ILFA Flagship Secondment Programme
This is an annual international secondment programme where lawyers practising in various African jurisdictions are selected and sponsored on a 3-month secondment (September to December) at highly reputed international law firms and corporations based in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai. ILFA set up national committees in many African countries (comprising senior lawyers, judges and members of law societies), and has been supported by these national committees in the advertisement of the secondment programme and the initial review of applications. The ILFA board selects the successful secondees from a shortlist of applications drawn up by each national committee.
Additionally, the programme provides an academic enrichment series that incorporates training modules on various topics relevant to the African legal sector. A wide variety of practice areas and sectors are covered as part of the training modules which take place in London in the first 2 weeks of the programme before the lawyers then go to the various host cities. Finally, the ILFA lawyers undergo seminars at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The overall objective is to ‘educate, equip and empower’ African lawyers.
Successful secondees receive a fully-funded 3-month placement (between September and December) – the majority of secondees spend their time in London, but in more recent years some also complete their placements in Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong. In the first few weeks of the programme, secondees receive intensive training in many areas including corporate, finance, litigation, and public international law. The remainder of the programme is spent gaining work experience in law firms, chambers, and corporations. Secondees also have the benefit of various networking evenings so they can get to know each other, as well as pre-eminent lawyers, barristers, academics and businessmen and women.
This is all with the aim of equipping the secondees with as much relevant experience as possible such that the secondees can take this experience back to their home jurisdictions. As highlighted above, it is hoped that these highly trained African lawyers will have the skills and experience to deal with complex transaction work within their own countries, therefore retaining the legal fees within their own countries, rather than the work needing to be sent abroad to other lawyers. In 2013 Merger Market recorded around 250 deals with a value of $3B or more where the legal work was led by law firms outside of Africa. This means that legal fees for these deals, which could have been earned within an African jurisdiction and so adding to such jurisdiction’s economy, instead were lost to an overseas firm. Africa is losing out on “indirect compensation” from such deals given that no benefit of the hefty legal fees is felt by the African jurisdiction.
Legal skills and professional development training are an essential part of the secondment programme. Ahead of candidates being placed with host ﬁrms, they are invited to attend a 2-week induction/ advanced skills training which takes place in London. The training is delivered by ILFA in partnership with participating ﬁrms and corporations and several other ILFA advisors. Sessions are a mix of soft skills and technical training which cover a wide range of topics and practice areas relevant to the African legal sector.
Topics vary from year to year but usually include hot topics like:
• Introduction to project ﬁnance
• Improving the investment climate in Africa
• The role of Public-Private Partnerships in African infrastructure development
• Best practice guidance on Oil & Gas projects
• Navigating dispute resolution and regulatory issues in Africa
• Sources of Public International Law
• International Commercial Arbitration
ILFA lawyers attend a two-day academic seminar organised by Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The seminars are coordinated and led by selected members of the ILFA Advisory Board who have affiliations with the universities in conjunction with the law faculties of the two universities.
COMBAR (The Commercial Bar Association) is a long-time supporter of ILFA and offers a series of lectures and “mini-pupillages” to ILFA secondees. COMBAR usually offers pupillage experiences for up to 10 ILFA secondees. This means that secondees will spend 2-3 days (at the end of November) undertaking work experience at various chambers. This opportunity is open to all the ILFA secondees.
Professional Development and Networking
Core of the ILFA programme is the development of intra Africa networks. The programme provides secondees with valuable opportunities to meet, exchange information, and share experiences with lawyers from various African countries. Through conferences, shared accommodation, networking receptions, meetings, and seminars; secondees expand their perspectives on their work, the legal industry and on global issues facing the African continent. The ability to engage with one another as well as with colleagues at work placements and during legal professional events are all key components of these condees enrichment experience thereby ensuring that ILFA delivers both technical and professional development training to its lawyers.
ILFA 2022 Flagship Programme Cohort
Hosted by Norton Rose Fulbright
Muchinda Muma has over 6 years’ legal experience and specialises in energy, mining, and infrastructure law. She has extensive experience advising bilateral or inter governmental agencies, corporations and private investors on all aspects of development projects including procurement, structuring and financing.
Muchinda is currently a Senior Associate at Moira Mukuka Legal Practitioners, a corporate and commercial law firm in Lusaka, Zambia. She is also a Fulbright Scholar and a recipient of the 2022 WOZA Africa Women in Law Future Ambassador and Top Achiever award.
Hosted by Baker Mckenzie
Hosted by Debevoise & Plimpton
Thandiwe Nhlapho is an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, a Senior Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc. in the corporate and commercial practice, a Non-Executive Director at Youth Health Africa (non-profit organisation) and a PhD Student at the University of Witwatersrand. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws in Business and Commercial Law (University of Witwatersrand).
She is registered with the Legal Practice Council and is a member of Women in Mining South Africa (WiMSA). She teaches or has participated in educational programmes through institutions such as the CGISA, UCTLaw@Work, IIE MSA (formerly Monash university), Artist Proof Studios and the Constitutional Hill School Programmes. She also publishes legal articles to ensure that the law is freely and equally accessible
Ritah Nakalema holds an LL. B degree from Makerere University Kampala as well as an LL.M in International Business Law from Queen Mary, University of London. Currently, she is a Senior Associate in the Corporate Department of Engoru, Mutebi Advocates. Her focus areas are project finance, private equity, data protection, fintech, and telecommunications.
She regularly advises both international and domestic clients on regulatory and compliance issues in the M&A space, financial services industry, national payment systems, energy, mining and public-private partnerships. She has recently advised a leading global Bank on inward investment to the Government of Uganda for the construction of tourism roads.
