Saturday, Jul 13, 2024
Update At 14:00    USD/EUR 0,00  ↑+0        USD/JPY 0,00  ↑+0        USD/KRW 0,00  ↑+0        EUR/JPY 0,00  ↑+0        Crude Oil 0,00  ↑+0        Asia Dow 0,00  ↑+0        TSE 0,00  ↑+0        Japan: Nikkei 225 0,00  ↑+0        S. Korea: KOSPI 0,00  ↑+0        China: Shanghai Composite 0,00  ↑+0        Hong Kong: Hang Seng 0,00  ↑+0        Singapore: Straits Times 0,00  ↑+0        DJIA 0,00  ↑+0        Nasdaq Composite 0,00  ↑+0        S&P 500 0,00  ↑+0        Russell 2000 0,00  ↑+0        Stoxx Euro 50 0,00  ↑+0        Stoxx Europe 600 0,00  ↑+0        Germany: DAX 0,00  ↑+0        UK: FTSE 100 0,00  ↑+0        Spain: IBEX 35 0,00  ↑+0        France: CAC 40 0,00  ↑+0        

Unique, boutique services for international clientele

Article - November 13, 2014

Foreign investments have been key to Uganda’s growing economy, but negotiating its legal system continues to require the sort of expertise provided by local law firms such as Impala Legal Advocates & Consultants.

The firm began operations in 2006 and was founded by Brian Kaggwa, now the senior partner of the firm. Mr Kaggwa has a rich heritage in the legal world of Uganda and is the third generation of his family to work in the profession.

“I’d worked at the two biggest law firms and thought that in 2006 I had learned enough to prepare for something I owned but which also offered something fresh and in line with modern professional trends. I started Impala Legal with a lot of blessing from my family and my wife Susan, who soon joined us too. But I must give special recognition to my grandfather whose encouragement and belief was invaluable. From the onset, our approach was to specialise in corporate and commercial practices,” he says.

Mr Kaggwa and his grandfather, the late Godfrey Binaisa QC, who was a former head of state and attorney general of Uganda, had spotted a niche market for a boutique law firm servicing the growing number of corporate commercial clients entering the country.

The firm has since expanded across industries and works for clients in energy, infrastructure, natural resources, finance (banking and capital markets) and agriculture, as well as representing clients in real estate and land conveyance. Presently, almost 90 per cent of Impala’s clients are international entities and its global outlook has been key to its growth.

“Principally, relations have been built through international networks,” says Mr Kaggwa, who will soon be attending the Clifford Chance African Retreat in London.

“We were selected following a competitive selection process as a member for ALFA International, which is the oldest and largest network of law firms in the US, and our exposure, quality of work and straight-talk approach (where we don’t simply seek to please and are honest in our dealings) have also made us known. We have grown organically by references both from old clients and international relationships,” Mr Kaggwa adds.

Through this model, the firm has so far grown into a firm that employs 13 lawyers, making it one of the country’s largest legal outfits by numbers and turnover. It is currently working with the World Bank on a variety of issues and has advised them on doing business in various sectors. The firm has also been retained by two of the global leading oil majors participating in the oil and gas sector, as well as the agricultural-focused Mukwano Group, Supreme Group, Amatheon-agri, Association for Strengthening Agriculture Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and CLUSA, to mention but a few, on a range of matters. The company has also represented the Aga Khan on a range of investment concerns.

“While I have been working with my wife Susan for nearly nine years, our approach has been to embrace new relationships internally and externally by attracting people of like mind to what we are building, which we see as belonging to the family of employees and clients we serve,” says Mr Kaggwa. “It is our vision that when we grow older, we should have a team ready to independently run the firm with the continued passion of growing an international practice. The firm is also keen to ensure it continues to recruit the best minds to attract international attention and continued exposure and training has become a key plank of Impala’s strategy.”

This has helped Impala offer a wide variety of services that enable its clients to be navigated throughout the regulatory legal hoops required to set up business in Uganda. “Because of the experience and relationships we have grown with various departments, we think that we understand how to hold these companies’ hands to smoothly navigate the processes they need to undertake,” Mr Kaggwa explains.

Such intimate knowledge of the Ugandan system also puts Mr Kaggwa in a unique position to comment on the current state of the country’s legal system and he admits the various agencies that oversee the formation of businesses in the country could be streamlined to make the process more straightforward (with less procedures) and possibly under one house.

“It is this balance in the delivery of solutions as a one stop-shop that we reckon Impala uniquely brings to clients in this regard,” says Mr Kaggwa, who suggests improvements could help drive further growth in the country. It is this type of vision that has helped the firm become a key player in the Ugandan law sector, with its personalised service dovetailing with its detailed knowledge of the wider economy.

He adds, “Our biggest attraction is that we mix a very good understanding of the law and commercial pragmatism to deliver very efficient solutions that seek to spoil our clients.”