Firm Profile > Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr > Cape Town, South Africa

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
South Africa

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is at the forefront of South Africa-listed company and private equity transactions. It is also gaining ground in cross-border deals and remains strong in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Willem Jacobs is a leader in listed company transactions and David Pinnock is a major name in private equity deals. Johan Latsky and Lilia Franca are also rated, as are Cape Town's Peter Hesseling, David Thompson and Johan GreenJustine Krige is an emerging name.

Practice head(s):

Willem Jacobs


The department has a strong commercial inclination and business sense.’

We have found the team to be highly commercial yet practical in implementing the transactions envisaged/desired by the counter-parties. Project management has been very good. We know exactly where we are in the bigger process – there no surprises.

The team provides well-balanced, practical, and business orientated service offering.

Willem Jacobs works closely with us to understand our objectives, to ensure that the logic/rationale is thoroughly tested and then accurately translated into best-in-class documentation that is easy to interpret and use. Willem is commercial and practical when advising us, which assists in clear decision-making with a minimum of back and forth.

David Pinnock is particularly great at cutting through to the actual risk issues which need to be addressed, with practical solutions.

Peter Hesseling is knowledgeable, commercial and solution orientated.

Lilia Franca is outstanding in terms of both the depth of her knowledge as well as her ability to identify solutions. She is able to master incredibly complex matters and provide constructive advice towards concluding a transaction.

David Thompson is an excellent lawyer who has impressive legal and industry knowledge and handles complex and delicate issues with considerable skill.

Johan Green has the ability to remain calm and rational when the counter-party or their attorneys are no longer acting reasonable or commercial.

Justine Krige is not only an excellent commercial lawyer, but also extremely helpful, approachable, efficient and always ready to go the extra mile.

Key clients

Anglo American

Burger King


Coca-Cola Company




Puma Energy

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr remains at the forefront of commercial litigation. It has a strong senior bench, including team head Tim FletcherRishaban Moodley and Eugene Bester. Executive consultants Pieter Conradie and Jonathan Witts-Hewinson remain key names in the department, with the former consistently leading on big-ticket cases. Kgosi Nkaiseng and Tim Smit are also noted, while associate Gareth Howard also impresses. Julian Jones joined Webber Wentzel in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Tim Fletcher


Attention to detail is fantastic with a very quick turn around time.

It has exceptional subject matter expertise, an understanding of the impact of litigation on business, and it is innovative and solution orientated.’

They are always coming up with innovative legal solutions.

Their size and scope makes them able to offer us a full service offering that is effective.’

Tim Fletcher is a stand-out litigator, who works with the client to achieve commercially sensible outcomes. His calm demeanour and steady hand ensures that matters proceed to a successful outcome.

Kgosi Nkaiseng is incredibly professional yet personable in his approach to his clients. He is always on the ball, just a phone call away and is quick to respond even when a query falls outside his area of expertise. His advice is always crisp and concise with little follow up explanations if required.

Tim Smit is an up and coming partner, who is committed to client outcomes.

Tim Smit treats each instruction with the highest efficiency, providing innovative solutions, having a genuine interest in the advancement of the client in providing a tailor made solution.’

Gareth Howard has been exceptional. Gareth is always courteous, friendly and professional. His attention to detail, professionalism and willingness to go far and beyond his call of duty has been impeccable.

Key clients




Barclays Bank

Old Mutual



Employment Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has established itself as a popular choice for advice on redundancies, strikes and retrenchments. It has also achieved growth in Africa-wide engagements. Fiona Leppan is a leader in the mining sector, Hugo Pienaar is noted for road freight and Aadil Patel is highly regarded for employment work in the public and financial services sectors. Tech and media are also growth markets for the team. Gillian LumbMichael YeatesNicholas Preston and Jose Jorge are also rated.

Practice head(s):

Aadil Patel


The firm’s uniqueness is embedded in the personal and professional experience you have as a client. They have the ability to appropriately balance building personal relationships with professional conduct, a more informal culture with the professionalism, respectful customer-centricity with strong legal advice and opinions.

The team is highly supportive and provides a partnership relationship.