Ritah enjoys literature and has authored two Guidance Notes on the regulatory developments on data privacy and protection in Uganda for One Trust Data Guidance, UK. Ritah is licenced to practice law in Uganda. She is a member of the Uganda Law Society, the East African Law Society, and African Young Arbitrators.
Hosted by Clifford Chance
Hosted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Faith Chebet is a Senior Associate at ENSafrica, Africa’s largest law firm. She is based at the Nairobi, Kenya office where she specialises in corporate commercial law and acts for a variety of local and International clients carrying on business or looking to establish a business presence in Kenya and the region.
She advices clients on a broad range of corporate and commercial matters and her experience includes M&A and cross border transactions, Telecommunications, Media & Technology law, Insurance, Tax, Insolvency and Business Restructuring, Regulatory & Compliance, Business Establishment and Employment & Labour Relations law.
She holds an LLB from Moi University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law, a Diploma in Tax Laws Administration and Practice from the Kenya School of Revenue Administration and a Diploma in Business Information Technology from Strathmore University. In her leisure time, Faith enjoys cycling, playing tennis, networking and conversation and is an avid reader.
Hosted by Hogan Lovells
Naa Amorkor Amarteifio, MCIArb is a Senior Associate with the Ghana office of AB & David Africa, where she represents clients on issues spanning multiple sectors in both litigation and arbitration proceedings. She is also a member of the infrastructure and trade teams at AB & David Africa.
In 2018 and 2019 respectively, Amorkor completed secondments at both a magic circle and leading city firm in London where she had the opportunity to deepen her knowledge in international commercial law and practice (including arbitration).
In June 2022, she was selected to attend the Flagship Programme of the Africa Arbitration Academy in London where she was awarded a Diploma in International Arbitration. Amorkor has held leadership positions in her arbitration career and currently serves as General Secretary of the Lagos Court of Arbitration – Young Arbitrators Network Executive Committee. She is also a Steering Committee member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, (CIArb) Ghana Chapter.
She holds an LLM from the Queen Mary University of London, UK, an LLB, and a combined degree in Applied Chemistry & Environmental Science.
Gabi Mailula is an Executive at ENSafrica in the corporate commercial practice. She specialises in general commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations, restructuring, as well as equity capital markets. Gabi is an expert in company law and related compliance.
She has acted for local and international clients in a variety of industries including gaming, private equity, capital markets, renewable energy, agriculture and services, trading and distribution. Gabi enjoys cooking, travelling, dancing and learning about different cultures, food and drinks.
Naa Amorkor Amarteifio
Ronnel Inonge Sisamu
Hosted by Latham & Watkins
Isaac Aburam Lartey
Hosted by Mayer Brown
Ronnel Inonge Sisamu is a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Namibia, where she is employed as Chief Legal Officer in the Office of the Attorney-General: Directorate of Legal Advice. Her experience, among others, includes drafting and/or reviewing legislations, agreements, deeds and treaties and other legal instruments; conducting/partaking in negotiations; representing the Office of the Attorney General and the Government of the Republic of Namibia in national, regional and international forums; serving on inter ministerial, statutory and governmental committees, commissions and/or boards.
Additionally, Sisamu is a development finance enthusiast, with a demonstrated history of working on financial transactions. She has experience drafting/scrutinising general credit agreements, grants, climate finance agreements, syndicated lending agreements, international project finance agreements and ancillary documents such as commitment letters/term sheets, engagement letters, Account Bank Agreements, Operation and Maintenance Agreements, Implementation and Construction agreements, legal opinions issued by the borrower’s legal counsel (the Attorney-General) and guarantees, among others.
Sisamu holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in Banking and Finance Law (University of London), a Juris Master (J.M) in International Economic Law (East China University of Political Science and Law), a Bachelor of Laws (Rhodes University), a Baccalaureus Degree (B-Juris) (University of Namibia) and postgraduate certificates.
Hosted By White and Case Dubai
Silver is a Partner in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications team and is an agile millennial lawyer and social entrepreneur with diverse experience in emerging technologies, media, telecommunications, venture capital and private equity. He is one of Uganda’s respected thought leaders on industry futurism, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Africa’s digital economy strategies. For his contribution, he has been featured in Forbes, CNN, New York Magazine, The East African, and Ugandan media.
He is also a co-founder of DroneNerds Africa, a Ugandan based commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) start-up. He has done secondment to the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development Forum hosted by the Legal Vice Presidency in Washington, DC Silver has previously acted for the Crypto-Currency Dealers Association of Uganda on implications of the Ugandan Central Bank’s policy stance on Crypto regulation.
Isaac Aburam Lartey is an associate at Sam Okudzeto & Associates, a leading dispute resolution firm in Accra, Ghana. His areas of focus are civil litigation, property law, and commercial arbitration. He has acted as associate counsel for major multinational corporations in domestic commercial arbitrations at the Ghana Arbitration Centre. He has also represented clients in complex and high-profile property and commercial disputes in the Superior Courts of Judicature in Ghana.
He obtained his LLB from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology KNUST and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana in 2017. He recently completed studies at the Queen Mary University of London where he pursued an LLM in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution under the prestigious Chevening Awards. He is knowledgeable in International Arbitration, Investment Treaty Arbitration, and International Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution.
Isaac was recently selected as part of 20 scholars in Africa to participate in the ICC’s “Hold the Door Open Initiative”. He is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and was a scholar of the IBA’s Law Firm Management Committee at its 2018 Annual Conference in Rome, Italy. He has also served as the African Regional Forum Liaison Officer of the IBA’s Young Lawyers Committee.