Adams & Adams welcomes first female chairperson and further members of the management committee

As we commemorated International Women’s Day on 8 March celebrating the social, economic and cultural achievements of women, Adams & Adams is pleased to announce that Kelly Thompson has been named as the first female chairperson of the firm in its 113-year history.

Thompson, an experienced trade mark litigation attorney, is one of 28 women who make up 42% of the firm’s partners. She is taking the reins from Gérard Du Plessis, who has served as the chairperson for 8 years.

“I’m honoured to step into the position of Chairperson of Adams & Adams. I look forward to working with the other committee members to guide and implement strategies that strengthen our position as an internationally recognised and leading African law firm specialising in providing intellectual property and commercial services,” says Thompson.

Other new appointments to the firm’s Management Committee (“Mancom”) include Nthabi Phaswana, who is replacing Godfrey Budeli as the first black female diversity chairperson, and trade mark attorney Steven Yeates, who is the new Trade Mark Prosecution chairperson as Simon Brown steps down from the position.

Retiring members Du Plessis, Budeli and Brown will now focus on their individual practices after contributing many years of noteworthy service towards the management of the firm.

Remaining members who continue to serve on the committee are Jac Marais as the chairperson of the Commercial, Property and Litigation department, Janice Galvad as the chairperson of Patents, Nishan Singh as the Trade Mark Litigation chairperson, and Vishen Pillay as the branch office chairperson.

The management committee of Adams & Adams has both a strategic and operational role overseeing the firm’s management structures and operations, developing strategy and co-ordinating initiatives. The committee constitutes the firm’s leadership (chairperson and heads of departments), the chairperson of the diversity committee (ensuring that issues relating to diversity have high level visibility within the firm’s management structures) and a branch office representative. The firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Dave Forbes, continues to assist the committee.

Africa Update 2020 – Uganda

Registry Visit

In December 2019, Adams & Adams Partner, Nishan Singh, attended a mediation hearing for a trade mark infringement matter filed at the Commercial Court in Kampala. He was accompanied by representatives from our associated firm. After the hearing, Singh visited the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), and met with the Manager of IP, Mr. Gilbert Agaba, to discuss Registry operations and outstanding matters.



  • New oil deposits can start energy industry development
  • Uganda has a well-developed, sound and well-regulated banking system which compares favourably with other developing countries in the world.
  • Productive agricultural land is being targeted by government for sustainable commercial farming


  • President Museveni’s long hold on power is retained at the expense of political and speech freedoms
  • Government corruption a problem for investors
  • Inadequate electricity supply is hindering national development