Clifford Chance confirms plans to launch in Morocco by end of 2011

Clifford Chance (CC) has confirmed its intention to launch in Morocco with the firm set to open an office in the region by the end of 2011.

Paris-based partner and Moroccan national Mustapha Mourahib will relocate to the region to set up the new base – CC’s first Africa office – which will serve as a hub for the magic circle firm’s clients across the wider North African and sub-Saharan Francophone region.

The firm’s wider Africa practice will continue to be led by energy partners Jeremy Connick in London and Anthony Giustini in Paris.

The launch comes after magic circle rival Allen & Overy (A&O) announced last week that it is to open a Casablanca office in September with the hire of two local partners from Gide Loyrette Nouel’s Casablanca base.

CC managing partner David Childs (pictured) said: “The development of our firm has always followed the needs of our client base and that is why we are now placing increased emphasis on our strategy for Africa.”

“Although we have been active and investing in the continent for over 30 years, clients now, more than ever, want access to our deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of the African investment landscape, not just within the region but also through our knowledge of and contacts with major sponsors of inward investment, particularly in China, India and the Middle East. Our strategy for Africa is an integral part of our wider commitment to supporting our clients across the growth markets.”

Legal Week first reported CC’s Morocco plans in April this year, at which point the firm declined to comment.

The confirmation of CC’s plans for Morocco comes only a few months after the firm opened its first offices in Australia in May, when its merger with Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe and Chang Pistilli & Simmons went live, and as the expansive firm is also planning to open in South Korea when the country allows international law firms to set up in the country later this year

The firm has also recently added a partner to its Paris base, with equity capital markets specialist Aline Cardin joining from Shearman & Sterling, where she was a European counsel.