africa Top 50 rankings.
We are now pleased to release the full Africa Top 50 2021 results. See the interactive chart link and image at the base of this article.
The 2021 results were built from 2020 data provided by law firms and analysed by Law.com International and Africa Legal. Of significant interest were the new entrants to the rankings with the likes of Asafo & Co storming to a top-10 ranking after not featuring in the 2020 rankings at all. Other new entrants include:; Kenya-based TripleOKLaw, FBL Advogados and Fatima Freitas, both of Angola.
Another compensable jump was made by Ghana-based AB & David Africa who moved from 15th place to just outside the top-10 at 11th.
Interestingly, some international giants have seen their overall ranking by headcount slip including Norton Rose Fulbright who moved from 7th to 10th.
Other international players made gains, typified by White & Case who climbed nine places to reach 29th for the 2021 rankings, up from 38th in 2020.
In addition to the headcount data, which allows the compiling of the ranking, we also took the time through the research process to unearth what law firm leaders’ attitudes were in relation to current trading conditions, key risks and client demands.
With 48% of firm respondents reporting their 2020 performance as ‘much better than expected and only 5% reporting ‘worse than expected financial performance it would appear that the direct impact of Covid wasn’t as severe as anticipated - at least in the legal sector.
Such positivity is, however, somewhat tempered by 67% of respondents reporting that 2021 trading conditions (so far) were tougher than those experienced in 2020.
The key drivers behind challenging conditions were reported as Covid (73%), fee pressure (50%), and differentiation from competitors (36%).
Considering their financial stability, law firm leaders ranked Covid (64%), the global economy (59%), and market competition (32%) as the risks most likely to impact their bottom line.
Perhaps indicating a stabilisation or more consistent approach to how technology is deployed in their firms, 73% of respondents highlighted investment in technology as the greatest opportunity to drive growth over the next five years and, in the short-term, only 14% selected IT infrastructure as a significant risk to their current performance.
Proving more evidence of an increasingly competitive legal landscape in Africa, ‘market competition' and ‘differentiation from competitors’ were both ranked as in the top three most important when queried about either current risks or future hurdles to growth.
To watch the full top-10 ranking announcement for the Africa 50 2021, click HERE.
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