Extremely knowledgeable attorneys who operate with the highest level of integrity. Their brilliance and the results they produce are truly impressive.

Aadil Patel is a pragmatic confident problem solver. He is always accessible and his general service is that of value add with a focus on outcomes rather than time.

Aadil Patel is extremely responsive and very practical in his advice and brings clarity to difficult legal issues with a commercial lens.

Gillian Lumb is very thorough in her approach to matters and provides very practical legal advice on issues.

Gillian Lumb is absolutely fantastic, always quick to assist and is able to explain complex matters simply. She take time to hear my issues and provides suggestions and great advice.

Michael Yeates is exceptionally professional and supportive. No matter how busy he is he always makes time for us and responds to queries in a professional and timely manner.

Nicholas Preston  is always available, never too busy to assist with your matter. He creates a feeling that he is part of your business as though he was your in-house legal advisor. He always goes the extra mile and unconditionally acts in his client’s best interest.

Jose Jorge has the capability to distinguish between the wood and the trees and to give advice and direction with difficult and complicated legal issues. and always relates that to the impact on the business and also specifically on future labour relations.

Key clients


City of Cape Town

Old Mutual

Absa Bank


British American Tobacco South Africa



South African Broadcasting Association

Real estate Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is widely recognised as the market leader thanks to its level of commitment to real estate, along with the volume, variety and complexity of its engagements. Attie PretoriusWilliam Midgley  and development expert Lucia Erasmus are highly regarded for both South Africa and Africa-wide matters. John Webber leads the department.

Practice head(s):

John Webber


It offers a complete one stop solution for all corporate legal needs and an ability to source knowledge from other areas when needed. The team is  willing to go the extra mile, offer superb client service and is always available.

The team has the strongest skills and experience in the listed real estate sector in South Africa.

It is an exceptionally professional firm with highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals. Their dedication, availability, and hard work, to name just a few traits, are beyond question.

Attie Pretorius is the preeminent expert in the property law sector.

William Midgley is undoubtedly the most experienced and knowledgeable attorney in the South African real estate industry.

Key clients

Absa Group No

Atterbury Properties

Coca Cola Company (USA)


Growthpoint Properties

Old Mutual


Pick ‘n Pay Stores

Banking and finance Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr maintains a notable presence in advising on multiple financing products and in the bank regulatory field. Project finance, DCM and derivatives are just a few key examples of core strength. Department head Deon Wilken is noted for project, trade and commodities, and acquisition finance; Ludwig Smith is a leader in acquisition finance and preference share fundings; and Bridget King is outstanding in derivatives. Pierre Swart stands out for ECM and DCM and Jenni Darling is also rated.

Practice head(s):

Deon Wilken


The practice’s uniqueness is its wealth of knowledge and experience. The team has proven time and time again that they are experts in the field.

We find that the firm consistently offers top tier quality legal advice, is commercially minded, quick to turn agreements and offer competitive rates.

Ludwig Smith is, in my opinion, the market leader in the banking sector. He understands the industry well and has a wealth of experience.

Jenni Darling has the ability to consider both legal and commercial aspects in transactions. Jenni is able to differentiate which issues to confront and which to let go, making for efficient transactions.

Key clients


Development Bank of Southern Africa

Steinhoff Africa

Old Mutual Life Assurance


Competition Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has an impressive market share of big-ticket transactions, litigation matters and market inquiries. It has made a particular impression in the telecoms and mining sectors, where Chris Charter has an outstanding reputation, while Andries le Grange is a key name for Constitutional Court cases. Lara Granville is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Chris Charter


The firm has a culture of making the client feel they are being listened to and involved in the entire process.

The team is engaged and clear in its communication skills. It is always willing to hear the client’s view and has no issues with guiding and mentoring the client through the process.

Chris Charter is super intelligent. He knows more about the industry and the company that I work for than I do. I know Chris’s advice is always highly considered from every angle and something that I can confidently rely on.

Chris Charter always appears to be calm and collected.

Lara Granville is organised, efficient and very responsive. She is approachable, practical and highly engaged.

