Kenya

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body:  The Law Society of Kenya

Competition authority: Competition Authority of Kenya

Financial regulator: Capital Markets Authority

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporateProject development

 

Jurisdiction overview

The Kenyan legal system is based on a combination of Kenyan statutory law and English common law - dating back to the country's time under British rule - and also comprises aspects of tribal and Islamic law.

The legal market is determinedly closed with very little foreign influence and, with the exception of associations, no foreign firms have branches in Nairobi. However legislative measures are currently being discussed that would allow foreign firms to open offices and firms such as Baker & McKenzie, have expressed interest. 

Associate Kenyan firms are currently not allowed to use the branding of their network partners. Firms such as Iseme Kamau & Maema Advocates, who are part of the DLA Piper Africa Group, Coulson Harney, who are a member of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group and Hamilton Harrison & Matthews (HHM), who have an association with Dentons, have to maintain full clerical independence. 

There has been a spate of consolidations in the market in recent times. Most notable was the merger between HHM and Oraro & Co in October 2014. Despite lasting only six months, market indicators suggest that this merger was perhaps in response to the expectation of the entry of international firms, and that a consolidation of Kenyan firms would inevitably follow. 

The Law Society of Kenya is a member of the East Africa Law Society, which allows for advocates of the courts of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi or Tanzania to practice in Kenya.  This rule also extends to recommended individuals of the Commonwealth. 

Financial and corporate
Anjarwalla & Khanna

Anjarwalla & Khanna is the founding member of the African Legal Network and a leading firm across the financial and corporate and project development areas.

In banking during the research period the firm advised lenders on financing deals including projects. Other finance work saw it work for issuers and lead arrangers on eurobonds and MTN programmes. 

In M&A the firm worked for joint venture partners, sellers and acquirers in deals in the energy, telecoms and financial services sectors. It also advised investors on inbound private equity deals in the telecoms and insurance sectors. 

In project work the firm represented sponsors on infrastructure and energy developments.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Acorn $50 million MTN programme

•Airtel / Telkom Kenya joint venture

•Grain Bulk Handlers $114 million loan facility

•Malindi $80 million 40MW solar power plant

•Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway PPP 

 

Client feedback

"Highly professional in discharging their services. Pro-active in their advices." - Banking and M&A

"We have been satisfied with the legal services provided by Anjarwalla & Khanna which we find to be professional, relevant and prompt. As a weakness, Anjarwalla & Khanna can be too risk averse and often fail to guide clients or provide innovative solutions on how to surmount a legal challenge while meeting the business' needs." – Banking

"Very good and very convenient for companies like ours as the firm is present in multiple jurisdictions in Africa. The alternative would have been to manage 14 different touchpoints/lawyers and with the ALN network, we have a single POC." - Financial services regulatory

"Honest, diligent, professional, knowledgeable; but a bit slow, overworked, reactive behaviour rather than proactive. It should improve on speeding up its services with better communication."  - M&A

"I can express my satisfaction with products of work delivered by A&K. Not only they possess comprehensive knowledge, experience and skilled teams across all required areas, but most of all they provided their feedbacks on time and according to the expected quality.  It worked in particular urgent requests of the institutions of the Government of Kenya. Overall, we assess A&K as a high-quality law firm and therefore we decided to continue our cooperation in the next phase of the project. On the improvement areas A&K could work on internal communication as some units in the company do not regularly exchange information." - M&A

"Overall assessment is satisfactory. The managing partner Karim Anjarwalla is particularly impressive, very commercial and practical solutions orientated." - M&A

"Service was excellent across the scope of all work performed. Thorough and focused, they added significant value to the transaction process and provided sound on-the-ground advice in real time against tight deadlines." - Private equity

"A&K have on all occasions performed to my satisfaction; they have a strong team in all legal matters. They are expensive but it is money well spent." - Project development

