Firm Profile > Bowmans > Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Bowmans continues to impress in cross-border transactions, most notably for foreign multinationals, and is at the forefront of major corporate restructurings. It advised Datatec on its $830m disposal of a majority stake in its Westcon-Comstor business to Synnex. The firm also assisted Trinitas Private Equity Partnership with its acquisition of a $300m majority stake in AutoX from Powertech Industries. The 'approachable and friendly' team 'performs with speed and accuracy' and 'helps make the deal happen'. Ezra Davids is a hugely experienced M&A practitioner and Charles Douglas is 'pragmatic and clever' and is particularly noted for big-ticket cross border deals. John Bellew is a leader in private equity transactions and Charles Young is recommended for mining sector M&A. Ashleigh Hale is noted for black economic empowerment (BEE) matters. Ian Kirkman is 'detail driven while remaining entirely commercial and focused on the best outcome'. Robert Cohen is 'a very clever lawyer', 'a good negotiator' and 'a lateral thinker'.

Competition Tier 1

Bowmans is regarded as the leader in Africa-wide competition matters, especially in merger notifications. The firm is also at the forefront of behavioural matters in South Africa, acting for parties in most of the industry inquiries. It defended Continental Tyre South Africa in an inquiry into alleged price-fixing activity involving tyre manufacturers in South Africa. Clients praise its experience of working with competition authorities across Africa. Derek Lötter and chairman and senior partner Robert Legh are 'outstanding'. Tamara Dini and Rudolph Labuschagne are also key partners.

Employment Tier 1

Bowmans is 'the best', according to one client, thanks to a number of outstanding practitioners, including Graham DamantChris Todd, Karen Fulton and Robin Carr. The team is praised for its 'expertise, practicality and responsiveness'. It represented Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine in an employee transfer dispute with the contract miner. Talita Laubscher is 'exceptionally practical, exceptionally responsive and goes above and beyond for her clients'.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 1

Bowmans has exceptional senior talent and a depth of experience in public and private sector engagements. It advises a range of sponsors, lenders and project companies and is increasingly involved in projects outside of South Africa. The team assisted the lenders with the restructuring and extension of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project. Anton Barnes-Webb, Daryn Webb, Shamilah Grimwood-Norley and Patrick Hirsch are highly rated.

Shipping and transport Tier 1

Bowmans is building further market share with growth in ports and terminal sector work and commodities market engagements. It is also working closely with ship finance banks in insolvency and workout roles. It advised MSC Cruises and Kwa-Zulu Cruise Terminal on the development of Durban Cruise Terminal. Andrew Pike leads the ports, terminals and logistics team, while Craig Cunningham is head of shipping and logistics. Jeremy Prain and Mark van Velden are also key partners.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Bowmans has 'a very commercial approach and is excellent at going above and beyond in driving transactions'. The firm has maintained its prominence in the market thanks to a series of impressive restructuring engagements. It advised various investment and development funds on the restructuring of Real People Investment Holdings' capital structure and third party debt, which involved the clients receiving a significant shareholding in the company; Real People's debt was listed on both the Johannesburg and Swedish stock exchanges. The team is historically strong in acquisition finance and has further cemented its standing in trade and commodity finance. Ulrike Naumann provides 'commercially-minded advice and negotiates strong positions' for clients. Preference share funding expert Jan Kruger and resource financing specialist Jason Wilkinson are also recommended.

Construction Tier 2

Bowmans has continued to develop its standing, following the departure of a senior team to Pinsent Masons LLP. New face Andrew van Niekerk is praised for his 'prompt reactions and feedback', 'knowledge of construction law' and is 'above the rest' according to one client. He and Lloyd Chater are rebuilding the firm's presence in contentious and transactional matters. The team advised Palabora Mining on the EPC and contractor mining contracts for the Brownfield Lift II copper mining expansion project. Spencer Naicker and Tumisang Mongae are also recommended.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Bowmans is at the forefront of class actions and tax litigation, among other dispute resolution segments. It is also developing its standing in cross-border disputes. The team represented RTT Group in enforcing a restraint of trade agreement with its former chief operating officer. The department is 'knowledgeable, experienced and patient'. The team features heavyweight litigators Tim Gordon-Grant, Adam Anderson and James McKinnell, along with up-and-coming name Clement Mkiva.

Investment funds Tier 2

Bowmans is a burgeoning presence in private equity funds, including pan-African fund structuring and formation. The expansion of the firm's tax department has further augmented the funds practice, which is led by the highly reputed John BellewWally Horak is recommended for tax structuring.

