Most businesses that engage in commerce with their customers don’t usually give any thought to the legal side of it. Understanding the economic law can benefit your business greatly and can play a vital role in its success. The most important part of commercial law is that it helps businesses resolve conflicts and disputes.
Corporate commercial laws make it easy for your business to make cross-border transactions.
Featuring for The Enterprise World’s this issue of The Most Innovative Law Firms to Watch is A&K Tanzania, a law firm with expertise in corporate commercial and various fields.
In this interview with Shemane Amin, Partner, ALN Tanzania | A&K Tanzania, let us find out more about the journey of the company.
Tell us about the firm.
ALN Tanzania | A&K Tanzania is one of Tanzania’s pre-eminent, full service corporate and commercial law firms and a leading regional powerhouse based in Dar es Salaam. Our lawyers have wide-ranging experience and deep knowledge of the Tanzanian market, which optimally positions them to provide pragmatic advice to clients navigating the local landscape.
The firm’s consolidated and seamless cross-border offering is driven by a diverse and talented team of over 100 lawyers based in our Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Nairobi and Mombasa offices. Our lawyers have wide-ranging experience and deep knowledge of the Tanzanian market, which optimally positions them to provide pragmatic advice to clients navigating the local landscape.
A&K Tanzania has extensive expertise handling sophisticated transactions across sectors, including in financial services, mining, energy, manufacturing, telecommunications and hospitality.
A&K Tanzania is recognised as a market leader by distinguished global legal guides, including Chambers Global, IFLR1000, and Legal 500 and our market-leading offering is bolstered by our pan-African reach through A&K Tanzania, an integrated alliance of the leading full-service corporate law firms in 15 African countries and the UAE.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
There are many challenges of being a new entrant in terms of growing a modern and sustainable business which is up to speed with the fast-changing demands of our clients and their businesses. A key challenge of operating a law firm in this part of the world is bridging the gap between the written law and its application. For clients, obtaining practical advice which reflects the reality on the ground and which is simultaneously commercially sensitive, is of the utmost importance.
A&K Tanzania are therefore constantly challenged to ensure that we fulfil our role as a trusted advisor by taking a pragmatic approach to our work and packaging client deliverables in a manner that fits the needs of their business while remaining within the bounds of the law. A&K Tanzania take great pride in the fact that advising on complex transactions across sectors remains our greatest strength and we have established our position in the market through the extensive experience we have accumulated in handling sophisticated transactions in Tanzania and across the region.
The A&K Tanzania journey began in 2004 and A&K Tanzania was one of the first members, marking the start of our close-knit strategic alliance with ALN Kenya to service the increasing number of clients doing East African cross-border deals.
The alliance has strenghthened over the years and allowed for seamless interaction on deals beyond East Africa, sharing of know-how and the exchange of lawyers between firms .A&K Tanzania’s focus on creating a platform of leading law firms in Africa to improve their infrastructure, processes and train the lawyers to serve clients at their best has greatly contributed to the success of the Firm. ALN recently launched its refreshed brand, making a bold statement about its modern strategic vision and its role in the transformational shifts needed, and already underway, in the way excellent legal services are delivered in Africa.
With the brand refresh, the alliance reimagines its approach on how it sees new global opportunities to help unlock value for our clients who are doing business and investing across borders; so that they can confidently work to build trust and deliver sustained commercial objectives in irrevocably changing business and legal environments.
What are the products/services the firm focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
A&K Tanzania’s focus is on three practice areas: (i) Corporate Commerical/M&A; (ii) Banking, Finance and Insolvency; and (iii) Projects and Infrastructure. In order to better serve our clients, we have completed those practice areas by building significant expertise in the following cross-cutting practices which are relevant for clients across the board: (i) Tax; (ii) Forensics, Investigations, Compliance; (iii) Dispute Resolution; (iv) Employment; (v) Competition.
The fully-integrated legal advisory service offering we are able to offer to our clients through the above-mentioned key areas, coupled with our regional connectivity, know-how and resources, differentiates us from others in the market. The service offering is further bolstered by a team of African lawyers who have an in-depth knowledge of the local landscape and who have the ability to think globally and act locally.
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
A&K Tanzania are constantly improving how we service our clients including leveraging cutting-edge technology. The firm began investing in and using artificial intelligence several years ago to enhance our legal due diligence for our clients, then internally to streamline our workflows and databases for utmost efficacy in service delivery.
As part of our support to our clients, we use our AI platforms to assess potential contractual exposure quickly and affordably. The AI platforms review and analyse what could be a client’s potential risk, exposure, and any liability under a contract by highlighting specific clauses such as force majeure, frustration, and the ability to delay obligations or terminate the contract. This fastens our lawyers’ reviews enabling us to pass on the cost savings onto our clients. We also pride ourselves in our use of technology for the automation of key transactional documents, which again improves efficiency and the delivery of quality output to our clients.
Combining legal, accounting, economic, investigative and technology skills enable the firm to offer an end-to-end solution for our clients through a dedicated forensics and corporate investigations practice, enabling clients to mitigate risk and build transparent, compliant businesses. Through our Forensics, Risk and Compliance team, we conduct risk and compliance due diligence to enable clients to assess the financial health of a target opportunity. Through an integrated approach, we help our clients to close deals across industries, including leading multinationals and other corporations, major commercial and investment banks, private equity funds, and entrepreneurs.
With our wider hub in Nairobi, the recent appointment of ALN Kenya’s joint Managing Partners Daniel Ngumy and Rosa Nduati-Mutero, is designed to continue strengthening our client service and collaboration and to respond to the transformational shifts ongoing globally and in Africa in the way high quality and specialised legal services are delivered.
What would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs?
No one is born as an experienced entrepreneur – they learn and gain knowledge by making mistakes as well as from those who have already achieved their goals. Start early and do not let limited resources keep you from getting started. Having a sharp vision and growth strategy keeps the focus of the business aligned with real-world challenges. Lean on your strengths by putting your previous experience and strengths to work. It takes time and patience to scale and grow a business to success; it is a tedious process that involves constant failures, iterations, and alterations – stay focused, and ask for help where necessary if you need it.