"The work delivered is always of good quality and most of the time available for input/advice. The one thing that could be improved is the time of response or the time it takes to deliver. Sometimes A&K is a bit slow." - Project development  

"Unrivalled knowledge of the Kenya power and PPP market." - Project development

"A&K is the best in market. Responsive, thoughtful and substantive." - Project finance

"A&K were excellent. Extremely responsive, available to handle multiple work streams, attention to detail and I had access to partners." - Project finance 

"Excellent and timely response in all respects." - Project finance

"The team has been excellent to work with. They are extremely responsive, thorough, show commercial judgement and provide legal insights." - Project finance 

Akash Devani

"Apparently we have nothing lacking in the lawyer."

Amyn Mussa

"Amyn is a leader not only in Kenya but across the continent."

"Amyn Mussa has been my direct counterpart from the beginning of the project. He has been responsible for everyday contact, project management, distribution of tasks between his teams and validation of products quality. I assess Amyn as a highly professional, well organized with vast legal knowledge and in-depth understanding of government's mechanisms. Even comparing to European lawyers, I would grade Amyn as one of the best lawyers I had a chance to work with."

"Excellent commercial skills and ability to innovate. Unparalleled knowledge of the Kenyan power sector."

"Excellent knowledge and relationships in the sector. Readily available and committed to the project. Displayed sound commercial judgement beyond just legal advice."

"The partner is simply excellent. Made himself available for meetings, had great relationships within the broader sector and demonstrated sound commercial judgement when necessary."

"The lawyer is very competent and diligent in his work; he has a very good understanding of the energy business in Kenya and is also very good in drafting documents."

Atiq Anjarwalla

"Outstanding customer services, response time and ability to find solutions."

Dominic Rebelo

"Excellent knowledge, good client relationship and always available thought extremely busy and so delays occur."

"Excellent work. Always meets deadlines and understands the problematics from the get go."

Nicole Gichuhi

"Nicole offers sound legal advice, is professional and very knowledgeable in her area of expertise. We find her services satisfactory. Nicole sometimes fails to provide innovative solutions to legal challenges that would enable us to meet our business needs."

Rosa Nduati-Mutero

"Excellent.  No weaknesses I would highlight."

Ashitiva Advocates

Ashitiva Advocates is active in the financial and corporate areas and is experienced in advising on the development of power projects.

In the banking area during the research period the firm worked for borrowers on acquisition finance, bridge finance and debt restructuring deals in the real estate and tourism sectors.

In M&A it advised a seller on a deal in the tourism sector and an acquirer on media industry deal. 

In project development the firm represented developers and sponsors on the development of power and oil and gas projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Mara Tented Camp €200 million financing

•Pavilions of Splendor International $3 million acquisition of Maasai Mara Eden Camp

Coulson Harney

Coulson Harney is a member of the Bowmans legal network and works across the financial and corporate areas.

In banking recently the firm worked for borrowers on loan facilities and debt restructurings and for lenders on loan facilities. 

In M&A it advised acquirers and joint venture partners on deals in the oil and gas, insurance, healthcare, automotive and financial services sectors. 

In project development the firm advised developers on their agreements to operate a railway system.

During the research period partner Angela Waki left the firm to pursue a different career, and banking and finance director Stephen Matthews joined from Allen & Overy.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

• CBA / NIC merger

• ETC Group $100 million revolving credit facility

• Mombasa–Nairobi railway 

• Republic of Kenya $250 million financing 

• Rubis Energy $353 million acquisition of KenolKobil

 

Client feedback 

"The firm is generally well organized and staffed. From the experience I have had in working with them, this is a firm that is eager to provide support to its clients in every possible situation." - Banking

"Great overall advice, covering Kenyan capital markets regulation, competition law and coordination of regional advice." - Capital markets and M&A 

"Excellent. Sligthly slower than expected." - Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation 

"Excellent. They knew what they were doing and both myself and the private equity firm were at ease letting the lawyers take over with the tasks at hand." - Private equity

"Top M&A firm in the region by a long shot." - Private equity

"The team had a good understanding of local permitting and tax and applying LMA based contract work within the specific jurisdiction." - Project finance

Aleem Tharani

"Aleem has proven to be exceptional. He displayed deep knowledge in the energy sector, was able to provide sound legal advice but also to think commercially and provide innovative solutions."