Tax Tier 2

Bowmans has significantly expanded its offering with a sequence of lateral hires, including private equity sector specialist Michael Rudnicki from KPMG. With greater senior-level capacity, the firm is building on its longstanding experience in M&A, litigation, restructurings and international tax. The team is praised for its 'availability, efficiency and skills'. It advised AfriSam (South Africa) on its debt and equity restructuring. International tax expert Wally Horak is 'very competent and very knowledgeable', while Barry Garven and Alan Keep are key senior team members. Patricia Williams is recommended for tax litigation. Virusha Subban is 'very knowledgeable, experienced and a hands-on customs law practitioner'.

Mining Tier 3

Bowmans continues to build its mining client base and is especially recognised for mining M&A and environmental matters. It has 'a highly competent mining and M&A team', with Charles Young leading on M&A and Wandisile Mandlana  on mining law. The team advised Harmony Gold on its $300m acquisition of the Moab Khotsong mine, the Great Noligwa mine and related infrastructure from AngloGold Ashanti. Claire Tucker is noted for environmental issues.

Real estate Tier 3

Bowmans impresses in a range of real estate matters including development and redevelopment engagements. It advised Eris Property Group and WBHO Construction on the acquisition, development and management of student accommodation in Hatfield Pretoria. The team is 'responsive and attentive to detail', 'great to work with', 'professional' and 'willing to drop everything and assist if required'. Craig Schafer and Samantha Saffy are the key partners. Senior associate Julia Power is also praised by clients.

The firm: Bowmans is a leading Pan-African law firm. Its track record of providing domestic and cross-border legal services in the fields of corporate law, banking and finance law and dispute resolution spans over a century.

With 400 specialised lawyers, Bowmans is differentiated by its independence and the quality of legal services it provides.

The firm delivers integrated legal services to clients throughout Africa from six offices (Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Johannesburg, Kampala and Nairobi) in four countries (Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda).

Bowmans works closely with leading Nigerian firm Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, and Mozambique-based boutique firm Taciana Peão Lopes & Advogados Associados. It also has strong relationships with other leading law firms across the rest of Africa and is a representative of Lex Mundi, a global association with more than 160 independent law firms across the globe.

Clients include corporates, multinationals and state-owned enterprises across a range of industry sectors as well as financial institutions and governments.

Bowmans’ expertise is frequently recognised by independent research organisations. The firm has been named African Legal Adviser by DealMakers for the last three consecutive years and South African Law Firm of the Year for 2016 by the Who’s Who Legal. Most recently, Bowmans won the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Team of the Year Award at the prestigious African Legal Awards hosted by Legal Week and the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa in 2017. The firm was also ‘highly commended’ in the African Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice and Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year categories.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and financial services regulatory
Commercial property
Dispute resolution
Employment and benefits
Governance, compliance and investigations
Government contracting and public procurement
Oil and gas
Private equity
Mergers and acquisitions
Regulatory services
Shipping and logistics
Photo Name Position Profile
 Adam Anderson  photo Adam Anderson
 Anton Barnes-Webb  photo Anton Barnes-Webb
 John Bellew  photo John Bellew
 Robin Carr  photo Robin Carr
 Miles Carter  photo Miles Carter
 Craig Cunningham  photo Craig Cunningham
 Graham Damant  photo Graham Damant
 Ezra Davids  photo Ezra Davids
 Tamara Dini  photo Tamara Dini
 Charles Douglas  photo Charles Douglas
 Karen Fulton  photo Karen Fulton
 Barry Garven  photo Barry Garven
 Tim Gordon-Grant  photo Tim Gordon-Grant
 Shamilah Grimwood-Norley  photo Shamilah Grimwood-Norley
 Wally Horak  photo Wally Horak
 Alan Keep  photo Alan Keep
 Jan Kruger  photo Jan Kruger
 Derek Lötter  photo Derek Lötter
 Rudolph Labuschagne  photo Rudolph Labuschagne
 Robert Legh  photo Robert Legh
 Ulrike Naumann  photo Ulrike Naumann
 Andrew Pike  photo Andrew Pike
 Jeremy Prain  photo Jeremy Prain
 Craig Schafer  photo Craig Schafer
 Chris Todd  photo Chris Todd
 Claire Tucker  photo Claire Tucker
 Daryn Webb  photo Daryn Webb
 Jason Wilkinson  photo Jason Wilkinson
 Patricia Williams  photo Patricia Williams
 Charles Young  photo Charles Young
 Casper van Heerden  photo Casper van Heerden
 Mark van Velden  photo Mark van Velden
Number of lawyers : 400
Lex Mundi
Contact : Alan Keep (managing partner, T: +27 11 669 9348 E:
Other offices : Cape Town
Other offices : Dar es Salaam
Other offices : Durban
Other offices : Kampala
Other offices : Nairobi