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Herbert Smith Freehills to quadruple South Africa presence by December

By Kathryn Higgins

18 February 2016 at 09:04 BST

The firm has announced that it will grow the number of lawyers it has on the ground in Johannesburg to 20 by the end of this year, pushing closer to 50 by the close of 2017.


The Anglo-Australian firm launched the office, its first on the African continent, in October last year with just four lawyers. Now, HSF African practice co-head Martin Kavanagh has confirmed that the Johannesburg office is on track to expand its team to around 20 partners by the end of this year. Mr Kavanagh also confirmed that a partner from another firm is scheduled to join HSF Johannesburg in July though he declined to name names, saying only that HSF is looking to add 'significant partner capabilities in its corporate and dispute practice.' The firm will shift to new premises in Rosebank to accommodate its burgeoning team.

Growing market demand

Mr Kavanagh said the firm has been 'pleasantly surprised' by the amount of interest it has received since opening in Johannesburg, catching the eye of clients in South Africa, across the African continent and beyond in China, Japan, South East Asia and Russia. The practice has focused on client projects in infrastructure, public-private partnerships, resources and regulatory work. The Johannesburg arm was launched last year after HSF shelved plans to launch an office in Guinea.

Sources: Legal Week; Legal Business  


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