Haanee Khan, a lawyer specialising in M&A, corporate, and commercial work has joined Kenyan law firm, CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates from IKM Advocates, which is part of DLA Piper Africa.
Khan, who joined CMS in September, was previously a legal director at IKM, where he led on client development initiatives, as well as the aviation team. He leaves IKM after having spent over five years, working off a broad base of infrastructure, projects, aviation, and mainstream commercial instructions.
His advisory practice also includes contracts, employment law, and restructuring, all of which are strongly in demand. His CV includes nearly three years working for Kenyan Airways, that national carrier, as well as low cost airline JamboJet, giving him excellent insights into how in-house lawyers think – and how to advise them.
He qualified as an advocate at Coulson Harney, now Bowmans, in 2010, having previously studied at Nottingham University as well as reading for the Bar in Kenya.
Khan stressed his broad sectoral skill set as a positive compared to lawyers working at US and European law firms. Such breadth was, he said, “a very positive attribute for lawyers in emerging markets”, favoured by international clients, who he added, “take comfort knowing that their legal advisor is conversant with more than one area of law.”
With a strong regulatory and finance background, Khan told Africa Legal that, pandemic aside, Kenya remained a strategic geographical transport hub for Africa, with the country’s aviation industry previously projected to grow significantly.
He was pragmatically upbeat about Kenya’s prospects, saying its economy was resilient in many respects, despite the pandemic. He praised the “perseverance” of Kenyan businesses, which had suffered falls in income, thanks, in part, to government measures to safeguard individual businesses.
With obvious economic uncertainties, he noted, there had been a welcome return to some degree of normal for Kenya, although the tourist and hospitality trades had been hardest hit.
Khan said he expected growing demand for disputes and restructuring advice, as well as work in his own field, as private equity funds seek to take ‘early mover’ advantages, with the market showing signs of bouncing back. Infrastructure, too, was relatively active, he noted.
Noting the firm’s multi-disciplinary approach, one of the attractions in moving was the deep experience of his new firm.
“The firm’s partners include some of the most experienced in their fields of practice in Kenya and have handled many substantial, ground-breaking and noteworthy commercial transactions.”
That experience – and the supportive welcome he has received – had been heartening, Khan noted, with Daly & Inamdar having a strong history, which would be enhanced by “an incredible journey of further growth given its recent alliance with CMS.”
“As a Kenyan corporate lawyer, I’m accustomed to working with clients and lawyers across Africa,” which he felt the CMS proposition would support.
“The ultimate objective is to unveil a dedicated firm that brings together top-tier African experts in a unique model with aligned practices to provide clients with the best support in Africa.”
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