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William Maema is a leading corporate commercial lawyer with more than 30 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

Professional Qualifications

  • 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

Prior Experience

  • 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

Fixed-term contracts shocker

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How trade marks registry can unlock brand value

Tucked deep in the middle of the high-end leafy suburb of Lavington along Kabarsiran Avenue is a little-known government office called the Trade Marks Registry. It is so discreet that even the signboard of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) where it is housed does not mention it. It is a case of if you know you know.

Remove red tape at companies registry to spur business growth

When lawyers staged a demonstration last Friday to protest the deplorable state of service delivery at the Land Office, they might, unwittingly, have given the erroneous impression that all was well at other Government Registries where they practise their trade. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Relax rules for NGOs to unleash their full potential

As Kenyans troop back to urban centres from their annual migration to rural areas where they religiously celebrate the festive season, it is fair and just to pay tribute to the great work of non-governmental organizations which literally sustain life and provide livelihoods to thousands of indigent Kenyans especially in the marginalized regions of our country.

Why employers want mandatory COVID-19 jab

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