Key clients



Hygrotech Properties

Legae Peresec



Matlosana Medical Health Services

Mediclinic Southern Africa

Construction Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a fine record in front-end construction work in South Africa's renewable energy programme. Joe Whittle and Timothy Baker are noted for construction disputes and Emma Dempster is rated for front-end construction contracts including those related to embedded generation projects. Senior associate Siviwe Mcetywa is another key name. Former department head Jurg van Dyk joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Joe Whittle


Detail oriented, but also reasonable and solution oriented.

Very strong renewable energy knowledge, with commercial acumen to capture technical commercial agreements in legal documents.

I’ve found Emma Dempster to be a very organised, professional lawyer, who’s understanding of embedded generation legislation has helped us in quite a number of ‘grey’ situations with clients.

Emma Dempster’s dedication to providing a quick and well-considered response to the client is much appreciated.

Timothy Baker is focused, responsive, very competent and flexible. The quality of advice is outstanding compared to other lawyers. Not only is his advice sound and accurate, but fits well with business strategy and objectives of my organisation.’

Siviwe Mcetywa is a talented rising star in my opinion. An absolute pleasure to work with.

Key clients

Johannesburg Development Agency

Clean Energy Africa

Batsalani Coral Investments


BioTherm Energy

Mining Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a significant client base of major, mid-tier and junior mining companies. It is active in restructurings and transactions involving the sale of non-core assets. Environmental and regulatory matters also account for a significant portion of the practice. Allan Reid leads the department, which includes mining law specialist Giada Masina, environmental and regulatory lawyer Sandra Gore and M&A leader Lilia Franca.

Practice head(s):

Allan Reid


Cliffe Dekker is by far the most efficient, thorough and professional firm.’

The team is excellent, committed and have impressive turnaround times on documents. They always go the extra mile.’

The turn-around time is phenomenal.

Insight into mining law and practical application, strong corporate and M&A competancy (especially in listed company rules), ability to find solutions to problems/issues.

Allan Reid is fantastic, commercial, his views are robust, and he has a high ethical standard.

Lilia France is a brilliant attorney, she has a vast amount of experience and we are very fortunate as she is always available for us.

Key clients

Anglo American

ArcelorMittal South Africa

Harmony Gold


Northam Platinum

Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has a strong presence in energy and infrastructure projects in South Africa and further afield in southern Africa and East Africa. Jay Govender leads the team, which also includes Emma Dempster and oil and gas specialist Megan Rodgers.

Practice head(s):

Jay Govender


Discharge of advisory services with highest degree of integrity and objectivity.’

The group works together as one integrated unit/team and has complementary skills.’

Good in-depth knowledge of the energy sector, and able to provide constructive solutions to certain challenges.

Jay Govender will not bend on moral and ethical advisory standards. She will effectively have the client’s back.

Emma Dempster has a very strong understanding of the energy and infrastructure sector and provides valued input into the structuring of power projects.

Megan Rodgers has over the years, proven time and again to be the best asset on all my oil & gas transactions. Her knowledge and ability to dissect transactions and transform these into sound legal agreements is second to none.

Key clients


BioTherm Energy

Ethiopia Electric Power

Kenya Urban Road Authority

Middle Lusutfu Hydropower

Old Mutual Investments

Southern African Power Pool

Tax Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to impress in financial services and mining tax matters. With strength across the board, the team has achieved growth in big-ticket disputes, including transfer pricing litigation. Emil Brincker is an outstanding practitioner, while Ludwig Smith is noted for hybrid financial instruments that involve complex tax structuring, and Gerhard Badenhorst is a recognised VAT specialist. Mark Linington is prominent in the fund structuring space. Dries Hoek is also rated.

Practice head(s):

Emil Brincker


They have a range of diverse specialists, which amount to a one stop shop solution for my tax needs. I would endorse them as easy to work with, have sound technical skills, and are focused on delivering pragmatic solutions. They make what is a complex area of law, accessible and understandable, both to myself and my stakeholders in the business.

Ludwig Smith and Dries Hoek will astutely identify tax risks, and help you understand and appreciate them in a meaningful way. They also understand the commercial drivers of the deal and are solutions orientated.

Emil Brincker has been our trusted adviser for many years and always provides a service of the highest quality.

