Pinsent Masons secures corporate investigations specialist from ENSafrica in Johannesburg
Hire follows loss of South Africa transactional practice head to Hogan Lovells in November
UK top 20 firm Pinsent Masons has boosted its South Africa presence with the arrival of corporate crime and forensic investigation partner Edward James in Johannesburg.
James joins Pinsent Masons after a five-year stint at South African-headquartered firm ENSafrica, where he most recently served as a director in the firm’s forensics department.
An investigations lawyer by trade, James specialises in handling corporate investigations and compliance as well as fraud, bribery and corruption, corporate espionage, anti-money laundering, cyber breaches and economic sanctions. The firm said James is set to work primarily with its global energy and infrastructure sectors and will 'enhance' the firm’s forensics, criminal investigations and compliance capabilities in Africa.
His experience covers multiple jurisdictions across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Angola, among others.
Laura Cameron, global head of risk advisory services at Pinsent Masons, said: “Africa is becoming an extremely attractive market for investors, particularly those looking to fund low-carbon energy and infrastructure projects. However, there continues to be complex risks associated with the region which need to be effectively managed.”
Cameron said James possessed “the right skill-set” to assist clients in managing risk in compliance and forensic investigations both on the ground in South Africa and across the continent.
Pinsent Masons originally planted its flag in South Africa with a construction and infrastructure-focused team in 2017 and has since grown its Johannesburg base to include six senior associates and 10 partners, according to the firm’s website. The firm’s wider Africa practice consists of 50 partners and more than 150 lawyers working across South Africa, the UK, France, the Middle East and China.
James’ hire comes a couple months after the firm lost its South Africa transactional practice head Chris Green to Hogan Lovells, a move that marked the latter firm’s first partner-level lateral hire since its high-profile split with local ally Routledge Modise and subsequent office relaunch in 2019. Hogan Lovells also signalled its commitment to the region when it appointed partners Olivier Fille-Lambie and Arun Velusami as co-leaders of its global Africa practice in December. The duo are set to take over from incumbent leader Andrew Skipper this month as Skipper steps into the role of practice chair.
White & Case and Allen & Overy also bolstered their platforms in Africa in order to tap into opportunities for legal work in the key areas of infrastructure and energy and natural resources.
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