African corporate lawyering and globalization

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of the Legal Profession, Volume 22, p.226–242 (2015)



Influenced by processes of globalization and localization, many fields of social and commercial practice – including legal services – across Africa are undergoing rapid transformation. It should come as no surprise that these processes of globalization and transformation include the ongoing transformation of corporate lawyering. Lawyers from Johannesburg to Algiers – not to mention Khartoum and Ouagadougou – are experiencing and participating in rapid global change in their profession and everyday work. This article identifies some of the questions and issues that emerge from this process, as well as providing a vignette of the South African corporate legal sector and tentatively outlining the emergence of an African corporate lawyering field. It does so in order to propose a research agenda into the trends and potential pathways of growth in this field. It does so in four steps, moving from a theoretical frame to one of the Global South to a portrait of the South African jurisdiction and ending with an agenda for African corporate lawyering.

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