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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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South Africa > Competition > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Bowmans is the acknowledged leader in wider Africa and cross-border work. The firm has advised on the South African and African components of a series of global mergers. Tamara Dini, who is praised for her overseas experience and ‘can be trusted with the most complex and delicate matters’, led the team that advised China National Chemical Corporation on the South Africa, COMESA and Kenya merger control aspects of its acquisition of Syngenta. The group also impresses in dawn raids, cartel investigations and abuse of dominance cases. Market leader Derek Lotter, the ‘professional’ and ‘intuitiveRobert Legh and Rudolph Labuschagne are also recommended.

ENSafrica has a sizeable team covering major mergers, complaints and inquiries with considerable aplomb. It is praised for its ‘technical knowledge’, ‘strategic thinking’ and ‘project management skills’. Mark Garden led the team that advised Edcon on its financial restructuring, which involved merger clearances in six African jurisdictions. It also acted for PG Group in a dawn raid by the Competition Commission. Jocelyn Katz heads the team, which includes Derushka Chetty and Natalia Lopes, who are ‘out of the top drawer’ and praised for ‘going above and beyond the call of duty’. Justin Balkin and economist Lizel Blignaut are also recommended.

Webber Wentzel has a big domestic and international reputation and is often engaged to advise on merger control filings in multiple jurisdictions. The group recently represented several banks in the Competition Commission’s investigation into alleged price fixing by foreign currency traders. The team is ‘extremely professional’, ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘exceeds expectations’. Desmond Rudman is a true market leader and Daryl Dingley has ‘a hands-on approach to problem solving’ and ‘empowers juniors to attend to appropriate work’. Martin Versfeld is ‘very committed and loyal to clients’ and ‘is particularly well connected with the Competition Commission’. Robert Wilson is also outstanding.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg has a formidable South Africa and global competition practice. Following the departure of department head Vani Chetty, the Johannesburg team is now led by Nick Altini, who is described as ‘very switched on, pragmatic and hardworking’ and ‘gets his head around the most difficult issues’. The firm continues to impress in mergers, anti-competitive practices and litigation, for example, representing HSBC in alleged FX price fixing proceedings. The team has ‘outstanding industry knowledge’ and delivers a ‘great quality and innovative service’.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has impressed in conduct and investigations matters, while maintaining an impressive market share of mergers (including major public interest mergers) and disputes. It has a range of blue-chip and multinational clients. The team has ‘very good industry knowledge’ and ‘works quickly to identify the key facts in each transaction’. The group advised The Coca-Cola Company on exercising its call option over SABMiller’s majority stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. Department head Chris Charter, Andries le Grange and Natalie von Ey all impress. Lara Granville joined from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is noted for big-ticket domestic and cross-border mergers and anti-competitive conduct work. Clients include Wilmar, Bridgestone and Chevron, the latter of which it defended against a Competition Commission complaint against alleged price fixing and market allocation by diesel manufacturers. Marianne Wagener heads the team, Mark Griffiths has strong connections to regulators and Rosalind Lake is also highly regarded.

Nortons Inc impresses in merger control, advisory, conduct investigations and litigation (including class actions). The team represented Sasol Polymers in a landmark excessive pricing case before the South African Competition Tribunal and the Competition Appeal Court. Anthony Norton is a market leader and Anton Roets is recommended for pharmaceutical cases, John Oxenham for class actions and Paul Russell is noted for regulatory issues, investigations and litigation.

Werksmans Attorneys has an impressive market share of cartel investigations, market inquiries, mergers, and abuse of dominance cases. TMT is a key industry for the team; it represented Media24 in an abuse of dominance case brought by the Competition Commission. The team is ‘responsive, professional, dependable and committed’ and ‘goes the extra mile’. Paul Coetser is outstanding, as are key partners Ahmore Burger-Smidt and Paul Cleland. Pieter Steyn and Petra Krusche are also recommended.

Fasken continues to impress in cartel and collusion cases. The group defended ArcelorMittal in a number of cases, including alleged abuse of dominance and cartel matters, which were resolved through an overarching settlement agreement with the Competition Commission. Stephen Langbridge heads the team which includes new partner Neil Mackenzie.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP launched an impressive competition practice with the hire of Jean Meijer from Bowmans. The new practice has already made an impression in price fixing cases and market inquiries in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Meijer is ‘experienced, practical, knowledgeable and commercially astute’.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa) has cemented its presence in South Africa, taking on a series of high-quality engagements, including advising Bayer on its acquisition of Monsanto, which involved merger notifications in several African jurisdictions. Lesley Morphet is praised by a client for getting a deal ‘back on track’ and ‘perhaps saving the transaction’. Nkonzo Hlatshwayo has broad experience having had senior positions at several regulatory authorities.

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