Legal Market Overview
South Africa continues to develop its status as a major legal hub for sub-Saharan Africa. It has attracted a range of international law firms to the jurisdiction, notably Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP, DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc, Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, Clyde & Co LLP, Hogan Lovells (South Africa), White & Case LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP and Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP. Despite the presence of international firms, the local legal market remains robust, even with the difficult economic climate. Firms such as Bowmans and ENSafrica have developed themselves as leading names in South Africa, while building presences across Africa through the launch of their own offices or striking alliances with firms in other jurisdictions. These firms, along with the likes of Webber Wentzel, Werksmans Attorneys and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr have stood up to the influx of international players, maintaining top-quality ranks and top-quality engagements. Lateral partner moves are a particular feature of the South African market, driven by the influx of international law firms. In 2020, the frequency of lateral moves declined, but there were some notable recruitments, including construction partner Jason Smit who left Werksmans Attorneys to join the fast-growing Pinsent Masons LLP.