By providing our clients with thoughtful, dedicated, professional, and timely legal services we help our clients move their organizations from surviving to thriving. In everything we do we seek a happier, safer, and more prosperous Somaliland for our clients, ourselves, and those around us.
Philosophy – Watershed Legal Services believes many things.
Watershed Legal Services believes in the power of laws as a force for positive change. Laws & contracts are powerful things. Respect for our laws, rules, regulations, and contract obligations is ultimately among the highest achievements of human beings. Laws & contracts, as powerful things, can be forces for positive changes which help underprivileged individuals or a mechanism to suppress those who may currently lack political or economic clout. We are in the business of rebalancing the scales so that they ultimately will tip in the way justice demands.
Watershed Legal Services believes in the power of communities. Alone we can survive, but together we can thrive. We understand that our firm is here to serve first and foremost our clients, and we understand that we grow faster when we partner, when we connect, and when we collaborate. Each of us has an above average curiosity about the world around us. We all wonder and wander about how to make our families and our communities richer in the most complete way.
Watershed Legal Services believes in the power of hard work. We are each self-made individuals. We do not ask for charity, nor do we seek special favor. We only seek what is fair and we only seek achieve our success with our minds, our hearts, our hands, and our feet – but maybe not always in that order. Our firm has been built from scratch using zero external investment capital. These beliefs have led us to create this firm which is dedicated to our clients and our community. A firm which strives in everything it does to help create the conditions for our clients to succeed in bringing investment, employment, and progress which is distributed in a way that all in Somaliland receive their share of the benefits.
How We Work
Watershed Legal Services utilizes some of the most advanced technologies available in the globe to provide our clients fast and efficient access to advice. We are able to work completely remotely for those who are not able to come to Somaliland. We can communicate utilizing a variety of web 1.0 and 2.0. We can bill remotely and we offer payment services for those who prefer to pay with credit cards. We offer a client portal which includes advice request templates, knowledge databases, account features, and other advanced features.
We may be a small firm by international standards, but we are the largest in Somaliland! Our diversity of interests and experiences allows us to provide a full palate of legal services to our clients. Along with our proven ability to drive positive social change in Somaliland, we offer our clients a professionalism and dedication which are unparalleled in Somaliland. Specifically, we provide legal services in the following areas.
Our extensive resources allow us to provide our clients with cutting edge corporate formation and governance advice. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand the tensions that business leaders face and we can provide your firm with the structuring advice necessary to sustain it long into the future of Somaliland’s inevitable development.
Whether you are a small business owner seeking advice on a lease for your first office, or a medium business owner seeking advice on the contracts you want to give your employees or a large business owner seeking to expand operations into or outside of Somaliland, we can do that. Our team is able to provide effective advice for your firm in either Somali or English.
Whether your dispute is personal, family, or business related, our team of attorneys is here to provide the assistance you need. Whether you need assistance defending a small criminal case, a large, complex corporate litigation case, have a family land dispute, or you feel your constitutional rights have been violated, our firm can provide you with the direction and support that you need.
We offer our clients both a local perspective as well as the possibilities to integrate more fully into the global marketplace. We do not see the lack of recognition of Somaliland as an impediment to growing businesses. Look at Taiwan! They don’t have genuine recognition but they have found creative ways to fully integrate their economy into the global marketplace.
We can walk your business through the complicated steps of achieving letters of credit and other trade documents which will allow you to trade in the same manner as the rest of the world does. We can even walk you through the legal and practical steps of establishing an online presence which will allow you to offer credit card point of sale services to your customers (be they expatriates or diaspora).
How much more money can you make if you were to not have to send a full order amount up front to an agent in China? How much more money can you make if you allowed your customers to pay with their credit cards? These are easy things to accomplish, and we have accomplished these things for our clients. Why not join the growing integration movement?
If you find yourself in the middle of a land dispute, let us sort things out for you. If you are looking to sell or purchase property, let us advice you on your rights as a landowner or land purchaser in Somaliland.
If you are a member of the Somaliland diaspora send us an email, we can likely evaluate the current status of your family land from here and save you the money of sending someone down here. We can track down the status of any documents, take pictures of the land, and email you the results. You can even pay online via our client portal. Save yourself the hassle of trying to send someone down here to work it all out. Let us do what we do best!
If you are looking to participate in positive change that will help all Somalilanders, so are we. Let us know your story, perhaps there is something that we can do to help.
Governmental / Legislative
If you want to understand the lay of the Somaliland legal landscape there is no one better than us. As the lead legal advisers to the Somaliland Parliament for the past two years, we understand the current and pending laws like few other groups of people.
In addition to our legal advice and litigation services, we conduct the following supplemental services for our clients.
Debt Servicing, Mediation and Dispute Resolution
If your organization has issues either with creditors or with debtors let our legal and dispute resolution team negotiate on your behalf. This will save you lots of time, and could save you a serious amount of cash. We have experience negotiating on behalf of both sides of the debt transaction and are adroit at protecting our clients rights by providing them with top-notch legal analysis as well as negotiating assistance. Our team can provide yours with mediation dispute resolution services as an organization or as an individual. We can also provide you conflict resolution and peace building training skills and consultancy.
