IFSP Programme Overview
ILFA Flagship Secondment Programme (IFSP)
This is an annual international secondment programme where lawyers practising in various African jurisdictions are selected and sponsored on a 3-month secondment(September to December) at highly reputed international law firms and corporations based in London, Paris, Lisbon and Dubai . Additionally, the programme provides an academic enrichment series that incorporates training modules on various topics relevant to the African legal sector. A wide variety of practice areas and sectors are covered as part of the training modules which take place in London in the first 2 weeks of the programme before the lawyers then go to the various host cities. Finally, the ILFA lawyers undergo seminars at the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The overall objective is to ‘educate, equip and empower’ African lawyers.
Legal skills and professional development training are an essential part of the secondment programme. Ahead of candidates being placed with host firms, they are invited to attend a 2-week induction/advanced skills training which takes place in London. The training is delivered by ILFA in partnership with participating firms and corporations and a number of other ILFA advisors. Sessions are a mix of soft skills and technical training which cover a wide range of topics and practice areas relevant to the African legal sector. Topics vary from year to year but usually include hot topics like
- Introduction to project finance
- Improving the investment climate in Africa
- The role of Public Private Partnerships in African infrastructure development
- Best practice guidance on Oil & Gas projects
- Navigating dispute resolution and regulatory issues in Africa
- Sources of Public International Law
- International Commercial Arbitration
ILFA lawyers attend a two-day academic seminar organised by Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The Seminars are coordinated and led by selected members of the ILFA Advisory Board who have affiliations with the universities in conjunction with the law faculties of the two universities.
COMBAR (The Commercial Bar Association) is a long-time supporter of ILFA and offers a series of lectures and “mini-pupillages” to ILFA secondees. COMBAR usually offers pupillage experiences for up to 10 ILFA secondees. This means that secondees will spend 2-3 days (at the end of November) undertaking work experience at various chambers. This opportunity is open to all of the ILFA secondees.
Professional Development and Networking
Central to the heart of the ILFA programme is the development of intra Africa networks. The Programme provides secondees with valuable opportunities to meet, exchange information, and share experiences with lawyers from various African countries. Through conferences, shared accommodation, networking receptions, meetings, and seminars; secondees expand their perspectives on their work, the legal industry and on global issues facing the African continent. The ability to engage with one another as well as with colleagues at work placements and during legal professional events are all key components of the secondees enrichment experience thereby ensuring that ILFA delivers both technical and professional development training to its lawyers.
- Annual Welcome Drinks – The annual welcome drinks are the official welcome event which kick off programme. Drinks are usually held at a central location in London and are attended by ILFA Lawyers, ILFA Alumni, sponsor firms and other ILFA partners. The event is a great opportunity for the new cohort to be introduced to the ILFA network.
- Annual Gala Dinner – The ILFA Gala Dinner is our annual African themed, black-tie gala dinner to celebrate the achievements of the ILFA secondees and also to recognise the work of all ILFA supporters in particular our partners and sponsor firms and corporations. The event provides an important networking opportunity in London for law firms and corporate organisations who are involved in deal making across Africa. The event usually takes place at the UK Law Society and serves as ILFA’s main fundraising event.
- Closing Event – After successfully completing the programme, secondees are presented with a certificate at an informal closing event in London followed by drinks and networking.
What do host firms provide?
As part of the programme Flagship Secondees are provided with:
- Roundtrip airfare
- Appropriate accommodation in the host city
- Short term accommodation in London for the advanced training days & Gala dinner (for non London based secondees)
- Visa fee & visa application assistance
- Airport transportation and local transportation within the host city
- Weekly allowance
- Transportation to Oxford and Cambridge Universities for the enrichment days
- Attendance at the Annual Gala Dinner
- An ILFA mentor (buddy) within the host firm
At the end of the programme, ILFA hosts an Annual Gala dinner to celebrate the end of the programme. This also provides an important networking opportunity for law firms and corporate organisations who are involved in deal making across Africa. The event usually takes place at the UK Law Society.
Applications for ILFA’s IFSP are open annually during the final quarter of the preceding year. Successful applicants will be contacted no later than three months from the application closing date. If you have not heard back from us within three months please assume your application was unsuccessful. We will not be able to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants.