DLA targets Nigeria with new Africa strategy

DLA Piper is drawing up a new Africa strategy with the Nigerian market top of the agenda, as the firm eyes closer integration with its current network of allies on the continent.

DLA’s Africa group currently comprises 11 firms from 11 countries across the continent, all of which carry the DLA brand and share infrastructure and marketing budgets, with firms in Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana, Mauritius and Ethiopia added last year.

However, DLA has yet to establish an exclusive partnership in Nigeria, a country that boasts the second highest GDP on the continent after South Africa.

The firm is also considering implementing an integrated profits pool with some of its Africa group firms.

The firm’s strategy is being developed by joint CEO Nigel Knowles, international development partner David Church and Italy managing partner Federico Sutti, who was recently charged with looking after the firm’s Africa relationships. 

Sutti told Legal Week the firm is currently working with Nigeria’s “top three firms” and hopes to come to a decision in the next couple of months.  

“Africa as a continent is very interesting for us – of our top 50 clients, 80% do business in Africa so it’s an area we are looking at carefully,” he said.

“I visited Lagos recently and was surprised at how incredible Nigeria is. It has a growing economy, a large number of wealthy inhabitants and a strong consumer goods market.

“There are three, four or five good-quality law firms out there comprising 20-30 partners and 80-100 lawyers, and I expect us to formalise a strategy by the end of the summer.”