Firm Profile > Werksmans Attorneys > Johannesburg, South Africa

Werksmans Attorneys
South Africa

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Werksmans Attorneys's team 'works seamlessly', 'communicates better and has a better understanding of matters than others', according to one client. The firm is a giant of the dispute resolution scene, leading the market in range of segments including administrative and regulatory disputes, telecoms litigation and international arbitration. It acted for South African Reserve Bank in review proceedings against the Public Protector concerning alleged failure to recover misappropriated funds. David Hertz is 'first choice’, ‘a straight shooter’, 'the top commercial disputes lawyer in the country' and 'knows how to manage a team'. Des Williams is a leader in international arbitration and Corlett Manaka is recommended for administrative and constitutional law cases. Darren Willans is 'impeccable, unflappable and a clear leader in this space'.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys has a firmly established practice with a lengthy record in acquisition and leveraged finance, structured finance and DCM, project finance and syndicated lending. Restructurings and refinancings are key growth areas; a team led by Elliott Wood advised Blue Label Telecoms as a new shareholder in Cell C as part of the latter's headline restructuring. Danny Andropoulos has cemented the firm's connection to Standard Bank with he and the firm advising the bank on a series of major financings and refinancings. Paul Tindle is another key name an advised Real People on a capital restructure transaction. Richard Roothman is outstanding in structured finance.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys continues to impress in listed-company M&A and JSE listings, cross-border deals, and insolvency and restructuring work. The team is 'very solution driven and focused on the end product', 'incredibly knowledgeable and pleasant to work with' and provides 'great turnaround times'. It advised Datatec on the disposal of its Westcon-Comstor business in the Americas and 10% of Westcon International to SynnexCorp. It remains strong in mining and resources and assisted Samancor with its acquisition of the business and assets of Hernic Ferrochrome (in business rescue). David Gewer and Kevin Trudgeon are big name dealmakers, and Danny Andropoulos and Gerhard Johannes are also highly rated. Senior associate Derek Alexander is recommended.

Competition Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys continues to impress in mergers, competition litigation, market inquiries and cartel cases. It has an especially strong record in TMT and represented Media24 in a landmark abuse of dominance case, with the Competition Appeal Court ruling in the client's favour in March 2018. The 'client-centric' team is praised for its 'responsiveness, professional capabilities and adaptability'. The highly-reputed Paul Coetser heads the team, which includes Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Paul ClelandPieter Steyn and Rudolph Raath.

Construction Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys remains prominent in construction disputes with Jason Smit to the fore. He led the team that represented Life Healthcare Group in claims against the professional team and the contractor concerning the alleged negligent demolition of a load-bearing wall at the Flora Clinic facility. Des Williams is also a leader in construction arbitration and Deon Griessel is an experienced construction documentation expert.

Employment Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys has taken further market share with growth in equal pay litigation, redundancies and retrenchments. The pharmaceutical industry is a growth sector, while it maintains a strong standing in parastatal work thanks to the presence of Sandile July and others. It represented Adcock Ingram Healthcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care in several equal pay for equal work disputes. Cape Town-based Jacques van Wyk is also recommended.

Mining Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys has continued to cement its already formidable regulatory position, thanks to the presence of mining law leader Chris Stevens. The team has built closer connections to the Anglo Group, including Anglo Coal and Anglo Platinum; South32, Golfields and Glencore are also key clients. It is a leader in mining M&A too and advised Samancor Chrome on its acquisition of Hernic Ferrochrome Mine.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys is recognised for its recent record in infrastructure projects, including toll roads. In this regard, Chris Moraitis has an excellent reputation. The team advised South Africa National Roads Agency on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and a number of other projects in South Africa and across the continent. Conventional power and renewables projects are also strengths of the practice. David Walker, Astrid Berman, Jonathan Behr and Deon Griessel are other names to note.

Real estate Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys recruited Fátima Rodrigues from Fluxmans to head the Johannesburg team and provide additional commercial and development expertise. The wider department is 'commercial' and has extensive experience in large brownfield and mixed-use developments. It assisted Tsogo Sun Holdings with Tsogo and Hospitality Property Fund's acquisition of casino precinct properties owned by the Tsogo Group; this was one of the largest restructuring and property disposals ever concluded in South Africa. Hendrik Kotze in Cape Town is another key name.

