As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in Kenya continue to rise at a rate that can only be described as alarming, the delicate balance between saving lives and safeguarding livelihoods has become the waking nightmare for the Government and its advisers.
William Maema is a leading corporate commercial lawyer with more than 26 years' post admission experience. He advises both local and international clients doing business or seeking to set up in Kenya. He has gained immeasurable experience in handling complex transactions. His areas of practice include commercial and corporate law, employment, immigration, non-governmental organizations (NGO) / not-for-profit, estate planning, information communication and technology (ICT), intellectual property, legislative drafting and education.
William has distinguished himself as a leading practitioner in the NGO / not-for-profit sector in which he has built an enviable portfolio of both local and international clients including Ivy league US universities conducting various programs in Kenya.
William is a member of the Africa Global Advisory Council (AGAC) for the 2018-2019 year. AGAC is one of the International Trademark Association’s regional advisory councils, which advises the global organization on regional public policy and advocacy issues relating to intellectual property.
William is regularly invited to present papers on intellectual property law at local and international conferences.
Since 2006, William has been a contributor to the Kenyan chapter of the World Bank annual report known as Doing Business, which seeks to improve the ease of doing business across the world.
William plays a key role in the thought leadership initiatives of the firm and regularly writes articles on topical legal issues, which are published in the local mainstream media such as the Business Daily and Sunday Nation.
Experience has included advising on:
- Commercial legal services such as drafting, review and localization of different types of commercial contracts and agreements, preparation of legal opinions and training on commercial matters
- Complex matters such as the proper classification of food additives under the Standards Act, filing and prosecuting applications for reclassification, and the legal framework for the importation and use of drones in Kenya
- Legislation that governs American universities and university-funded programs in Kenya including, registration procedures and requirements, collaboration with Kenyan universities, immigration affairs for foreign staff, establishment of non-academic programs in Kenya, employment law, and contracts with collaborators including government
- Various aspects of employment law including preparation and review of employment contracts, independent contractor agreements and human resource policies / manuals to bring them into compliance with local labor laws, advising on staff rationalization exercises, transfer of employees following a merger / acquisition transaction, employee share option plans / schemes, retirement benefits, workplace safety, and foreign contracts of employment
- The termination of employment contracts at a minimum risk and assist in the preparation of the required documentation for each stage of the process, as well as assisting clients in conducting disciplinary processes in accordance with the provisions of the Employment Act
- Estate planning, this includes creating complex structures for the purpose for high-net-worth individuals
- Immigration options available to clients and providing guidance on the most ideal option based on business and personal needs
- Intellectual property portfolios, carrying out searches and advising clients on registrability of their trademarks, registration and renewal of trademarks as well as recordal of assignments, changes of name and address
- Advocate admitted to the High Court of Kenya (1991)
- Queen’s College, University of Cambridge, Master of Law LL.M. (1992)
- University of Nairobi, Bachelor of Law LL.B. (1990)
- Kenya School of Law, Diploma in Law (1990)
- Ranked as leading lawyer in Chambers & Partners Global
- Ranked as leading lawyer by Legal 500
- Ranked as leading lawyer in IFLR 1000
- Ranked by World Trademark Review
- 2000 to date, Partner, IKM, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya
- 1997 to 2000, Partner, Nairobi-based law firm
- 1993-1997, Legal Assistant, Nairobi-based law firm
- Institute of the Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya
- International Trademark Association (INTA)
- Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Society
The outcome of the epic court battle pitting a faction of the children of the late Cabinet Minister and tycoon Mr. Njenga Karume against the trustees appointed by him to manage his multi-billion-shilling empire was anxiously awaited not only by the parties themselves, but everyone interested in succession law. The dispute split the family down in the middle, with some of the family members siding with the trustees which added more flavour to the contest.
When the Business Daily broke the news that the Director of Public Prosecutions had instituted criminal charges against the lawyer involved in the registration of CMC Di Ravenna-Kenya Branch, the company implicated in the Arror/Kimwarer dams saga, commercial lawyers went into a collective panic.
As the world matches on into the uncharted territory created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dreaded monster continues to receive sporadic reactions from all the three arms of the Kenyan Government. While the executive, through the Presidency and Ministry of Health, keeps spewing out one administrative directive after another to control the fast spread of the deadly virus, Parliament has been busy crafting ad hoc legislation to give legal effect to those directives.
Although the arrival of the coronavirus in Kenya was inevitable and had been foretold since the beginning of the year, it is fair to say that when it finally hit the country in mid-March employers and employees alike were ill-prepared for its full impact.