Firm Profile > Bowmans > Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Bowmans has cemented its standing in cross-border M&A and continues to impress in advising foreign investors and multinational clients. It has a high market share of engagements on transformational and headline deals. Ezra Davids is chairman of the corporate group and has an excellent record in cross-border deals. Charles Douglas and Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe jointly head the M&A department, while John Bellew leads the private equity team. Ashleigh Hale and Charles Young are also highly rated.

Practice head(s):

Ashleigh Hale; Ezra Davids; Charles Douglas; Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe


The high quality team is proactive and engaged.

Ashleigh Hale is an excellent negotiator and is on top of the transaction.

Charles Douglas is a very capable lawyer and focused on getting deals done.

Key clients


Harmony Gold

Chevron Global Energy


African Wildlife Holdings Partnership


Competition Tier 1

Bowmans is highly rated for its geographic coverage and record in competition matters across sub-Saharan Africa. It has an excellent standing in merger notifications and in sector inquiries. In practice co-head Derek Lötter, it has one of the outstanding competition leaders in the market. Chairman and senior partner Robert Legh is also a hugely experienced competition specialist, while Tamara Dini jointly heads the practice from Cape Town. Rudolph Labuschagne is another key name and the arrival of highly rated practitioner Heather Irvine from Falcon and Hume Inc adds to the team's senior bench.

Practice head(s):

Derek Lötter; Tamara Dini


It is the best in South Africa.

Bowmans is a valued partner to in-house counsel. There is a willingness to properly understand the business or matter, before providing legal advice.

They are able to go further than what is usually required, by vesting themselves in the resolution of a matter.

Rudolph Labuschagne is always available for reasonable and pragmatic answers.

Key clients

Chevron Global Energy Inc. No

Rhône Capital


Royal Bafokeng Platinum

Continental Tyre South Africa

Kansai Paint

Employment Tier 1

Bowmans has a large and established team, which includes a number of market-leading practitioners. It handles some of the largest engagements in Africa from a number of blue-chip clients. Chris ToddGraham DamantKaren Fulton and Robin Carr are highly regarded practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Lusanda Raphulu; Chris Todd

Key clients



Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa

Pick n Pay Supply Chain

deVere Acuma

Anglo American Platinum

Alexander Forbes

Projects and infrastructure Tier 1

Bowmans has an outstanding senior bench of project finance specialists, most notably Daryn WebbAnton Barnes-Webb and Shamilah Grimwood-Norley. The group is widely commended for its stability and its market share of big-ticket engagements. The team has a fine record with public and private sector bodies and is gaining a presence in Africa-wide projects. Patrick Hirsch is also gaining further market recognition.

Practice head(s):

Daryn Webb; Anton Barnes-Webb; Shamilah Grimwood-Norley


Sharp analysis, expert industry knowledge, very responsive to requests, and considerate of project resource constraints.

Very good communication, timely and friendly.’

Key clients

FirstRand Bank

The Development Bank of South


Old Mutual Life Assurance Company South Africa

African Rainbow Energy

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Manannan Hydro

Shipping and transport Tier 1

Bowmans is a traditional leader that has successfully diversified its practice to include burgeoning areas such as port and terminal infrastructure work. It is especially well regarded for representing P&I clubs, banks and large chartering operations. It continues to represent key parties in many of the headline ship casualty cases and expanded its offering with the hire of aviation disputes specialist Heather Manson from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa IncCraig Cunningham leads the team with Andrew Pike noted for ports and terminals work. Jeremy Prain and Mark van Velden complete the senior group.

Practice head(s):

Craig Cunningham


They are very quick in responding and deliver high quality work.’

Mark van Velden is reachable 24/7. He is the lawyer with the quickest response time and delivers high quality work. He is simply brilliant.

Key clients

Credit Europe Bank

North of England P&I Club

UK P&I Club


MUR Shipping

The Charterers P&I Club

Banking and finance Tier 2

Bowmans' stable team has experienced further success in restructurings, including pre-emptive restructurings. It maintains a solid market share of preference share fundings, property finance in South Africa and East Africa, and additional trade and commodity finance in East Africa. Ulrike Naumann is a top practitioner, along with preference share expert Jan Kruger and Jason Wilkinson, who is rated for restructurings. Shamilah Grimwood-Norley is noted for project and energy finance.

Practice head(s):

Shamilah Grimwood-Norley; Ulrike Naumann; David Geral; Daryn Webb; Craig Schafer


A top notch banking and finance team. It is very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Imperial Logistics

Rand Merchant Bank

Investec Asset Management

ARM Capital


The Standard Bank of South Africa

Nedbank Limited

African Rainbow Minerals

Capitec Bank


Dispute resolution Tier 2

Bowmans has an established dispute resolution team that has achieved further growth in corruption and corporate governance-related cases. Its caseload includes a significant proportion of cross-border disputes and class action litigation. Employment leader Chris Todd leads the team, which also includes Tim Gordon-GrantAdam Anderson and James McKinnell in Cape Town.

