The top ten articles on the Africa Legal platform in 2021 were largely focused on legal market news, perhaps indicative of the galvanization of the African legal community and the desire to become more pan-African in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the opportunities it presents.
Our top story was based on the Africa Legal podcast interview with Christo Els and Sally Hutton, a formidable duo who have worked together for the past 25 years at Webber Wentzel and are part of the team which has turned it into a modern-day powerhouse African law firm. No doubt readers were looking for keys to how this South African company earned its stellar reputation, hoping to emulate them.
The second most read story in 2021 was the announcement of the merger of four law firms based in four different African countries – BFR & Associés (based in Morocco), Bourabiat Associés (Algeria), EMIRE Partners (Côte d’Ivoire) and SD Avocats (Guinea). The newly formed ADNA is an exciting indication of the way business in general is moving in Africa, and showcases the unity and fraternity that can exist among African nations and businesses working on the continent.
New partnerships have been a strong trend in 2021, and one of these close to our heart was the strategic partnership between LexisNexis and Africa Legal which aims to harness the power of technology and digital transformation to improve efficiencies in law and expand reach across the legal community. This was obviously also popular among our readers because the partnership announcement was our third top story for 2021.*
The annual African Legal Awards recognise the outstanding work done by law firms and individuals in the pan-African legal community, and this year the announcement of the shortlist was our fourth most read story of the year.
Another strong indicator of who the big hitters are is the Africa Top 50 rankings. Naturally our readers were all very interested in the latest results, taking the article on this report to number five on our list. This analysis provided evidence of an increasingly competitive legal landscape in Africa with a lot of movement in rankings from the previous year.
Proving that recruitment was still strong in 2021, the sixth most read story on our platform this year was the report that White & Case had made a second lateral hire in Johannesburg within a month, with Sibusiso Zungu joining the US firm.
Number seven on our list showcased one of our champions of the rule of law in Africa – Jamal Fofana of Asafo & Co. in Côte d'Ivoire. Our Justice Inspired series was a great window into what inspires lawyers on the ground and what they see as our challenges moving forward in terms of ensuring governments and individuals understand and adhere to the rule of law.
One of the hottest topics of 2021 generally was the African Continental Free Trade Area. In eighth position on our list is an article in which Brenda Mutale Chanda spoke about some of the challenges and opportunities since trading under AfCFTA began during a global pandemic. Political and diplomatic commitment is one thing, but getting implementation right is crucial.
The cost of education is a huge block to students being able to reach their full potential, so it’s not surprising that our ninth most popular story in 2021 was the announcement that one of Nigeria’s most successful legal academics, Reginald Aziza, was offering scholarships to Nigerian law students through his foundation.
Rounding off our top ten for 2021 is a profile on Juliet Mazera, a legal counsel at Great Lakes Africa Energy Ltd based in Nairobi. Mazera, a multiple award-winning lawyer, is a fantastic role model to young female lawyers.
Africa Legal endeavours to bring the real stories of African law to our readers – be they about new deals and appointments or ground breaking judgments and other news affecting lawyers. Read more of our features and analysis on Africa Legal.
* The Rule of Law Report 2021 will be launched in January 2022
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