From our offices in Freetown, Bo and Kenema, we practice as one firm, holding closely to core values that start with a deep commitment to our clients and the quality of our work on their behalf, and that include an emphasis on teamwork among our lawyers and other professionals and a belief in the obligation of lawyers to make legal services available to all who need them.
Our lawyers are recognized nationally and internationally for their legal skills and the depth of their expertise. Many have served in senior civil society and government positions. Virtually all of them provide public service through pro bono representation through the Society for Democratic Initiatives’ legal work. The diversity of our lawyers strengthens our ability to evaluate issues confronting our clients and to communicate effectively on their behalf in any setting. And because every client is a client of the firm, not of any specific lawyer, every client has the ability to call on any of our lawyers as needed.
Our national and international clients look to us for advice and judgment on a broad array of legal issues.
- Our litigators handle civil and criminal cases throughout Sierra Leone, and our lawyers appear regularly in courts of the West Africa sub-regional courts, and the African Commission. We handle arbitrations, agency proceedings, and matters before international tribunals. At the trial level, Abdulai and Associates litigators in recent years have prevailed in jury trials involving claims as diverse as employment discrimination, complex insurance disputes, antitrust and international commercial disputes.
- In the corporate, tax and benefits area, we take a multi-disciplinary approach, resulting in an ability to deliver innovative and creative solutions. Clients benefit from the collaboration of teams of lawyers having expertise in mergers and acquisitions, securities, finance, corporate governance, tax and benefits, bankruptcy and real estate.
- Our regulatory lawyers are recognized as experts in their fields and regularly combine their talents on behalf of top financial institutions, pharmaceutical and telecommunications and technology companies, utilities, railroads, sports leagues and consumer goods companies, among others.
- In the trade, antitrust and consumer protection areas, we advise on international trade matters, including trade policy, international trade controls, national security and international boundary and investment disputes, and we handle complex civil and criminal antitrust and consumer law matters, including treble-damage actions, class actions, multi-district litigation and internal investigations.
- Lawyers across the firm’s offices regularly confront emerging legal and policy issues in such technology fields as satellite, cable, wireless and digital communications, software, information infrastructure, privacy, and data security. Our media lawyers advise on constitutional questions as well as commercial matters, including program production, content review, program rights and much more.
Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai opened the doors of Abdulai and Associates in Frejetown, on. This after breaking from an initial firm established on a partnership with Lornard Taylor in Taylor, Abdulai and Associates. Two other associates were soon hired and the firm was was off and running.
One of the firm’s first cases was an international arbitration in The London between the Government of Sierra Leone and Oranto Petroleum proceeding against the Sierra Leone. Success in that arbitration — an out of court settlement was forced on the government and that helped build the firm’s reputation.
The firm steadily grew when it defended Sierra Leone Soccer Star, Mohamed Kallon against his father for criminal defamation; and a succession of cases filed against the soccer Icon’s chain of companies – Kalleone Group of Companies.
On January 20, 2012, the firm again filed a two case against the government of Sierra Leone at the ECOWAS Court level for violating the right to freedom of expression and association in domestic legislations.
Now in our tenth decade, the firm’s good work and good works have continued. Today, the firm numbers more than 8 lawyers in four offices. Those lawyers and their practices are extraordinarily diverse, obviously more so than at the firm’s creation more than five years ago. But importantly, the traditions handed down by the firm’s founders — excellence, tolerance, integrity, and a commitment to public service and professionalism — endure today.
OUR PROMISE TO OUR CLIENT
Crucially, as a firm, we take an integrated, full service approach which spans countries, cultures and time zones, jurisdictions, practice areas and industry sectors. We recruit only the best people at all levels of the business. We place a huge importance on teamwork. Our resources are second-to-none, thanks to our investment in the transference of regionall knowledge, skills, technology and know-how.
We pride ourselves on our creative, ‘smart’ way of thinking – whether it’s in how we analyse instructions and set up our legal teams, how we find the optimal solutions to complex business issues, how we approach billing, how we service our clients’ on-going needs and how we work with rather than just for them. No matter how challenging or complex the mandate, we are not satisfied until we have delivered the highest quality, most commercially effective legal advice.