Practice head(s):

Chris Todd

Key clients

AB InBev

African Oxygen

Medical Protection Society

Old Mutual

RTT Group

Investment funds Tier 2

Bowmans is a strong player in private equity, operating across the fund formation and M&A space. The core group is supported by a number of tax experts, including Wally Horak in Cape Town, that focus on the private equity segment, along with executive compensation specialists. Moreover, the firm has a new Mauritius office that has leading funds expertise. John Bellew is a major name in private equity. Cape Town-based Joshua Janks is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Bellew


The team has a depth of experience in fund formation, spanning decades.’

Pragmatic to get fund terms on market and drive to closure.

John Bellew has been in the fund formation business for a long time and understands the nuances of fund legals. He is well informed of developments in the market to keep terms up to date. He is a good negotiator.

Key clients

African Development Bank


Ascension Capital Partners

T. Rowe Price Group

Southeastern Asset Management

Tax Tier 2

Bowmans' tax team includes both lawyers and accountants. It has gained further recognition for its expertise in private equity and M&A-related tax, along with international tax, debt restructuring and significant tax disputes. Alan KeepWally Horak and Barry Garven comprise an impressive senior team, while Patricia Williams is noted for tax disputes. Kelly Wright is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Barry Garven; Alan Keep; Wally Horak


The team that we work with is the market leader in dispute resolution. The firm is willing to invest in clients and presented at our tax technical sessions.

Key clients

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Ethos Private Equity

Goldman Sachs

Sanlam Emerging Markets

Construction Tier 3

Bowmans is best known for front-end work with the team frequently working alongside the firm's leading projects practice. This includes domestic engagements and a growing number of projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Andrew van Niekerk is a leader in front-end construction developments, while Spencer Naicker and contentious specialist Tumisang Mongae are also rated. Lloyd Chater joined Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Andrew van Niekerk


The team goes above and beyond, no matter how tight a deadline or short notice they are given for urgent matters.

The team demonstrates excellent knowledge and sources information when requests are outside their field of practice.

The team goes an extra mile to give the best advise.

Dedicated, engaged people, with clear leading-edge knowledge in construction contracts, but an ability to understand the client’s business needs and translate the legal issues into practical language.

Key clients

Tenova Mining & Minerals


PIC Group

ELB Engineering Services


Manannan Hydro


Mining Tier 3

Bowmans is primarily recognised for mining M&A, regulatory and environmental matters. The firm advises on big-ticket M&A and asset disposal transactions. Charles Young is highly reputed for mining M&A transactions, Claire Tucker for environmental issues and Jason Wilkinson for mining sector finance. Wandisile Mandlana is developing a strong reputation for environmental and mining law.

Practice head(s):

Charles Young

Key clients

African Rainbow Minerals

Anglo American

AngloGold Ashanti

Barrick Gold


Harmony Gold


Northam Platinum

Real estate Tier 3

Bowmans is rated for acquisitions and disposals, developments and redevelopments. It has a strong commercial property practice, alongside finance, projects, private equity and M&A linked to real estate assets. Craig Schafer and Samantha Saffy are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Craig Schafer


The team is well-versed with the property industry and prevailing legal practices.

Craig Schafer is knowledgeable, helpful and a great asset to Bowmans.’

Samantha Saffy is efficient , knowledgeable and a great resource to utilise.

Key clients


Delta Property Fund

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Absa Bank

RPP Property Developments

Crowie Property Group

Bowmans is the brand identity of an African legal practice comprising AF Mpanga Advocates in Uganda, B & M Legal Practitioners in Zambia, Bowman Gilfillan Inc. in South Africa, Bowmans Mauritius Ltd in Mauritius, Bowmans Tanzania Ltd in Tanzania, Coulson Harney LLP in Kenya and PFI Partnerships in Malawi.

Its South African Practice is widely regarded as one of the leading corporate law firms in the country, with more than 300 specialist lawyers and a total staff complement of over 550.

The firm’s track record of providing legal services in the fields of corporate law, banking and finance law and dispute resolution, spans over a century. With over 400 lawyers, Bowmans draws on its unique knowledge of the business and socio-political environment in Africa to deliver integrated legal services to clients throughout the continent.

Everywhere it operates, Bowmans offers its clients a service that uniquely blends expertise in the law, knowledge of the local market and an understanding of their businesses. The firm’s aim is to assist its clients to achieve their objectives as smoothly and efficiently as possible while minimising the legal and regulatory risks.

Bowmans works closely with its alliance firm, Aman Assefa & Associates Law Office, in Ethiopia, its best friends in Nigeria and Mozambique (Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie and Taciana Peão Lopes & Advogados Associados, respectively) and has strong relationships with other leading law firms across the rest of Africa. It is also a representative of Lex Mundi, a global association of more than 160 independent law firms in all the major centres 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 received awards in three out of four categories at the Dealmakers East Africa Awards for 2019: top legal adviser in the M&A Category for both deal flow and deal value and advised on the Deal of the Year. In the Dealmakers South Africa Awards for 2019, Bowmans was placed third for deal value in the M&A Category and advised on both the Deal of the Year and the BEE Deal of the Year.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner, Group Alan Keep +27 11 669 9000
Key Contact, Durban Andrew Pike +27 31 265 0651
Key Contact, Cape Town Deon de Klerk +27 21 480 7800
Total staff : 800+
Lawyers : 400+
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