White & Case hires Allen & Overy's Johannesburg head to boost debt financing coverage

Banking and finance partner Lionel Shawe will provide both domestic and cross-border expertise
Johannesburg cityscape (west part) seen from the Carlton Center viewing deck

Johannesburg Shutterstock; WitR

White & Case has hired Allen & Overy’s (A&O’s) Johannesburg managing partner, Lionel Shawe, to bolster its global debt finance and Africa practices.

Banking and finance lawyer Shawe joins as a partner in the firm’s Johannesburg office, bringing with him extensive experience advising on both domestic and cross-border transactions. He specialises in mining and aircraft finance, acquisition and fund financing and a variety of other types of debt and equity-related transactions.

Gareth Hodder, executive partner for White & Case in Johannesburg, said: “Africa’s continuing development provides significant investment opportunities, particularly in telecoms, banking, power and transport, and South Africa is an established hub and gateway for the continent.”

He added: “Lionel’s addition in Johannesburg will complement our M&A and corporate practice… and help meet the growing demand from our clients here for advice on complex international transactions.”

Shawe joined A&O to spearhead the opening of its Johannesburg office in 2014 from Bowmans, where he was head of banking and finance for almost five years. Prior to that he was head of banking and finance at Deneys Reitz, where he spent 14 years.

Colin Harley, regional section head for EMEA banking at White & Case, said: “Lionel is a top-ranked banking lawyer who will provide further strength, depth and credibility to our debt finance practice in Johannesburg and globally. Offering broader debt finance capabilities in Johannesburg through the addition of Lionel will enable us to provide even greater support to global clients on in-bound investment in South Africa and the sub-Saharan region and South African clients as they look to invest outside the country.”

Shawe is the third high-profile addition to its South African business over the past three years. Gary Felthun joined from ENSafrica in 2018 to lead the firm’s M&A and corporate practice in Johannesburg, with Hodder also relocating to Johannesburg during that time.

Oliver Brettle, a member of White & Case’s global executive committee, said: “Africa is a strategically important market for the firm, we have been advising clients across the continent for more than 40 years, and our Johannesburg office is key to that. The addition of Lionel demonstrates our continued commitment to the office and the region.”

White & Case was the first International law firm to open in South Africa, back in 1995, and currently lists five partners as being based there. 

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