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James Kamau

James Kamau

Chair, DLA Piper Africa
Managing Partner, IKM Advocates

James Kamau is the Chair of DLA Piper Africa and the Managing Partner at IKM. He is a leading corporate and projects lawyer in Kenya with over 27 years post admission experience. His main areas of practice include finance, private equity, mergers & acquisitions, energy, infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

James has handled numerous complex transactions and is the trusted legal adviser of leading local and multinational companies, private equity firms and development finance institutions with extensive business and investments in Africa.

His clients range from private equity firms, investment and commercial banks, leading corporates, project developers and sponsors, DFIs, government, parastatals and high net worth individuals.

Experience has included advising:

  • Kenya-based Compagnie Gervais Danone in its acquisition of a 40% stake in Brookside Dairy Limited, one of the leading dairy companies in East and Central Africa with subsidiaries in Uganda and Tanzania
  • Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, an entity listed on the London Stock Exchange, in the acquisition of 70% of Fina Bank Limited (now Guaranty Trust Bank Limited), a Kenyan bank with subsidiaries in Uganda and Rwanda
  • A development finance institution on a 40 MW Solar Project in Malindi, Kilifi County, Kenya
  • Two development finance institutions in a 50 MW wind power project being developed in Kajiado, Kenya
  • Senior lenders on the development and construction of a 70 MW geothermal power plant and related facilities in the Rift Valley region in Kenya and the sale of capacity and energy thereof to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company.
  • A consortium of investors led by an international NGO in respect of an innovative business model for a primary healthcare project which shall be piloted in Makueni County, Kenya before being scaled up to other Counties in the Country.
  • A Chinese multinational company on its proposed investments in Kenya involving the development of berths at various ports and the construction of an industrial city.
  • An independent power producer on two 40 MW solar power project in Uasin Gishu County.

Professional Qualifications

  • Advocate admitted to the High Court of Kenya (1991)


  • Kenya School of Law, Diploma in Law (1991)
  • University of Nairobi, Bachelor of  Laws LL.B. (1990)


  • Ranked as leading lawyer in Chambers & Partners Global
  • Ranked as leading lawyer in Legal 500
  • Ranked as leading lawyer in IFLR 1000
  • Commended as Attorney of the year by Africa Legal Awards

Prior Experience

  • 2018 to date, Chair, DLA Piper Africa and Managing Partner, IKM Advocates, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya
  • 2000 to 2018, Managing Partner, IKM Advocates, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya.
  • 1993 to 2000, Partner, IKM Advocates, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya.
  • 1992 to 1993, Associate, IKM Advocates, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya.


  • Law Society of Kenya
  • East Africa ICT Impact Investing Task Force

Episode 2 of 'Life & Lessons in Law with James Kamau

In this episode of Life & Lessons in Law, James Kamau, seasoned lawyer and chair of DLA Piper Africa, chats to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson on how to attract and retain the best legal talent.Globalisation, the rapid advancement of technology and evolving workplace trends are among the reasons why retaining legal talent in Africa is becoming increasingly challenging.

DLA Piper officially launches its Head Start program in Africa

DLA Piper in collaboration with DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) today announced the official launch of Head Start Africa (HSA), following a successful pilot. HSA is aimed at increasing access to and diversity within the legal profession. It follows successful iterations of the program in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and China.