If there are unicorns in the Kenyan legal startup scene, the firm of Kieti Advocates LLP is one of them. In less than 4 years since its launch in 2017, the firm has built an enviable reputation as one of the leading boutique law firms in Kenya specializing in corporate law; finance; energy and natural resources; environment and climate change; projects and real estate.
At the same time, Kieti Advocates LLP's Managing Partner Sammy Ndolo has managed to attract star legal practitioners from top law firms in Kenya to build a very formidable team of 5 Partners and a handful of associates, all lawyers who have a strong reputation as leaders in their specialist area and are well regarded by their peers and clients.
What Sets Kieti Advocates LLP Apart
Several factors set Kieti Advocates LLP apart. One, the firm boasts the youngest and the finest set of lawyers in Kenya. Not only is everyone at Kieti under 40 years, the firm's lawyers have more than 40 years' combined experience working in the top law firms in Kenya including Dentons HHM, CMS Daly & Inamdar, Anjarwalla & Khanna and DLA Piper IKM Advocates.
Two, the firm's lawyers are not only solid legal professionals, half of them have a Masters of Law (LL.M), MSc or MA Degree. Three quarters of the Kieti's lawyers also have additional qualification including as Solicitor, Arbitrator, Certified Public Secretary (CPS), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or experts in Sustainable Energy Finance and Securities & Investments.
Three, Majority of Kieti's partners have worked for or been seconded to "Magic Circle Law Firms" including Allen & Overy and Linklaters and Global20 Law Firms Mayer Brown International LLP (London) and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe). This is an added advantage in serving international clients who need a combination of national expertise and global experience.
In addition, the Kieti's Partners are not only experts in their own areas of specialization but have skillsets that complement each other and enable the firm to take care of all aspects of any transaction. The end result is that corporate clients looking to get their deals done from start to finish can count on Kieti Advocates LLP's solid in-house legal expertise.
Kieti Advocates LLP is a Truly Boutique Law Firm
To be sure, Kieti Advocates LLP is a boutique firm in true sense of the word in that its partners have what it takes to offer corporate finance, mergers and acquisition, private equity, intellectual property, dispute resolution and clean energy finance all under one roof. Kieti Partners are able to avail big law firm expertise with mid-size law firm advantage.
Sammy Ndolo, the managing partner of Kieti Advocates LLP, has proven and tested expertise in corporate law and finance including acquisition finance, debt lending, syndicated lending, structured finance, trade and commodity financing, debt and equity capital markets, corporate governance, cross border public and private mergers and acquisitions and corporate re-organisations.
According to Chambers Global Guide 2021 Edition: "Sammy Ndolo advises on a range of corporate issues, including restructuring, investments, joint ventures and franchising, as well as financing and governance issues. One source enthused: "He comfortably meets all deadlines, and provides an exceptional product and service offering."
Shem Otanga, the Head of Intellectual Property Practice at Kieti Advocates LLP is a recognized expert and practitioner in intellectual property, data protection and ICT law. He also practices in commercial law, employment and retirement benefits schemes law as well as regulatory advisory work across various sectors of commerce, technology and industry.
Chambers Global Guide 2021 ranks Shem Otanga among the Intellectual Property Lawyers to watch in Kenya. It notes that "Shem Otanga is praised by sources as "exceptionally responsive," and they add that he "goes the extra mile, working night and day to meet key deadlines." He is well versed in both contentious and advisory trade mark matters."
Njeri Wagacha who joined Kieti Advocates LLP as a partner last year is an expert in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, franchising, competition and employment law. She is also a qualified Solicitor who has assisted in advising on a variety of commercial transactions including asset and share acquisitions, shareholders' agreements and franchising agreements.
Desmond Odhiambo, the Head of Kieti's Litigation Practice, is a highly commended litigator and arbitrator with a brilliant legal mind and extensive litigation experience covering the full spectrum of commercial activity including banking and finance, shareholder and joint ventures, insolvency, employment and labour relations, public procurement, intellectual property, engineering, building and construction contracts.
Clarice Wambua, one of the few qualified Climate Change Law and Policy Experts in Kenya, leads the firm's Energy, Mining and Extractives, Environment and Climate Change Practice. She has wide experience in advising on regulatory and compliance issues in these areas, is an expert in sustainable energy finance and previously served as In-house Counsel for Carbon Africa.
Thought Leadership, Change and Future of Kieti Advocates LLP
In terms of thought leadership, Njeri Wagacha is the host of firm's groundbreaking Podcast NjeriTalksLaw, now in its fifth episode. The lawyers of Kieti Advocates LLP are also prolific and insightful contributors on legal issues at the global stage. The firm's Desmond Odhiambo and Peter Mutema contributed the chapter on Kenya's law in the Global Edition of the "Employment & Labour Law Guide 2020", part of Lexology's Getting the Deal Through series.
Clarice Wambua contributed the chapter on Kenya in the 17th Edition of Environment & Climate Change Law 2020 of the International Comparative Law Guides (ICLG). The firm's partners have also been featured in top webinars on law and practice. In one of recent publications, Kieti Advocates partner Shem reviews the extraterritorial applicability of Kenya's Data Protection Act in light of the appointment of Kenya's first ever Data Commissioner.
As part of its commitment to offer pro borno legal services that make a difference, the firm is a member of Trustlaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation pro bono referral organization. It is actively involved in supporting NGOs, non-profits and social enterprises that are involved in social change by offering them free legal advice.
In retrospect, the risk Sammy Ndolo and his co-founders took in leaving their positions as Partners in some of the leading law firms in Kenya to start their own law firm from scratch at the height of the 2017 elections has paid off. Today, Kieti Advocates LLP stands out as one of the emerging key players in the Kenya's Legal Industry and the future looks even more promising for the firm.