Big Five (law firms) in South Africa

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Location of South Africa

The Big Five law firms is a term informally used in South Africa to refer to those law firms which, collectively, are perceived to be the leading law firms based in South Africa.

The following firms are usually seen as comprising the "Big Five" (listed alphabetically):[discuss][1][2][3]

Name Founded (South Africa) No. of offices No. of attorneys (South Africa)
Bowmans 1885 7 (2017)[4] 262 (2017) [5]
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr1 1853[6] Cape Town and Johannesburg (2) (2017)[7] 224(2017) [8]
Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, trading as ENSafrica 1905[9] 14 (including two pro bono offices) (2017)[10] 400 (2017)[11]
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa2 1922 Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg (3) (2017) 188 (2017)[12]
Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters3 1868 [13] Cape Town and Johannesburg (2) (2017)[14] 393 (2017)[15]

Note1: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr was formerly allied with DLA Piper. Its affiliation with DLA Piper ended at the end of August 2015.[16]

Note2: On 1 June 2011, Deneys Reitz Inc joined UK based firm Norton Rose.[17]

Note3: Webber Wentzel is an associate of ALN.[18] On 1 February 2013, the firm entered into a collaborative alliance with global law firm Linklaters.[19]

Rankings[edit]

Chambers and Partners Global Rankings[edit]

Chambers and Partners Global Rankings of the number of lawyers recognised as leaders in their respective fields.

Rank Name 2012 2013 2014
1 Webber Wentzel 38[20] 40[21] 46[22]
2 ENSafrica 25 37[23] 45[24]
3 Bowmans 26 27[25] 31[26]
4 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr 21 23[27] 25[28]
5 Werksmans 16 16[29] 17[30]
5 Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa1 16 21[31] 26[32]

Note1: No individual ranking is available for Norton Rose South Africa. Thus, not all South African ranked attorneys may be part of Norton Rose South Africa, but are part of Norton Rose Global.

Who's Who Legal Global 100[edit]

Law firms included in the Global 100 aren't assigned a specific ranking.

Year Firm3
2013 ENSafrica[33]
2013, 2014[34] Webber Wentzel[35]

Note3: firms listed alphabetically

Who's Who Legal South African Law firm of the year[edit]

Year Firm
2016 Bowmans [36]
2015 Webber Wentzel[37] [38][39]
2013 Webber Wentzel
2012 Webber Wentzel[40]
2011 Webber Wentzel[41]
2010 Bowmans [42]
2009
2008 Bowmans[43]
2007 Webber Wentzel
2006 Webber Wentzel

Mergermarket M&A Awards: Legal Advisor of the Year - Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Year Firm
2013 Webber Wentzel[44]
2012 ENSafrica[45]
2011 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr[46]
2010 ENSafrica[47]

Other major law firms[edit]

Firms with more than 50 attorneys are generally viewed as midsize law firms.[48][49][50]

Name Founded (South Africa) No. of offices (South Africa) No. of attorneys (South Africa)
Adams & Adams 1908[51] 4 (14 associated offices in the rest of Africa) (January 2017)[52] 151 (2017)[53]
Baker McKenzie1 2012 [54] 1 (2017) 58 (2017)[55]
Fasken Martineau South Africa (formerly Bell Dewar) 1901 [56] 1 (2017)[57] 59 (2017)[58]
Hogan Lovells South Africa (formerly Routledge Modise)2 1892[59] 1 (2017)[60] 125 (2017)[61]
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa1 1922[62] 3 (January 2017)[63] 188 (2017)[64]
Shepstone & Wylie 1872[65] 6 (2017)[66] 70 (2017)[67]
Spoor & Fisher 1920[68] 4 (2017)[69] 59 (2017)[70]
STBB - Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes 1900[71] 11 (2017)[72] 66 (2017)[73]
Werksmans 1917[74] 4 (2017)[75] 201 (2017)[76]

Note1: Baker & McKenzie opened its office in South Africa with lawyers, staff and partners from Dewey & LeBoeuf’s defunct Johannesburg office following that firm's bankruptcy.[77]

