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South Africa

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 > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Bowmans has a hugely impressive senior bench and a team that delivers a ‘high work ethic’ and ‘quality service’ through ‘sound, pragmatic and practical’ advice. The team has experienced growth in transactions, investigations and employee risk engagements in South Africa and beyond. The department is 17 partners strong and recently advised Transnet on the legal and regulatory framework for labour relations in nine African jurisdictions. Graham Damant is ‘pragmatic, knowledgeable and gets results quickly’ and Chris Todd is ‘intelligent and strategic’. Karen Fultonhas wonderful experience and great in-depth knowledge’, provides ‘practical’ advice, and works hard to understand her clients’ businesses. Robin Carr, Talita Laubscher and Rosalind Davey are also recommended.

ENSafrica is noted for its Africa-wide expertise and record in retrenchment exercises, redundancies and strikes. The team was reinforced by the arrival of Joe Mothibi and St Elmo Wilken from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc and Tabacks respectively. The firm represented Anglo American Platinum in 13 dismissal disputes. Brian Patterson, Stuart Harrison and Fritz Malan are outstanding names, along with Ross Alcock, Dion Masher, Peter le Roux and Lizle Louw; the latter ‘understands the mining industry and union engagements’.

Webber Wentzel remains at the forefront of mining sector retrenchments, mine closures and general labour relations issues; in this area, Johan Olivier and Eugene Phajane are big players. Phajane defended Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine against a constitutional challenge application brought by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. Manufacturing, financial services and technology are also key industries for the practice that also impresses in senior executive remuneration packages and incentive schemes. Nick Robb is a ‘deep thinker’, ‘measured’ and ‘deliberate’, and Dhevarsha Ramjettan is ‘superb’ with ‘excellent skills’. Pamela Stein, Kenneth Coster and Cape Town’s Claire Gaul are also recommended.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is noted for its expertise in transport and logistics, mining, public sector, financial services, mining and retail work and continually impresses in retrenchment exercises, restructurings strikes and collective bargaining. The team recently represented Eskom, the electricity utility, in an equal pay dispute. Fiona Leppan is a mining sector expert, Hugo Pienaar is noted for transport and logistics matters and Aadil Patel has extensive public sector and the parastatals experience. Cape Town’s Gillian Lumb is also highly respected.

Fasken hired pensions specialist Rosemary Hunter, the former deputy registrar of pension funds at the Financial Services Board, to further expand its offering, which also includes health and safety, employee benefits and mainstream labour law. The group has upped its focus on the public sector and pharmaceuticals industry, while remaining strong in the automotive, construction and financial services sectors. It advised SPX DB Thermal on a strike and incidents of misconduct at the Kusile Power Station construction site. Paul Fouche provides a ‘personalised service’ and understands his clients’ industries. Ludwig Frahm-Arp ‘has great business acumen’, ‘a depth of experience’ and delivers ‘a high quality work product’. Melanie Hart is recommended for boardroom disputes.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa) is widely recognised for retrenchments, collective bargaining and strikes. According to one client, the team’s advice is ‘beyond expectations’. The group advised South African Revenue Services (SARS) on a major restructuring exercise. Imraan Mahomed is highly regarded, as is firm chairman Lavery Modise. Hedda Schensema is ‘the best in the industry’, according to one client, and Osborne Molatudi is ‘a good labour law litigator’.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc lost Joe Mothibi to ENSafrica, but maintains a strong senior bench featuring Hermann Nieuwoudt, Murray Alexander, Mohammed Chavoos and Karen Ainslie; Ainslie is ‘professional, ethical and delivers consistently high levels of service’. The team is recognised for parastatal work and for its expertise in strikes, investigations and restructurings.

Werksmans Attorneys has experienced growth in restructurings, retrenchments and redundancy exercises, and has increased its exposure to parastatal work. The firm has an impressive record in construction and engineering and delivers ‘consistently high standards’ through ‘tactically very astute’ and ‘passionate’ practitioners. The team advised Siemens on the carve-out of its wind power and renewables business into a new entity, Siemens Power. Anastasia Vatalidis leads the team, which includes Cape Town’s Jacques van Wyk, who provides ‘excellent legal knowledge and practical advice’, and parastatal specialist Sandile July.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg is best known for global reorganisations and business transfers, collective bargaining and strikes, and compliance and investigations. ‘Outstanding lawyer’ Johan Botes has extensive trade union experience, ‘has great technical expertise and a good understanding of industry trends’, is a ‘brilliant negotiator’ and is ‘very hands-on and proactive’. Clients include Accenture, Comair and Verifone Africa.

Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc is a ‘strong labour law firm’ with an enviable record in representing unions and employees; National Union of Metalworkers and National Union of Mineworkers are key clients. Paul Benjamin, Shamima Gaibie and Reynaud Daniels are outstanding practitioners.

Fluxmans has extensive experience in the mining and industrial sectors, including strikes and collective bargaining issues. Danie Pretorius, Aristidis Christ Soldatos, Lisa-Anne King and Darryn Steven Mer are recommended.

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