"Aleem is an excellent drafter and a capable structurer with strong problem-solving skills."

"The partner is simply excellent. Made himself available for meetings, had great relationships within the broader sector and demonstrated sound commercial judgement when necessary."

"The lawyer is very competent and diligent in his work; he has a very good understanding of the energy business in Kenya and is also very good in drafting documents."

Alex Mathini

"Approached all elements of the transaction with logic. It was a pleasure to work with him. He knew exactly what he was speaking about when he advised all parties on the deal. Both myself and the fund would highly recommend working with him on any deals that come up."

Kamami Christine Michira

"She is diligent in the manner in which she follows up on the transaction and keeps us updated on the actions being taken by her team. She is well knowledgeable in the area of capital markets and the regulatory requirements and is able to easily breakdown the regulatory requirements in each step of the transaction. Christine is always readily available to answer queries that rise during the transaction and gives us confidence that our work is in capable hands."

Paras Shah

"Excellent."

"Reliable, practical, commercial and most importantly knowledgeable on the local markets and unique dynamics."

Stephen Matthews

"Stephen was very au fait with what we as a bank were looking for and he was able to tailor his advice to put us in a position to respond to client's demands."

Daly & Inamdar

Daly & Inamdar is active across the financial and corporate area.

In M&A during the research period the firm advised sellers and acquires on oil and gas, telecoms, automotive and consumer goods deals. 

In project work it worked for developers in connection with the construction of a highway and the development of a wind farm, and for lenders on the financing of a solar power plant.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Inchcape acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover in Kenya

•Makindu 33MW solar power plant

•Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway PPP

•Northern Kenya 60MW wind farm development 

•Rubis Energy $353 million acquisition of KenolKobil

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Matthews

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Matthews is broadly strong in financial and corporate work.

The firm advised lenders on loan agreements and project financing matters this research period. 

In M&A it worked for sellers and acquirers on deals in the the financial services, retail, and energy sectors. 

Projects highlights include the firm’s advice to sponsors on PPP infrastructure projects, a diesel power generating plant and a greenfield geothermal development.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Engie acquisition of Fenix International

•Everstrong Capital acquisition of 39% in Gulf Energy

•Isiolo – Garissa 220KV transmission line 

•Kitui-Mutomo-Kibwezi 132KV transmission line

•Unatrac $275 million financing

Iseme Kamau & Maema Advocates

Iseme Kamau & Maema Advocates, which works in association with DLA Piper, is active across the financial and corporate area and has a strength in project development work too.

The firm is often mandated counsel to lenders on project financing and loan facilities deals. 

In M&A it works for acquirers and sellers and recently advised on deals in the financial services, technology, retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, pharmaceutical and real estate M&A matters.

Additionally the firm advised sponsors on agreements related to solar power plants and represented a project company on a healthcare PPP. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Government of Kenya $750 million loan facility

•Kajiado $81 million 50MW wind power project

•Kesses $75 million 40MW/51.5MW solar photovoltaic power project

•Makueni county primary healthcare PPP

•Malindi $80 million 40MW solar power plant

 

Client feedback

"I was struck by the firm's extensive and well-grounded knowledge and experience in banking and finance. The availability of the lawyers, attention to detail and hands on involvement in transactions was impressive." – Banking

"The firm is very experienced and have continually provided high quality services, not only in active transactions such as the one described, but also in keeping us updated on matters that affect areas of business that we operate in." – Banking

"The firm is well organized and diligent in the follow-up of work on behalf of its clients." - Banking

