A desire to build on their international business and investment law expertise by learning from peers around the world was one reason why a leading Botswana law firm joined Alliott Global Alliance (AGA), explained Odirile Otto Itumeleng and Tshepo Dipatane.
“In our cross-border practice we are dealing with issues in different jurisdictions and areas of law, and different cultures, in terms of everything we do,” said Itumeleng, Managing Partner of Otto Itumeleng Law Chambers. “It is very important to learn from your colleagues all over the world. We don’t want to limit our legal knowledge and understanding on the basis of what we know in south and central Africa. We need to know what others are doing.”
Itumeleng and Dipatane see growth in energy, transport, mining, agriculture and construction work in Botswana; all industries that can have a cross-border or multinational component, including the corollary of dispute resolution. It’s vital, they say, to understand how such businesses are conducted elsewhere, and how legal and practical matters can best be handled.
“We can share about the best way to handle a banking transaction or a transport transaction, for example,” said Itumeleng. “In this area of practice we’re facilitating business to take place in a very win-win situation for all the parties. So it’s an area where we are keen to learn from others and share our experiences with others, which is part of the reason we joined Alliott Global Alliance.”
Dipatane, associate partner at Otto Itumeleng Law Chambers, says that since joining AGA, an elite coalition of 220 law firms in 95 countries, including across Africa, many clients are coming to them directly when they have business to do outside Botswana.
“That wasn’t the case before; they’d just go online to see who to use in another country,” noted Dipatane. “But now, because we’re part of AGA, clients will come to us and give us whatever instruction. They’ll tell us what business they’re doing in a particular country and ask us to make sure it gets done. They know we have the capacity now because we engage with other law firms around the world; it takes away their burden and is fast to manage.”
Dipatane says the firm has been helping clients in mining transportation – a booming area – and the energy sector deal with different regulatory environments in cross-border projects. They’ve also leveraged their alliance to assist a construction client in the mining industry.
Earlier this year, AGA CEO Giles Brake said the international alliance was delighted to welcome Otto Itumeleng Law Chambers, a high-calibre firm in one of Africa’s emerging hotspots that has plans to open new offices in Maun and Ghanzi, and expand their service offering.
Itumeleng says that with legislative reforms aimed at facilitating trade, business and investment, the market in Botswana has grown quite significantly and in the right direction, based on international practices. He and Dipatane are excited for the future in Botswana and with AGA.
“We are perpetual students, and want to have lots of exchange of legal ideas and other useful information, to benefit our clients and this area of business.”
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