DLA Piper launches Africa offices

Multinational law firm DLA Piper has opened the first of two new offices in Africa.

The firm opened an office in Casablanca, Morocco, earlier this month, with a second to follow in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the first quarter of next year.

The new office in Casablanca will be led by Christophe Bachelet as managing partner with partner Mehdi Kettani and counsel Mohamed Mahjoubi. Bachelet has extensive experience in cross border mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the firm, he spent several years in Casablanca with Clifford Chance working across a wide range of sectors with both local and international clients.

Mahjoubi works in the infrastructure sector, with a particular focus on Francophone Africa.

The team in Morocco will be working alongside the firm's Paris office and its lawyers in Asia, the US, the Middle East and Europe.

In South Africa, the new office will consist of both international and South African lawyers. Michael Whitaker, former chief operating officer of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, has been appointed to help develop the new office.

DLA considers a strong presence in both the north and south of the continent a key element to its strategy for Africa, where Morocco and South Africa have become two of the continent's main business hubs.

Simon Levine and Jay Rains, global co-chief executive officers of DLA Piper, said: "Morocco and South Africa are amongst the strongest economic bases in Africa for many of our clients. Our strategy is driven by the needs of our clients so it makes absolute sense for us to open our own offices in both countries."