African interest has created a real dilemma for African law firms that operate in the corporate, banking and mining spaces - big law. Local legal powerhouses that have dominated their region for decades have been facing increasing international competition for their patch and the Africa opportunity. The latest (and first ever) Legal 500 listing for Africa illustrates that, in a relatively short space of time, the international firms have completely dominated the continent. In fact, of the top locally branded firms in Africa, only two make even the bottom tier,
For Africa based firms focusing on big law this means either merging with super firms or coming up with an alternative strategy, for example, by investing in firms on the continent to make them more attractive for corporate deals (that are not run by the mega firms on the continent) or focusing on specialist areas. However, both require major change, good leadership and a strong constitution.