Key clients

Vodacom Group

Investment funds Tier 3

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's funds team is leveraging the established client relationships within the firm. It now advises a greater number of general partners, particularly those in the mid-market space, and a growing proportion of start-up black fund managers. John Gillmer, who is based in Cape Town, leads the team, which includes tax director Mark Linington, who specialises in fund formation. Wayne Murray is the key name at senior associate level.

Practice head(s):

John Gillmer


Efficient, committed and motivated to get us to realise our goals during capital raising. They were responsive and proactive.

Breadth of industry service coverage. A one-stop shop.

John Gillmer provides fast responses and is knowledgeable on private equity structuring.’

Wayne Murray was fast to respond and clearly explained legal concepts which were new to me.

Key clients







The firm: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) believes the right partnerships lead to great things. The partnerships it cherishes and values most are those it has forged through time and experience with its clients and, of course, its people.

CDH is a full-service law firm – one of the largest business law firms in South Africa, with more than 300 lawyers and a track record spanning 165 years.

Offering across the African continent: the firm is able to provide experienced legal support and an authentic knowledge-based legal service for clients looking to do business in key markets across Africa. Its Africa practice leverages resources and expertise of leading business law firms across the continent, tapping into a wealth of experience, particularly when it comes to acting for governments, state agencies and multinational organisations. This strategic network, spanning across the continent, results in an extensive African capability. The firm also partners with other professional disciplines such as audit firms, business consulting houses and corporate finance institutions to provide a seamless and integrated solution for multi-disciplinary projects. CDH focuses on a number of key sectors which are active and thriving in Africa, including mining and minerals, telecommunications, construction, energy, oil and gas, banking and finance, projects and infrastructure, hospitality and leisure, and arbitration.

With first-hand, in-depth experience, CDH is able to offer sector-specific expertise and knowledge of regulatory nuances to provide an exceptional integrated service across Africa. This includes a proven track record and deal experience across multiple jurisdictions in Africa, a practical and commercial approach, a multidisciplinary team of experts managed from a single point, extensive sector experience, and dedicated, partner-led teams.

Areas of practice: The firm’s corporate and commercial offering covers the full spectrum of business legal services, which it delivers through core practice areas and sector teams.

CDH has 12 esteemed core practice areas: corporate and commercial; competition; dispute resolution; employment; environmental; finance and banking; pro bono and human rights; projects and infrastructure; real estate; tax and exchange control; technology and outsourcing; and trusts and estates. The firm also has dedicated sector teams composed of lawyers from across practice areas, bringing a wealth of experience to key industries, such as aviation, black economic empowerment, construction and engineering, convergence and new media, employee benefits, energy, hospitality and leisure, insolvency and restructuring, insurance, M&A, mining and minerals, oil and gas, outsourcing, PPPs, private equity and more. In addition, the firm has extensive public sector experience, acting for a large number of government departments and state-owned entities.

Whether needing seamless coordination across a number of jurisdictions or delivery in a single location, the firm’s clients can rely on advice that is underpinned by a solid understanding of both local and international considerations.

Diversity: CDH values diversity, respect for the individual and equal opportunity. At CDH, transformation is considered the shared responsibility of everyone in the firm. The firm puts a great deal of energy and time into its ongoing initiatives which aim to achieve CDH’s greater transformation aspirations.