Note2: Routledge Modise was formerly part of Eversheds from 2008 to 2012.[78]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Law-Firms-South-Africa-Sonnenbergs/dp/1157393721 Law Firms of South Africa: Webber Wentzel, Bowman Gilfillan, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENSafrica), Big Five Law Firms Retrieved 4 March 2011
  2. ^ http://www.africanbusinessreview.co.za/business-features/finance/africa%E2%80%99s-top-corporate-lawyers Africa’s top Corporate Lawyers Retrieved 4 March 2010
  3. ^ http://www.dnaeconomics.com/assets/Usegareth/SA_Professional_Services.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.bowmanslaw.com/contact-us/ Contact Us Updated 6 January 2017
  5. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  6. ^ http://www.martindale.com/Cliffe-Dekker-Inc/1266536-law-firm-office.htm CDH Retrieved 6 March 2011
  7. ^ "Contact us - Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr". www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  8. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  9. ^ http://www.hrfuture.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2605&return=L2luZGV4LnBocD9vcHRpb249Y29tX2NvbnRlbnQmdmlldz1jYXRlZ29yeSZsYXlvdXQ9YmxvZyZpZD0xMTQmSXRlbWlkPTY5Mw== ENS Retrieved 6 March 2011
  10. ^ http://www.ensafrica.com/contact Contact Us Updated 6 January 2017
  11. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  12. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/firm/309/2 Norton Rose Fulbright retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  13. ^ http://www.sabar.co.za/law-journals/2007/august/2007-august-vol020-no2-p46.pdf The Firm: a Biography of Webber Wentzel Bowens Retrieved 31 December 2010 2010
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2010.  Webber Wentzel Retrieved 31 December 2010
  15. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  16. ^ http://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/index.php/lb-blog-view/4525-dla-piper-ends-south-african-alliance-as-it-eyes-launch-in-jo-burg
  17. ^ http://www.nortonrose.com/aboutus/ogilvyrenaultanddeneysreitz/default31995.aspx?lang=en-gb Ogilvy Renault and Deneys Reitz to join Norton Rose Group Retrieved 31 December 2010
  18. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/ww/ww-africa-overview Africa Overview Retrieved 6 May 2012
  19. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/ww/ww-in-the-news?oid=38298&sn=Detail-2011&pid=32438 Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters Retrieved 25 December 2012
  20. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-40029 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 21 March 2012
  21. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-73632 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 27 May 2013
  22. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-73632 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  23. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/132639-73565 Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Retrieved 23 May 2013
  24. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/132639-73565 Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  25. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/2677-73565 Bowman Gilfillan retrieved 4 June 2013
  26. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/2677-73565 Bowman Gilfillan retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  27. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3733-73565 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr retrieved 4 June 2013
  28. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3733-73565 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  29. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Werksmans retrieved 4 June 2013
  30. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Werksmans retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  31. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Norton Rose South Africa retrieved 4 June 2013
  32. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Norton Rose South Africa retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
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  37. ^ http://whoswholegal.com/awards/countrystate/
  38. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/ww-who-we-are Who we are
  39. ^ http://whoswholegal.com/awards/countrystate/
  40. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/accolades Accolades Retrieved 6 May 2012
  41. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/accolades Accolades Retrieved 6 May 2012
  42. ^ http://www.legal500.com/c/south-africa/developments/15772 Accolades Retrieved 6 May 2012
  43. ^ "Bowman Gilfillan". GCRI. Law Business Research. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  44. ^ http://www.mergermarket.com/info/2013/12/12/winners-announced-for-the-financial-times-and-mergermarket-european-ma-awards-2013/ Retrieved 23 December 2013
  45. ^ http://mergermarketgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FT-mergermarket-Awards-Winners-Press-Release-Europe-2012.pdf Retrieved 13 June 2013
  46. ^ http://www.mergermarket.com/pdf/European-MA-Awards-winners-2011-press-release.pdf Retrieved 13 June 2013
  47. ^ http://www.mergermarket.com/pdf/European-MA-Awards-winners-2010-press-release-FINAL.pdf Retrieved 13 June 2013
  48. ^ Michael H. Trotter, Profit and the Practice of Law: What's Happened to the Legal Profession (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1997), 46.
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  51. ^ http://www.adamsadams.com/index.php/about/history/ History Retrieved 6 March 2011
  52. ^ http://www.adamsadams.com/index.php/contact/ Contact Retrieved 7 January 2017
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  54. ^ https://www.thelawyer.com/issues/online/baker-mckenzie-launches-johannesburg-base-with-dewey-team/
  55. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  56. ^ http://www.belldewar.co.za/our_history.html Our History Retrieved 6 March 2011
  57. ^ http://www.belldewar.co.za/contact.html Contact Retrieved 6 March 2011
  58. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  59. ^ http://www.martindale.com/Routledge-Modise-Attorneys/law-firm-987929.htm Routledge Modise Retrieved 6 March 2011
  60. ^ http://www.hoganlovells.com/johannesburg/ Johannesburg Retrieved 7 January 2017
  61. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  62. ^ http://www.deneysreitz.co.za/index.php/index/content/profile Profile Retrieved 6 March 2011
  63. ^ http://www.nortonrose.com/za/about-us/about-norton-rose-south-africa/ Norton Rose South Africa Retrieved 24 June 2011
  64. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  65. ^ http://www.expertguides.com/default.asp?page=2&egaBOBID=&CountryID=98&ExpertOfficeID=30500&GuideID=236&fcIndex=3583&fIndex=2543 Shepstone 4 Wylie Retrieved 6 March 2011
  66. ^ http://www.wylie.co.za/ContactUs.aspx Contact us Updated 7 January 2017
  67. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  68. ^ http://www.spoor.com/home/index.php?ipkContentID=128&ipkMenuID=118 History of Spoor & Fisher Retrieved 6 March 2011
  69. ^ http://www.spoor.com/home/index.php?ipkContentID=142&ipkMenuID=147 Our offices Updated 7 January 2017
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  71. ^ http://www.stbb.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/STBB-Firm-Profile.pdf Retrieved 28 September 2016
  72. ^ http://www.stbb.co.za/branch-details/ Updated 7 January 2017
  73. ^ http://www.stbb.co.za/attorneys/ Attorneys Updated 7 January 2017
  74. ^ http://www.werksmans.co.za/43/about-us/ About Us Retrieved 6 March 2011
  75. ^ http://www.werksmans.com/contact-us/general-enquiries/ General Enquiries Updated 6 January 2017
  76. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/global/2/192 South Africa Law Firm Comparison Table
  77. ^ https://www.thelawyer.com/issues/online/baker-mckenzie-launches-johannesburg-base-with-dewey-team/
  78. ^ https://www.thelawyer.com/issues/online-october-2012/eversheds-parts-company-with-south-african-ally-over-conflicts/