"From my dealings with them, they are very competent, diligent and thorough in their work. Their key strengths is work of the highest quality and turnaround times on assignments. I cannot point out any weaknesses at this point." - Project development

"Knowledge, experience, effective communication and reporting. Collaborative approach and skills transfer. Personal attention and access to senior management." - Project finance  

"The firm struck me with their efficiency and coordination in terms of deal execution, extensive and well-grounded knowledge and experience, attention to detail and hands on involvement in the transaction." - Project finance

Anne Kinyanjui

"Anne is very experienced and is able to handle transactions with ease. She is efficient, responsive and accessible."

Beatrice Nyabira

"Beatrice is quite efficient, knowledgeable and experienced with a good grasp of local market nuances."

"Beatrice is quite efficient with significant project finance experience, which makes her the natural go to person for complex project finance structures."

“Great analytical skills. Creativity and very original solutions. Good research and interpersonal skills.  Logical thinking ability.”  

Beatrice Nyabira and James Kamau

"James Kamau is a fantastic advocate and is able to provide out of the box solutions to his clients. Beatrice Nyabira is very responsive and provides thorough and extensive advice. She digests complex legal issues and simplifies them for clients owing to her deep understanding of the subject.  She is one of the rising stars in the energy space."

David Lekerai

"David is readily available to provide answers as and when necessary. He is able to provide clear legal guidance on what is required in a transaction in a timely manner."

"He is very knowledgeable and very thorough in his work."

Kaplan & Stratton

Kaplan & Stratton is a leading Kenyan firm for financial and corporate work and has a strong project development practice.

During the research period the firm advised lenders on loans provided in the food and beverage, financial services and energy sectors. 

In M&A it worked for acquirers and sellers on M&A deals in the consumer goods, oil and gas and telecommunications sectors.

In projects the firm worked for sponsors on securing regulatory approval for solar and toll road projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•American Tower Corporation acquisition of 715 communication towers from Telkom Kenya

•East African Breweries $62 million financing

•Government of Kenya $660 million and €300million financing

•Kipeto Energy $232 financing

•Rubis Energy $353 million acquisition of KenolKobil

 

Client feedback

"Excellent and responsive." - Banking

"Excellent and top notch service!" - Banking

"This firm provides top notch services without a shadow of doubt." – Banking

Peter Gachuhi

"Peter is an excellent lawyer, very sober minded and highly experienced. His calm demeanour has an effective way of getting results. He also has a very deep understanding of banking, finance and commercial matters and potential slippery paths, which he does well to advice against."

"Peter's brilliance and experience is the perfect cocktail for any commercial litigation matter that one may have. He is very adept, extremely knowledgeable and has the ability to think on his feet."

Mahmoud Gitau Jillo

Mahmoud & Gitau Advocates is a local firm active in the financial and corporate areas.

In banking during the research period the firm worked for a borrower on a refinancing deal.

The M&A team advised sellers on deals in the financial services and agricultural sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Government of Kenya $200 million refinancing

McKay Advocates

McKay Advocates works across the financial and corporate space and is active on power project development work too.

In recent banking work the firm represented lenders on financing matters.

In M&A the firm worked for acquirers in deals in the financial services, gaming, technology and power industries, and for sellers on the agriculture and telecoms sectors deals. 

In the projects area the firm advised developers, contractors and project companies on power plant projects.

The firm was also active on restructuring matters and did work for debtors and creditors.

MMAN Advocates

MMAN Advocates is recognised for its strength in the aviation industry, it is also active in the financial and corporate and project development practice areas more generally. The firm is the Kenyan arms of the Eversheds Sutherland Africa alliance and the international legal network Terralex.

In banking during the research period the firm worked for borrowers on acquisition finance matters and for lenders on the financing of aircraft leases. 