Tax Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys has two seasoned professionals in 'very astute tax adviser' Ernest Mazansky and international tax expert Michael Honiball, who 'dominates the private client space'. The team has been active in a series of major tax disputes and investigations. Other work includes advising Heriot Properties on altering its tax structure in advance of it being listed as a REIT. Doelie Lessing is recommended for funds work.

Intellectual property Tier 3

Werksmans Attorneys acts for an impressive range of South African clients operating across a wide number of industries, including insurance and financial services, media, telecoms and sports. Janine Hollesen leads the practice, which includes Donvay Wegierski, who heads the foreign IP practice. The team acted for Omega Pharma in interdict proceedings against the use and registration of the 3CP mark.

Investment funds Tier 3

Werksmans Attorneys has notable strength acting for regulated and unregulated South African funds and offshore funds. The firm has an impressive institutional investor and asset manager client base with Shayne Krige an experienced figure in the investment funds space. He led the team that advised Barak Fund Management, an offshore fund platform, on drafting amendments to fund documentation, assisting with derivative contracts and setting up new funds. Senior associate Hilah Laskov is a key team member.

The firm

Established in the early 1900s, Werksmans Attorneys is a leading South African corporate and commercial law firm, serving multinationals, listed companies, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and government.

Operating in Gauteng and the Western Cape, the firm is connected to an extensive African legal alliance through LEX Africa. LEX Africa was established in 1993 as the first and largest African legal alliance and offers huge potential for Werksmans’ clients seeking to do business on the continent by providing a gateway to Africa.

Areas of practice

With a formidable track record in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, and commercial litigation and dispute resolution, Werksmans is distinguished by the people, clients and work that it attracts and retains. Werksmans’ more than 200 lawyers are a powerful team of independent-minded individuals who share a common service ethos. The firm’s success is built on a solid foundation of insightful and innovative deal structuring and legal advice, a keen ability to understand business and economic imperatives and a strong focus on achieving the best legal outcome for clients.

Go to for more information.

