21 Jul 2020

Former Nedbank chief legal counsel launches South African law firm Maphosa Attorneys

Founder Jonathan Maphosa was also previously deputy GC at South Africa's central bank

Jonathan Maphosa

Jonathan Maphosa, founder and managing partner of Maphosa Attorneys

The former chief legal counsel for South African financial services group Nedbank has launched Maphosa Attorneys, a fully black-owned commercial and corporate law firm based in Johannesburg.

Founder and managing partner Jonathan Maphosa launched the firm in March and already boasts an impressive roster of clients including Bushveld Minerals, Manngwe Mining, Airports Company of South Africa, South Africa’s National Lotteries Commission and the South African Insurance Association, among several others. 

In addition to commercial and corporate law, the firm offers services related to banking and finance, M&A, employment law, mining and environmental law, litigation, and tax. Maphosa says his 12-strong team regard themselves as deal architects, specialising in bespoke legal solutions to complex commercial transactions. 

Maphosa said: “My experience as general counsel in large organisations, primarily in the banking and financial services domain, is helpful because I have first-hand insight into the expectations of in-house counsel. Corporate counsel want efficient, pragmatic legal services, with a commercial overlay from a law firm that prioritises their instructions irrespective of size or turnover.”

He added: “We are excited at the opportunity to challenge the domestic and Pan-African legal services market, at a fraction of the fees large firms with much larger overheads would charge—but without compromising on quality and efficiency of delivery.”

Recent transactions Maphosa has worked on include advising a client on the acquisition of one of the world’s largest mine explosive testing facilities.

Maphosa founded his practice after a year as group chief legal counsel at Nedbank. Prior to that he spent two years as GC at BankservAfrica, the largest automated clearing house and payments system operator in Africa, and four years as deputy GC at the South African Reserve Bank—the country’s central bank—where he was also head of the monetary and financial law division. 

He stood down as a board member of the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa in March, having served for more than eight years, including as president and board chairman between 2014 and 2016.

He was named Legal Counsel of the Year at Legal Week’s 2015 Africa Legal Awards.