The Legal 500

South Africa

Share this page

Editorial

Legal market overview

South Africa’s legal market continues to change, not least because of the growing interest from international law firms. Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP launched a Johannesburg office at the end of 2015 and recruited leading projects lawyer Brigitte Baillie and eminent mining specialist Peter Leon from Webber Wentzel.

Chadbourne & Parke was another new arrival in 2015, hiring projects partner Lido Fontana from Bowman Gilfillan, to lead the Johannesburg office.

Clyde & Co, which entered South Africa in 2014, continued its hiring spree in 2015: it recruited insurance specialists Tony Hardie and Amelia Costa from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc, contentious construction and infrastructure experts Robert Scott and Alon Meyerov from ENSafrica, and medical malpractice specialist Athol Gordon from Bowman Gilfillan.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP further developed its project finance practice with the hire of Jason van der Poel from Webber Wentzel.

Another landmark development was Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr breaking off its association with DLA Piper.

Baker & McKenzie Johannesburg also continued its expansion strategy by hiring experienced projects partner Kieran Whyte and employment specialist Johan Botes from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. The international firm has also bolstered its resources by transferring a number of senior figures from the London office including Frances Okosi and Chris Hogan.

Aside from the aggressive recruitment strategies of the international firms in South Africa, there remains a great deal of unrest in the market and frequent lateral moves between top firms.

Webber Wentzel has undergone a great deal of change, with various arrivals and departures: the firm lost important names to international firms, as well as seasoned private equity specialist John Bellew to Bowman Gilfillan, and tax partners Mark Linington and Michael Honiball to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Werksmans Attorneys, respectively; it hired Muhammad Sader and Shaun Browne from Baker & McKenzie Johannesburg, Mike Mclaren from Bowman Gilfillan and Tahera Cassim from Prinsloo, Tindle & Andropoulos Inc to enhance its finance practice. It also hired eminent corporate and M&A lawyer Gareth Driver from Werksmans Attorneys. Such fluidity would be unheard of in many other jurisdictions, but has become a feature of the South African market in recent years.

Interview with...

Law firm managing partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in South Africa

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Lower VAT On Hotel Services In Montenegro

    An important piece of regulation has been introduced in Montenegro recently, through the reduction of VAT on catering services in four stars hotels (in the north of the country) and five-star hotels (on the seaside), which will be effective from 2018. According to media reports, Olivera Brajović, General Director of Tourism Development and Standards in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, pointed out that these reduced tax rates on services of preparing and serving food and drinks are expected to raise the overall competitiveness in the hospitality sector, while at the same time contribute to the combat against grey economy.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Joins The NextLaw Global Referral Network

    Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that it has joined the NextLaw Global Referral Network, created by global law firm Dentons. We are particularly excited by the fact that Nextlaw presents a new type of network, with a unique invitation-only approach in their selection, ensuring that all of its members have the highest quality standards and a proven track record of excellence.
  • Sweet Smell Of Success - Serbian Sugar Industry Consolidates Its Forces

    After more than a four months and a Phase II (in-depth) investigation, the Competition Commission gave conditional approval, to Sunoko's acquisition of the Star Šećer company and its subsidiary Te-To - the owner of the sugar factory in Senta. No divestments have been required from Sunoko.
  • New Bridge Over Danube To Be Built In Belgrade

    News reports are informing us that Belgrade will gain another bridge over the Danube river in the near future – this one at the Ada Huja island and over three kilometres long.
  • Nikola Tesla Airport To Acquire Sava Centar?

    Media outlets have recently been reporting on the possibility that Nikola Tesla Airport will acquire Sava Centar (SC), with the purpose of turning it into its company headquarters. This acquisition would be followed by an investment of over EUR 30 million in the next three years for the building's reconstruction and adaptation. Such a decision would result in Sava Centar changing its name to "Congress Centre Nikola Tesla Airport", with an expanded array of facilities, including a tower, a shopping mall, and a hotel. The funds for the investment in question will be hailing from the Airport's own assets.
  • Too Big To Hide – European Commission Sanctions Truck Cartel

    Global competition law circles have recently been shaken by the European Commission's record-setting fine of EUR 2.93 billion for collusion on the automotive market, imposed against Volvo, Daimler, Iveco and DAF trucks. The sanctions in question varied amongst the accused parties, with Daimler facing the largest penalty in the amount of more than EUR 1 billion on its own. Iveco's fine was set at EUR 494 million, DAF's at EUR 752 million, and Volvo's fine has been set at EUR 670 million.
  • Cartel Office ensures greater competition in rail sector

    The German railway company Deutsche Bahn must allow for more competition. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, found that the company had abused its dominant market position with respect to the sale of rail tickets.
  • ETERNA LAW IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE START OF THE COOPERATION WITH PUBLIC ASSOCIATION "ACADEMY OF PREVE

    Eterna Law (representative office in Almaty) announces the beginning of co-operation as a legal adviser with the Public Association "Academy of Preventive Medicine of Kazakhstan."
  • LAG Sachsen-Anhalt on video surveillance at the workplace

    Video surveillance at the workplace does not inevitably give rise to claims for damages. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Sachsen-Anhalt [Regional Labour Court of Saxony-Anhalt] (Az.: 6 Sa 301/14).
  • Final stretch for loan withdrawal

    Those who still want to withdraw from real estate loans concluded between 2002 and 2010 should take action now while the right of withdrawal is on its last legs. This get-out-of-jail-free card is set to lapse shortly.