Department Name Email Telephone
Head of Banking & Finance Richard Roothman +27 11 535 8115
Head of Insolvency, Business Rescue and Restructuring Eric Levenstein +27 11 535 8237
Director, Insolvency, Business Rescue & Restructuring Rael Gootkin +27 21 405 5236
Head of Competition Paul Coetser +27 11 535 8290
Head of Labour & Employment Anastasia Vatalidis +27 11 535 8472
Director, Labour & Employment Jacques van Wyk +27 21 405 5142
Director, Environmental Justin Truter +27 21 809 6143
Head of Business Crimes & Investigations Bernard Hotz +27 11 535 8106
Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences Neil Kirby +27 11 535 8198
Head of Investment Funds & Private Equity Shayne Krige +27 21 405 5161
Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution Corlett Manaka +27 11 535 8145
Chairman, Litigation and Dispute Resolution David Hertz +27 11 535 8283
Head of Construction & Engineering Jason Smit +27 (0)11 535 8359
Director, Corporate M&A Kevin Trudgeon +27 11 535 8169
Head of Corporate M&A Gerhard Johannes +27 11 535 8107
Head of Mining, Environmental & Resources Chris Stevens +27 11 535 8467
Director, Construction & Engineering, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions, Infrastructure, Energy & Projects Dave Walker +27 21 809 6158
Head of Property & Real Estate (Johannesburg) Fatima Rodrigues +27 11 535 8318
Head of Property & Real Estate (Western Cape) Hendrik Kotze +27 21 910 9018
Head of Tax Ernest Mazansky +27 11 535 8448
Banking & Finance, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions Danny Andropoulos +27 11 535 8248
Banking & Finance, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions Paul Tindle +27 11 535 8311
Head of Arbitration Des Williams +27 11 535 8234
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Dominique Arteiro  photo Mr Dominique Arteiro
Ms Tahera Bata  photo Ms Tahera Bata
Ms Lauren Becker  photo Ms Lauren Becker
Mr Jonathan Behr  photo Mr Jonathan Behr
Ms Astrid Berman  photo Ms Astrid Berman
Ms Nozipho Bhengu  photo Ms Nozipho Bhengu
Mr Ze’ev Blieden  photo Mr Ze’ev Blieden
Mr Trevor Boswell  photo Mr Trevor Boswell
Mr Pierre Burger  photo Mr Pierre Burger
Ms Ahmore Burger-Smidt  photo Ms Ahmore Burger-Smidt
Mr Paul Cleland  photo Mr Paul Cleland
Mr Paul Coetser  photo Mr Paul Coetser
Ms Cari Cole-Morgan  photo Ms Cari Cole-Morgan
Mr David Gewer  photo Mr David Gewer
Mr Jeremy Gobetz  photo Mr Jeremy Gobetz
Mr Deon Griessel  photo Mr Deon Griessel
Ms Nastascha Harduth  photo Ms Nastascha Harduth
Mr David Hertz  photo Mr David Hertz
Professor Michael Honiball  photo Professor Michael Honiball
Ms Vivienne Hosiosky  photo Ms Vivienne Hosiosky
Mr Bernard Hotz  photo Mr Bernard Hotz
Mr Harold Jacobs  photo Mr Harold Jacobs
Ms Tracy Jansen van Rensburg  photo Ms Tracy Jansen van Rensburg
Mr Gerhard Johannes  photo Mr Gerhard Johannes
Mr Sandile July  photo Mr Sandile July
Ms Jacqui Kallmeyer  photo Ms Jacqui Kallmeyer
Mr Ryan Killoran  photo Mr Ryan Killoran
Mr Neil Kirby  photo Mr Neil Kirby
Dr Eric Levenstein  photo Dr Eric Levenstein
Mr Stephan Lochner  photo Mr Stephan Lochner
Ms Kathleen Louw  photo Ms Kathleen Louw
Ms Bulelwa Mabasa  photo Ms Bulelwa Mabasa
Ms Khosi Mabaso  photo Ms Khosi Mabaso
Mr Corlett Manaka  photo Mr Corlett Manaka
Ms Happy Masondo  photo Ms Happy Masondo
Mr Ernest Mazansky  photo Mr Ernest Mazansky
Ms Sarah Moerane  photo Ms Sarah Moerane
Mr Chris Moraitis  photo Mr Chris Moraitis
Mr Peter Mosebo  photo Mr Peter Mosebo
Mr Karabo Motshwane  photo Mr Karabo Motshwane
Mr Jared Nickig  photo Mr Jared Nickig
Mr Seroshan Padayachy  photo Mr Seroshan Padayachy
Ms Monique Pansegrouw  photo Ms Monique Pansegrouw
Ms Daniela Pisanti  photo Ms Daniela Pisanti
Ms Taryn Potter  photo Ms Taryn Potter
Mr Brian Price  photo Mr Brian Price
Mr Adam Pyzikowski  photo Mr Adam Pyzikowski
Mr Rudolph Raath  photo Mr Rudolph Raath
Ms Aarthi Ramdhin  photo Ms Aarthi Ramdhin
Mr Richard Roothman  photo Mr Richard Roothman
Ms Wendy Rosenberg  photo Ms Wendy Rosenberg
Ms Natalie Scott  photo Ms Natalie Scott
Ms Tebogo Sibidla  photo Ms Tebogo Sibidla
Ms Lisa Silberman  photo Ms Lisa Silberman
Mr Jason Smit  photo Mr Jason Smit
Ms Jennifer Smit  photo Ms Jennifer Smit
Ms Bankey Sono  photo Ms Bankey Sono
Mr Chris Stevens  photo Mr Chris Stevens
Mr Pieter Steyn  photo Mr Pieter Steyn
Mr Jonathan Stockwell  photo Mr Jonathan Stockwell
Mr Johan Theron  photo Mr Johan Theron
Mr Kevin Trudgeon  photo Mr Kevin Trudgeon
Mr Dewald Van Den Berg  photo Mr Dewald Van Den Berg
Ms Anastasia Vatalidis  photo Ms Anastasia Vatalidis
Mr Graeme Wickins  photo Mr Graeme Wickins
Mr Darren Willans  photo Mr Darren Willans
Mr Des Williams  photo Mr Des Williams
Mr Elliott Wood  photo Mr Elliott Wood
Mr Bradley Workman-Davies  photo Mr Bradley Workman-Davies
Mr Jannie de Villiers  photo Mr Jannie de Villiers
Mr Frikkie van Tonder  photo Mr Frikkie van Tonder
Ms Anine van der Merwe  photo Ms Anine van der Merwe
Number of lawyers : 213
Number of lawyers at all 3 WC offices : 62
The Lex Africa Alliance
Other offices : Sandton
Other offices : Stellenbosch
Other offices : Tyger Valley