Among the market-leading initiatives that keep us – and our clients – at the cutting edge of legal services are:
- A cost-effective support service for our lawyers through our specialist centre in India
- A centralised administrative, business research, analytic and IT centre, which keeps costs down through efficiencies and budget control
- An in-house learning and development centre, the Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Academy, which builds the legal and business skills of the firm’s employees
- An active and well-respected thought leadership programme, which engages senior lawyers with those responsible for setting the political and economic agenda
- A leading corporate responsibility programme, focused on our people, our communities and the environment, which frequently finds us working on projects in tandem with our clients
We have identified and embedded across our firm the core elements that make up our unique culture – the Emmanuel Abdulai DNA’. These values, designed to unite, differentiate and help drive priorities and strategic action, make up the eight Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Principles.
Exceeding clients’ expectations
We are committed to helping our clients achieve their goals by providing commercially focused legal advice of the highest quality that will consistently exceed their expectations.
Local excellence, global standards
We ensure we can benefit our clients by combining the highest global standards of business and law with local excellence of service and by maintaining the depth, quality and scale of resources necessary to meet our clients’ needs whenever and wherever they arise.
An ambition for success
We are determined to be the leader of an elite group of international law firms and to be at the top of the profession in each market where we practise. Our aim is to be regarded as one of the world’s leading professional services organisations.
Investing in talent
To deliver on our commitment to our clients, we recruit and develop the best people. We believe that, by delivering great client service, we will be involved in the most interesting and challenging client work and, as a result, achieve the reputation and the high levels of profitability which are essential to attracting and retaining the best people.
An adaptable and approachable team
We believe in the power of collaboration, collegiality and teamwork and we have an open, approachable style. We expect our people to be flexible and creative and to have the desire and drive to embrace new experiences and challenges. We require everyone to put the interests of our clients and the Firm before their own.
To be at the forefront of the legal profession requires foresight, a desire to share ideas and a willingness to have a voice on issues of importance. We have the confidence to challenge existing thinking and to push boundaries.
Strength through diversity
We are proud of our firm and value the diversity of the people and cultures within it. In our firm people succeed according to their merits.
Our strength comes from our ‘one firm’ approach and our partnership ethos. They underpin our ability to deliver excellent client service and create a working environment where talented people can succeed. We are ambitious for our clients and ourselves but we understand the importance of making a positive impact on the community at large.
Corporate Social Responsibility.
Abdulai and Associates overarching vision is to become both the leader of the emerging elite group of international law firms and to be regarded as one of the world’s leading professional services organisations. But to achieve these twin ambitions means tackling a third: to be the law firm whose corporate responsibility (CR) activities are most closely aligned with the way it does business.
This is not just about doing the right thing, though that is important to us, too.
The advantages this brings are clear. We will be able to attract and retain the best people. We will all develop as individuals through expanding our horizons beyond our commercial role. We will foster even closer and more trusting relationships with our clients – especially when we undertake joint CR activities. And we can make a real difference to the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves.
Our CR strategy is underpinned by our Principles and has three main strands – people, community and the environment.
Our People strategy looks inwardly at our responsibilities to our employees, particularly with regard to the critical themes of development and diversity.
Our Community strategy embraces not only our charitable and volunteering initiatives but also our pro bono activity. Three themes lie at its heart – increasing access to justice, access to finance and access to education. The Luawa Foundation also supports these three areas.
Our Environment strategy recognises the impact our business has on the environment, as well as ensures we stand up to the scrutiny of our clients, whom we often advise on such matters.
Each year we issue a Corporate Social Responsibility Report which charts how we as a Firm have performed against the targets we set ourselves. These targets are ambitious and pretty tough to achieve in what are challenging economic times – but that’s no bad thing. It’s only through stretching ourselves that we will be recognised as a leader and a pioneer in corporate responsibility among our peers.