In M&A the firm acted as local counsel to acquirers on deals in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Another recent highlight was the firm’s advice to the developers on a healthcare PPP and a technology devices assembly plant. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Asea Brown Boveri $2.3 billion acquisition of General Electric Industrial solutions business

•Homa Bay hospital PPP

•KenGen mixed-use development

•UPL Incorporation $4.2 billion acquisition of Arysta LifeScience

MWC Legal

MWC Legal is a young firm active in the financial and corporate space. 

In recent banking work the firm advised borrowers on financing agreements.

In M&A during the research period the firm acted as counsel to a seller on a deal in the media sector. The firm also advised the acquirer on a deal in the healthcare sector.

Former Anjarwalla & Khanna lawyers James Wairoto Mahinda, Bernard Musyoka and Peter Mwaura founded the firm in 2018. 

Client feedback

"Strengths: providing prompt support, consultants with knowledge in various areas, customer focused and takes time to understand the business to provide right guidance." - M&A

"Working with MWC Legal has been a rewarding experience. The team is agile, dynamic and flexible. They get the job done efficiently in the minimum time possible." - M&A

Bernard Musyoka

"Bernard is meticulous in his work and has a keen attention to details."

Oraro & Co Advocates

Oraro & Co Advocates is a local firm active across the financial and corporate space.

The firm often works on corporate lending, syndicated loans, project financing and Islamic finance deals and does works for both lenders and borrowers. 

Recently in M&A, the firm advised on a sale related to the food and beverage industry and on acquisitions in the real estate, energy and insurance sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Abu Dhabi National Oil Company acquisition of stake in VTTI

•Cytonn Investments Management acquisition of 48.9% in Horizon Group

•Kajiado-Imaroro highway 

•Ngong-Kiserian-Isinya highway 

 

Client feedback

"The firm has a knowledgeable and diverse team of lawyers who are experienced and competent in diverse fields. The firm is able to call upon this expertise at any one time when the bank requires the firm's expertise. The bank is specifically very comfortable with the firm in such areas as restructuring and insolvency and litigation." – Banking

"The firm provides quality work and sound legal advice. They are professional and provide commendable services." - Banking

"Thorough in their work and good research for their assignments at hand." - M&A

George Oraro

"Quite committed to innovative solutions that address the matter at hand.  His juniors however are sometimes unable to pick matters with ease where he has left them."

Noella Lubano

"Noella is a very competent and knowledgeable lawyer, who is very deep at research and analysis. Her client handling skills are very good and she is very skilled at arbitration and insolvency matters in the region."

"Very knowledgeable and provides good and sound legal advice. She is also very responsive, accessible and reliable. Her work is commendable."

Walker Kontos

Walker Kontos is a Kenyan firm with particular expertise in banking and finance work.

During the research period the firm advised mostly lenders on various financing transactions and worked for one borrower on the financing of a port expansion programme.

The firm also worked for the guarantor on a medium term note programme and for an issuer on a note issue. 

In M&A, the firm is often mandated counsel to acquirers and has recently worked on deals in the cement, food, agriculture and automotive industries.

In project development the firm advised developers on the construction of geothermal power plants and on the development of photovoltaic and wind farm projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•East African Cables $15.7 million financing

•Grain Bulk Handlers $114 million financing

•Kibwezi 40MW photovoltaic project

•National Cement Company $78 million loan facility

•Simba Cement Company acquisition of Cemtech

 

Client feedback

"The firm showed a clear prowess in structuring and in property law aspects and was clearly an experienced firm in the capital markets whilst also being up to date with the latest legislation. Their willingness and ability to adhere to tight timelines stood out." - Capital markets: Debt

"Meticulous, thorough and excellent at drafting complex agreements are the strengths. Weakness is that they take some time to get things done." - M&A

Deepen Shah

"Excellent knowledge, meticulous, thorough and very good at drafting complex agreements."

Peter Mwangi

"Intelligent, focused on solutions and professional."