Lawyer with global reach

Lawyer with global reach

Lawyer Peter Petrou has been appointed to the board of trustees of the African Internship Academy, a social enterprise which aims to connect Africa’s leading employers with the continent’s young talent.

The appointment constitutes further recognition of Peter’s international legal expertise, which has been growing fast, especially since he launched his own firm, Aspen Morris, in 2012, when, at the age of 28, he became one of the UK’s youngest managing partners.

After leaving QE, Pani Peter Petrou (OE 1994–2000) took a first in Law at King’s College London and then gained a distinction on the BPP Law School’s Legal Practice Course in 2005–2006.

Peter began his legal career by working for two of the largest law firms in the world. Firstly, he joined US-based Dewey & LeBoeuf, working in its capital markets department, where he was involved in several multi-million and billion-dollar transactions for blue-chip clients.

In 2007, he moved to London-based Trowers & Hamlins, which is consistently ranked as one of the leading law firms for its work in the Middle East. During his time there, Peter worked with clients in Africa, Russia, India and the Middle East on corporate, real estate and project finance transactions, as well as in litigation.

Since its 2012 launch,  Aspen Morris Solicitors, a full-service firm with offices in Mayfair and Enfield has gained a substantial reputation for its work: it was named UK Law Firm of the Year for International Law at the Corporate LiveWire Global Awards in both 2016 and 2015 and was included in The European magazine’s New Europe FAST50 Companies 2015.

Peter has also enjoyed considerable personal success and has won a string of awards. He won Property Investor Africa’s 2014 award for Outstanding Contribution to Real Estate in Africa. He is Vice-President of the American International Commercial Arbitration Court, which contains some of the leading arbitrators from around the world. In 2014, he was appointed Global Legal Counsel to the World Leaders’ Forum in Dubai. He was named in the influential Global Law Expert Guide 2016.

Interviewed by Forbes magazine, he was described as having “formidable high level political and business contacts throughout Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa and [is] seen as the go-to person when doing deals in Africa”.

Peter explained to the interviewer how he first became involved in doing business there after an intriguing meeting with a UAE-based real estate firm in 2007 during which he noticed that Africa was the focus of their five-year business plan. “This conversation interested me greatly as many of my clients’ business plans tended to centre around Europe, the Middle East, the Far East or the US. I sounded out my clients about investing in Africa and was initially met with surprising feedback that, despite Africa’s abundance of natural resources and opportunities, the continent was being overlooked by them.”

His interest was deepened further after a period of investigation, including several trips to the continent. “My substantial due diligence told me that I had stumbled across a hidden gem,” he said.

He then began promoting the idea of doing business in Africa to his clients, recognising that he would first have to change their perceptions. “It is important that companies and investors realise that Africa is not a continent to be feared but a continent where they can grow their business and make high returns.”

Peter remembers his time at QE with considerable fondness and gratitude: “I had a great time at QE. At the time, I found the School strict, however, looking back, I think it was perfect and that is why so many people have done so well; it gave me the drive and desire to achieve in life and work hard. I made some great friends who I still speak to today and a lot of what I have achieved to date is due to the education I received from QE Boys.”

He has two young daughters, Isabella and Sophia.