An Africa-focused boutique law firm has opened in Paris, joining heavyweights like Gide Loyrette Nouel in targeting closer ties between clients in the two regions.
LEM & Co. launches with three lawyers, led by partner Laurence Elong Mbassi, who most recently was head of compliance at Wave Mobile Money, a banking and financial services network serving Africa.
Elong Mbassi started her career as a tax associate at Baker McKenzie and at the legal arm of Ernst & Young, both in Paris.
She then was of counsel and head of the Africa practice at STC Partners, later part of Arthur Andersen, before becoming a partner and creating the tax and legal services department at GFA Consulting, a corporate finance boutique based in Ghana.
Two other lawyers from GFA Consulting round out the founding team: Rosemary Owusu, senior associate, who will be based in Paris, and Miriam Afenyo, associate, who will be based in Accra, Ghana.
The firm will focus on three broad practice areas: corporate, projects and M&A; strategic legal and tax advice; and tax audits, litigation, and arbitration.
It will be particularly active in the financial services, fintech, consumer packaged goods, renewable energies, construction, and hydrocarbons/mining sectors, it said in a statement.
“We wanted to get closer to our European and international customers, while continuing to support our customers based in Africa with the same care and proximity,” Elong Mbassi said in a statement.
Many Paris-based firms are strengthening their longstanding ties to French-speaking Africa as part of a strategy to capitalize on cross-border business in a range of sectors, from resources to finance to technology.
Gide, the French elite firm, has recently formed a nonexclusive alliance with the South African firm Bowmans, hoping to complement each others’ presence on the continent.