William Maema is the Partner in charge of the Commercial and Corporate practice at IKM and has held this position since March 2000.

William has for more than 10 years been a stand-by resource person for the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WPO) and the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). He is regularly invited to present papers on Intellectual Property Law at the WIPO and KIPI sponsored training workshops.

Since 2006, William has been a resource person engaged by the World Bank (Washington) in research on Kenyan commercial laws relating to corporate governance. In this role he completes a questionnaire which forms the Kenyan chapter in the 2006 annual publication by the World Bank known as “Doing Business” which generated over 1,600 media articles worldwide and led to legal reform in 26 countries.



  • Queen’s College, University of Cambridge: Master of Law (LLM) (1991 – 1992)
  • University of Nairobi, Bachelor of Law (LLB) (1987 – 1990)
  • Kenya School of Law, Diploma in Law (1990 – 1991)

Professional Qualifications

  • Law Society of Kenya
  • Institute of the Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya
  • Association of Teachers and Researchers in Intellectual Property (ATRIP)
  • International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
  • International Trade Mark Association (INTA)
  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Society
  • Post Admission Experience: 24 years
  • Admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya (1991)

Key experience

  • Involved in the restructuring of the Kenyan electric power sub-sector which involved the separation of the power generation and distribution functions from KPLC (Kenya Power and Lighting Company - a listed public company) and vesting the same in KenGen and KPLC (both state corporations), respectively. This brief, which was funded by an international lender, involved extensive research into the Kenyan power sector in general and the electric power sector in particular, taking special consideration of the CMA (Capital Markets Authority) and NSE (National Stock Exchange) rules in relation to KPLC as a quoted company.
  • Acted for a group of companies in more than eight countries across Africa (including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mauritius), and its founding shareholders, in a transaction in which a private equity investor incorporated in the Netherlands was investing in the group by way of a combination of equity and convertible debt instruments. The transaction also involved a restructuring of the group. The brief included negotiating and reviewing the terms of the relevant investment agreements, preparation of all relevant completion and ancillary documents, coordinating the implementation of transfer of shares in all the relevant countries, reviewing and confirming all documents prepared by correspondent law firms, advising the client on all issues regarding implementation of the transaction, and coordinating the process of obtaining relevant KYC (Know your Customer) documents required for the transaction.
  • Instructed by a private equity company - the ultimate parent company of the principal shareholder in a consortium that has been given a concession, jointly granted to it by the governments of Kenya and Uganda to operate railway passenger services in Kenya and railway freight services in Kenya and Uganda - to undertake a due diligence investigation on the consortium to ascertain the extent of compliance with their obligations under certain concession and financing agreements with the lenders as well as applicable laws so as to enable the consortium to regulate any area of non-compliance and guide its negotiations with potential investors.
  • Acted for a corporate client incorporated in Norway in a transaction involving the acquisition of an Indian Company which held 50% shareholding in a Kenyan company .The brief included the carrying out of a due diligence on the Kenyan entity, reviewing and advising on the relevant transaction agreements, advising on compliance with all legal formalities as well as labour law matters.
  • Represented the largest soft drinks company in Kenya in an anti-competition matter before the Competition Authority of Kenya relating to a complaint filed in relation to an exclusive sponsorship agreement entered into between the client and the Sports Stadium Management Board, a state corporation established with the primary mandate of managing and maintaining sports facilities in Kenya. This is the very first matter of its kind in Kenya that tests the provisions of the new Competition Act regarding restrictive trade practices and the validity of exclusive sponsorship agreements as a revenue stream for public entities.
  • Involved in a project funded by the World Bank for the review of the State Corporations Act, leading to the categorisation of state corporations into “strategic” and “non-strategic” corporations for purposes of privatisation. The brief also resulted in the creation of the Office of the Investment Secretary and the Department of Government Investments and Public Enterprises (DGIPE) which has been instrumental in the many Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) that the government has successfully launched.
  • Acted for one of the largest independent media houses in East and Central Africa in the cross listing of its shares on the Rwanda over-the-counter market, Uganda Stock Exchange and Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange. The brief involved carrying out a due diligence on the company, procuring approvals from Kenyan regulators including the Media Council, Communications Commission of Kenya , Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), and co-ordinating correspondent law firms in the three countries to ensure a successful cross-listing.
  • Involved in reviewing, redrafting and advising on the proposed regulations to govern the registration of venture capital companies in Kenya ((Proposed Capital Markets (Registered Venture Capital Companies) Regulations, 2006)) and making amendments to the parent Capital Market Authority (CMA) Act to accommodate the new regulations. The brief also involved a review of the applicable provisions of the Income Tax Act and research into the market driven needs for venture capital companies and making submissions to the CMA on the regulations.
  • Engaged in a World Bank funded project for the restructuring of the sugar sector in Kenya in conjunction with DCDM, a Mauritian auditing and consulting firm. That study resulted in the drafting of legislation to overhaul the Sugar Act and formed the basis of the current reforms in the Kenyan Sugar Sector.
  • Involved in a project to review the State Corporations Act (Cap 446) and propose a basis for privatisation of non-strategic State corporations. This exercise, funded by the World Bank, involved drafting the relevant Bill for the amendment of the State Corporations Act, leading to the setting up of the Office of the Investment Secretary and DGIPE (Department of Government Investments and Private Enterprises) within the Ministry of Finance as the engine for privatisation in Kenya.
  • Acted for a number of clients in reviewing certain bills and preparing and presenting memoranda to the government for the amendment of the bills before being enacted into law. This has resulted in changes being made in the laws arising from those bills. Examples are the Copyright Act, 2001, Competition Act 2010, Unclaimed Assets Act, 2011 and Companies Bill, 2010.
  • Instructed by the East African Community (EAC) to draft an EAC policy and bill on anti-counterfeiting, anti-piracy and other intellectual property rights violations. This entailed constant travel in all the five EAC states (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), studying the current laws and enforcement institutions, drafting the policy and bill, meeting stakeholders, validating the policy and bill at stakeholder workshops in each partner state, presenting the final draft policy and bill at the regional workshop in Arusha, going through the drafts with legislative draftsmen from all the partner states and finally submitting it to the EAC Secretariat.
  • Acted for a telecommunications company in Kenya in the negotiation of an out-of-court settlement in a matter where the client was accused of gaining unlawful access into certain software as well as copyright infringement. He successfully negotiated the claim down from sum from US$750,000 to US$250,000.

Experience record

  • 1992

    Lecturer, Intellectual Property law and International Trade at the Faculty of Law - University of Nairobi, Nairobi (1992 to 2000)

  • 1993

    Legal Assistant, Commercial Department - Hamilton Harrison & Mathews Advocates

  • 1997

    Partner, Commercial Department - Hamilton Harrison & Mathews Advocates

  • 2000

    Partner, Commercial and Corporate law pracitice – IKM

Languages spoken

  • 100
English - Excellent
  • 80
Kiswahili - Good

Market recognition

William Maema is ranked in Band 1 for Intellectual Property and Band 2 for Corporate and Commercial. He advises on a range of corporate and commercial areas, including IP. William is “very knowledgeable” and “level-headed”. He is considered a foreign expert on South Sudan.

Chambers Global 2015