Alan Williams and Shai Wade
Shai Wade and Alan Williams, both partners and experienced disputes lawyers at RPC, are excited to hear first-hand from fellow senior lawyers what is driving activity in African countries and the current state of the legal industry post-pandemic. They are also looking for opportunities to learn from and collaborate more with leading international lawyers from Africa.
A full-service international law firm headquartered in London, RPC is recognised as a leader in industries ranging from retail, banking and insurance to technology, media, and well beyond. The firm is known as a “disputes powerhouse”, and has acted for many clients involved in high profile disputes emanating from African countries.
Cross-border litigation and arbitration has been a mainstay of the firm’s disputes practice, and their ability to act – conflict free – against global investment banks and other multinational companies means they are particularly well placed to serve local African clients.
“African arbitration is a key plank of our international arbitration team’s strategy,” said Wade, partner and Head of International Arbitration at RPC. “We can only see that work increasing as the world deals with the fallout of the pandemic and the energy price crises, and as we enter another recession. The impact of climate change is already creating tensions between commercial actors, and we anticipate a wave of disputes arising in the wake of changes in supply and industrial practices as well as corrective measures, such as decarbonisation, being adopted internationally.”
“As we work with our African-based clients and colleagues to navigate these (above) issues, we are keen to expand our knowledge of those working in the region to build our book of trusted advisors with whom we can work hand in hand when the inevitable disputes arise,” Williams added.
In addition to their professional reasons for attending the events, the two men have strong personal motivations for visiting South Africa and getting more involved in business in Africa.
Wade’s father’s family was South African and was involved in the struggle against apartheid. “Regrettably, my father, who escaped South Africa in the 1960s to become a political refugee in England, passed away before the change to democracy,” Wade explained. “I have always been keen to work more closely with parties and colleagues from the region. Having undertaken work for clients based in a number of African jurisdictions, I am also interested to hear what is underpinning the current economic climate and how that is playing out for their clients.”
Williams has previously acted on arbitration and litigation arising from African energy and infrastructure disputes, and recently acted for the government of Nigeria on a substantial and highly publicised claim against JP Morgan. “I have been lucky enough to visit the region and work closely with local lawyers and officials,” he commented. “I am hoping to broaden my knowledge of other African countries, particularly in relation to the potential for banking disputes, fraud and asset recovery work.”
The first event in the Law at an International Level series will be held on 31 August and focuses on the advantages of, and appetite for, dual qualification, and the ways in which UK firms can assist with this. The second event is a private managing partners roundtable where the UK delegates will join a roundtable discussion with leading African managing partners, including Daniel Ngumy from ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khanna, Riza Moosa from CMS SA and Sally Hutton from Webber Wentzel, to explore the issues involved when UK and African firms collaborate.
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