TESTIMONIAL: “Excellent. The partners are very engaged and they don’t waste time and money on unnecessary processes and drafting.

TESTIMONIAL: Their work ethic is phenomenal, they have an eye for detail and their work is marked by excellence.

TESTIMONIAL: This is just a short note to tell you about the positive experience that I had with the team from Werksmans that worked on the Liquid deal with MTN.

It was a long road with many obstacles and some hair raising issues that needed to be resolved. Suffice to say that I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Werksmans team that worked on this.

You could throw just about anything at them and they would come through for MTN. That says a lot about the team, the work ethic, knowledge, experience and just good common sense that they exhibited. So to the team a major thank you from me and to you (David, Chairman, Werksmans) as well that create the environment where they want to do this for a client.

May 2019 bring about a few more occasions for such teamwork.

David Hertz, Chairman, Werksmans Attorneys

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Werksmans Attorneys from your competitors?

Our strategy and market differentiators remain:
1) Independence
2) Size
3) LEX Africa (our networks)
4) Specialist work
5) Relationships on all levels with clients and staff – our people remain our greatest asset.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

The three practice groups that Werksmans envisages growing over the next 12 months are:

  1. Corporate and debt restructuring;
  2. Tax; and
  3. Business crimes and Investigations.

The negative economic position within South Africa is likely to persist, at least in the short term. As more and more corporates are placed under pressure, there will be an escalating need to restructure their businesses and address their mounting debt.

With the slowdown in economic growth the fiscus is making more aggressive demands for payment of tax and that area of Werksmans’ practice, which has experienced exponential growth, envisages that the growth will continue. We are also advising an increasing number of high net-worth individuals in relation to the structuring of their personal affairs and corporates, their business affairs which is contributing to this growth.

With the endemic corruption that has plagued the country and the desire to eradicate it, there has been an ever increasing demand for the services offered by our Business Crimes and Investigations practice group.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

The most recent viable metric is our key client programme. This focused programme extends across the firm and provides us with the ideal platform to regularly engage with clients in order to facilitate measured improvement and client growth.

As is set out above, Werksmans’ size is regarded as one of its key differentiating metrics. A quality service is delivered by a focused team of individuals who are the leaders in their chosen fields.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes, we look inside-out for (revenue) growth e.g. operational efficiencies and growing talent organically.  Our focus remains being able to offer clients cost effectiveness and predictability based on continuous service delivery improvements and adoption of new technologies.  Having the constant dialogue with our clients ensures we keep our services relevant to their business agendas and immediate business needs.

For our staff, we constantly keep looking for ways to re-engineer certain processes to help lawyers become more efficient and technically astute.  We also encourage our lawyers to maintain and grow their levels of digital knowledge so that we continue to thrive in the future digital world.

Werksmans is in the process of adopting AI technology which will enable us to enhance the cost effective nature of the services we provide.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

By building relationships with our clients we gain an understanding at the coalface as it were as to their business imperatives and are therefore able to partner with them in addressing their requirements as opposed to merely being a service provider.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

As the first demographically representative major South African legal firm. Werksmans has lead the way in identifying trends within the market and as a thought leader is in a position to guide clients’ as opposed to react to their needs.