Research & Legal Translation
We provide research memoranda for organizations and individuals for many different purposes and focussed on many different topics. We can give you a well tailored analysis based on your specific needs and constraints.
We have vast experience in legal translation. We have translated numerous complex legal instruments both from Somali into English and English into Somali. Our deep knowledge of both legal vocabularies allows us to communicate the needs of our clients in both languages.
Capacity Building and Training
As experienced trainers in various sectors of Somaliland we can offer our clients not only top notch legal advice but also training for our clients’ staffs which empower the full spectrum of our clients’ enterprises.
Compliance and Facilitation
We provide our clients that are either new to the world or new to Somaliland a full spectrum of compliance and facilitation services. We are willing and able to work with home office lawyers to ensure that your contracts meet the needs and requirements of your organization as well as the rules and regulations required by your presence in Somaliland.
If your team is looking to become engaged in Somaliland let us help you navigate the sometimes rough waters of attaining your licenses to operate in Somaliland.
Monitoring and Evaluation
We all have extensive backgrounds working with non-governmental organizations and have good backgrounds in techniques and procedures required for a full M&E audit. As lawyers and as Somalilanders we understand how to evaluate situations given the cultural context as well as through the lens of donor or international NGO requirements via MOU’s or other contractual documents.
If you are an international NGO seeking to perform your annual M&E audit of your local donors, why fly someone from London, DC, or Brussels? You can save money and benefit the Somaliland economy more by choosing the professional local option. We’re cheaper for you and we’re just as good.
Somaliland Ministries / Committees We’ve Provided Assistance For: 23
Total Control of Somaliland Budgetary Expenditures + Revenue: 100%
International Law Memoranda:12
Judicial Sector Memoranda:21
- Certificates of Origin
- Industrial Licensing
- Patents: Core Elements
- Quality Control Standards
- Banking Act
- Budget Act
- Islamic Banking
- Parliamentary Foreign Direct Investment Oversight
- Introduction to the WTO
- Public Sector Spending
- Non-State Business Mechanisms
2009 Approximate Turnover of Largest Business Client: $5,700,000,000 USD
2009 Approximate Turnover of Smallest Business Client: $150,000 USD
- Corporate Governance Framework – General Services Firms
- Employment Contracts – General Services Firms
- Debt Reduction Strategy – Import/Export Firm
- Tax Compliance Strategy – Import/Export Firm
- Licenses to Operate – General Services Firms
- Liability Limitation Contracts – General Services Firms
- Corporate Governance Framework – Manufacturing Firms
- Distribution Contracts – Retail Firms
- Employment Contracts – Retail Firms
- Partnership Contracts – Retail Firms
- Corporate Governance Framework- Telecommunication Firms
- Licenses – Telecommunication Firms
- Corporate Governance Framework – Transportation Firms
- Labor Relations Contracts – Transportation Firms
- Employment Contracts – Transportation Firms
- Corporate Governance Framework – Transportation Firms
- Investor Relations Agreements – Transportation Firm
Cases brought / defended in court:32
Research, Translation & Assistance
Largest Donor Client Approximate Commitment to Somaliland: $10,000,000 USD
Smallest Donor Client Approximate Commitment to Somaliland: $5,000 USD
Acts of Parliament Translated (including Draft Acts): 37
Research & Analysis Memoranda Delivered to Policymakers, Donors, and NGOs: 93
Capacity Building & Workshops
Workshops led: 31
Total MPs & Government Staff Trained: 114
Watershed Legal Services is a member of International Lawyers Network AEA which is the largest lawyer’s network that exists. For more information about AEA please visit here. The firm also maintains contact of the main firms in Europe, Asia, America and Africa we are the only law firm in Somaliland/Somalia that can provide you with tailored advice to our clients.
We are building a number of strategic partnerships with organizations outside of Somaliland to facilitate our local clients access to the global financial markets. We have developed relationships with numerous other law firms, primarily from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, as well as in the United Arab Emirates. We are currently developing relationships with firms in other East African countries. This smoothes the transition of credit and equity flows from abroad since our partner law firms abroad often represent lenders or corporate entities interested in investing in Somaliland.
Watershed Legal Services uses many open source programs for its site. We are thankful to our sister organization, Watershed Platforms for their kind help in assembling all of the tools and integrating them into a coherent package for us. They have assembled a unique theme based on the criteria which we requested and if you like the theme then they have promised us that when they finish assembling the backend of the theme they will have available for download.
Otherwise, we use:
- Chrome – Its the fastest
- Hootsuite – To communicate easily with all our nodes
- feedly – To track & to read the good stuff
- Evernote – To log our research & browsing
- Instapaper – To remember to read the good stuff later
- Google Apps – Centerpiece of our firm’s backside
- Socialcast – As our internal facebook, twitter, etc.
- Manymoon – As our project management & time logging
- TimeToNote – As our socail CRM
- FreeAgent – As our expenses, estimates, and accounts tracker
- WordPress – As the backbone of our website
- GoDaddy – To host everything