Pinsent Masons bolsters South Africa bench with local boutique team

Team brings experience in areas including employment, commercial and regulatory as firm builds full service offering across Africa

David Woodhouse (l) and Anthony Crane Images courtesy of Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons has bolstered its bench in South Africa with the hire of a team from local boutique Tabacks. 

The team includes partners David Woodhouse – who was previously chairman of Tabacks – and Anthony Crane, alongside legal director Mark Thomas and senior associates Nanri Labuschagne and Annelle Kamper.

They join alongside other associates from their teams to help expand Pinsents’ client service offering in Africa and bring experience across practice areas including commercial and M&A, employment, competition and commercial dispute resolution.

Junaid Banoobhai, head of Pinsents’ Johannesburg office, said: “Our goal as a business has always been to build on our core strengths and expertise in the region so that we provide a full service offering to our clients throughout Africa. 

“Welcoming these lawyers from Tabacks not only demonstrates our commitment to our clients, but builds on our foundation as we continue to grow our presence in South Africa and across the wider continent.”

Woodhouse is an employment law specialist and has been involved in collective union disputes, chairing disciplinary enquiries and arbitrations. He has litigated in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court and has also acted as a judge in the Labour Court.

Crane’s commercial and regulatory practice spans M&A, African competition law and renewable energy projects. He regularly advises on matters such as merger approvals across Africa, compliance and training programmes and anti-monopoly investigations. 

Meantime Thomas advises on commercial and regulatory disputes and has litigated in the South African Superior Courts and specialist tribunals in matters related to environmental, competition, insolvency, intellectual property and mining law. Labuschagne specialises in High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal litigation and arbitration proceedings, while Kamper’s practice focuses on employment law. 

Following the team’s arrival, Pinsents will have more than 20 partners and legal directors based in Johannesburg, the firm’s sole office in Africa. The office boasts a top notch team of construction specialists, including Banoobhai and partners Jason Smit, Deirdré Simaan and Jurg van Dyk. 

In February last year the firm also launched a real estate practice in Johannesburg through a tie-up with local boutique Gunn Attorneys. The move saw founder Adam Gunn join as a legal director alongside an associate and also strengthened Pinsents’ environmental, social and governance capabilities in South Africa. 

The month before Pinsents had bolstered its Johannesburg bench with the hire of corporate crime and forensic investigation partner Edward James from South African firm ENSafrica, which also lost corporate partner Lydia Shadrach-Razzino to Baker McKenzie earlier this year. At the same time Bakers hired Angela Simpson and Verushca Pillay from Webber Wentzel and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr respectively; all three are prominent M&A and private equity practitioners in South Africa. 

The Tabacks team will join Pinsent Masons from 1 December. Tabacks was approached for comment.

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