Corporate responsibility: CDH undertakes to look after the communities in which it operates through pro bono and volunteer work. To this end, CDH’s dedicated pro bono and human rights practice facilitates access to justice for the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Department Name Email Telephone
BEE Allan Hannie
Competition Susan Meyer
Convergence and new media Janet Mackenzie
Corporate and commercial David Thompson
Dispute resolution Grant Ford
Employment Gillian Lumb
Energy Jay Govender
Environmental Terry Winstanley
Finance and banking Izak Lessing
M&A David Thompson
Private equity John Gillmer
Projects and infrastructure Jay Govender
Real estate Andrew Heiberg
Tax and exchange control Ben Strauss
Technology and sourcing Christoff Pienaar
Trusts and estates Johann Jacobs
Photo Name Position Profile
 Allison Alexander  photo Allison Alexander
 Roy Barendse  photo Roy Barendse
 Tessa Brewis  photo Tessa Brewis
 Michael Collins  photo Michael Collins
 Simone Franks  photo Simone Franks
 Daniel Fyfer  photo Daniel Fyfer
 Stephen Gie  photo Stephen Gie
 John Gillmer  photo John Gillmer
 Johan Green  photo Johan Green
 Allan Hannie  photo Allan Hannie
 Andrew Heiberg  photo Andrew Heiberg
 Peter Hesseling  photo Peter Hesseling
 Simone Immelman  photo Simone Immelman
 Johann Jacobs  photo Johann Jacobs
 Jose Jorge  photo Jose Jorge
 Adnaan Kariem  photo Adnaan Kariem
 Emma Kingdon  photo Emma Kingdon
 Justine Krige  photo Justine Krige
 Izak Lessing  photo Izak Lessing
 Gillian Lumb  photo Gillian Lumb
 Richard Marcus  photo Richard Marcus
 Nkcubeko Mbambisa  photo Nkcubeko Mbambisa
 Susan Meyer  photo Susan Meyer
 Ayanda Mhlongo  photo Ayanda Mhlongo
 Anita Moolman  photo Anita Moolman
 Nick Muller  photo Nick Muller
 Jo Neser  photo Jo Neser
 Francis Newham  photo Francis Newham
 Christoff Pienaar  photo Christoff Pienaar
 Lucinde Rhoodie  photo Lucinde Rhoodie
 Megan Rodgers  photo Megan Rodgers
 Belinda Scriba  photo Belinda Scriba
 David Thompson  photo David Thompson
 Andre de Lange  photo Andre de Lange
 Werner de Waal  photo Werner de Waal
Contact : Gasant Orrie (Cape managing partner)
Other offices : Johannesburg

CDH acknowledges that South Africa’s apartheid and gender discrimination legacy has adversely impacted on the legal profession and has inhibited access to both the profession and legal services.

We face the challenge of transformation and empowerment head on. We are a truly South African law firm where transformation is about living our values and principles.

We aspire to be a firm:

  • whose partners and professional and support employees are representative of the racial, gender, cultural and religious diversity of the people of South Africa;
  • where men and women at all levels within the firm enjoy equal opportunities and treatment in relation to access to work, recruitment, promotion and remuneration; and
  • that creates a working environment that is sensitive to the particular challenges faced by previously marginalised groups such as women and black people.

Our values
We connect our people, our clients and our communities through our values and are committed to responsible stewardship. We value diversity and respect for the individual. We believe in teamwork for the good of the firm and our clients.

We are an employer of choice who believes in the development of our people that helps them achieve professional and personal fulfilment. We believe client satisfaction is at the heart of our business and we strive to achieve excellence in everything we do for them.

We are committed to long-term relationships with our clients that are based on openness, honesty and integrity. We believe in living our core values and investing in our communities. 

Pro Bono and Human Rights practice 
Our dedicated Pro Bono and Human Rights practice was launched as a commitment to strengthening the firm’s pro bono services.  The practice assists indigent and disadvantaged people to access justice and forwards human rights and constitutionalism through public interest work.  It also focuses on creating partnerships and nurturing relationships with NGO’s, non-profit organisations, and other appropriate institutions on a pro bono basis, as well as undertaking substantive project work.

Every lawyer in the firm is called on to make a contribution, which offers them the opportunity individually to fulfil their social responsibility commitments. Our young lawyers and candidate attorneys gain invaluable experience and perspective through exposure to a wide range of pro bono and human rights matters.

During the 2017 year the Pro Bono Practice assisted many of its clients resolve long arduous legal battles, with great positive impact, made significant progress in furthering the cause of others, partnered in exciting and innovative human rights initiatives, hosted high profile guests, and assisted other Practice areas in carrying out important and meaningful pro bono work. Our firm donated in excess of 6,500 hours and R16 million to deserving individuals and organisations.  In recognition of our contribution and those of others in the firm who have given generously of their time and expertise, we are proud to report that the firm won three awards during the 2017 year for its pro bono contributions and in so doing has cemented its reputation as one of the leading contributors to pro bono amongst law firms across the country.