Firm Profile > Werksmans Attorneys > Cape Town, 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.

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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
Ms Doelie Lessing  photo Ms Doelie Lessing
Mr Johan Theron  photo Mr Johan Theron
Mr David Walker  photo Mr David Walker
Number of lawyers : 213
Number of lawyers at all 3 WC offices : 62
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Other offices : Sandton
Other offices : Stellenbosch
Other offices : Tyger Valley