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]

Name Founded No. of offices No. of attorneys
Bowmans 1885 7 (January 2017)[3] 400+ (January 2017) [4]
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr1 1853[5] 2 (January 2017)[6] 219 (January 2017) [7]
Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, trading as ENSafrica 1905[8] 14 (including two pro bono offices) (January 2017)[9] 600+ (January 2017)[10]
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa2 1922[11] 3 (January 2017)[12] 200+ (January 2017)[13]
Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters3 1868 [14] 2 (January 2017)[15] 450+ (January 2017)[16]

Note1: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr was formerly allied with DLA Piper. Its affiliation with DLA Piper ended at the end of August 2015.[17]

Note2: On 1 June 2011, Deneys Reitz Inc joined UK based firm Norton Rose.[18]

Note3: Webber Wentzel is an associate of ALN.[19] On 1 February 2013, the firm entered into a collaborative alliance with global law firm Linklaters.[20]

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[21] 40[22] 46[23]
2 ENSafrica 25 37[24] 45[25]
3 Bowmans 26 27[26] 31[27]
4 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr 21 23[28] 25[29]
5 Werksmans 16 16[30] 17[31]
Norton Rose South Africa 16 212 262[32]

Note2: 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 No. of offices No. of attorneys
Adams & Adams 1908[51] 4 (14 associated offices) (January 2017)[52] 200+ (January 2017)[53]
Fasken Martineau South Africa (formerly Bell Dewar) 1901 [54] 1 (January 2017)[55] 60+ (January 2017)[56]
Hogan Lovells South Africa (formerly Routledge Modise) 1892[57] 1 (January 2017)[58] 98+ (January 2017)[59]
Shepstone & Wylie 1872[60] 6 (January 2017)[61] 79 (January 2017)[62]
Spoor & Fisher 1920[63] 4 (January 2017)[64] 53 (January 2017)[65]
STBB - Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes 1900[66] 11 (January 2017)[67] 66 (January 2017)[68]
Werksmans 1917[69] 4 (January 2017)[70] 180+ (January 2017)[71]

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.bowmanslaw.com/contact-us/ Contact Us Updated 6 January 2017
  4. ^ http://www.bowmanslaw.com/our-firm/company-profile/ Who are we
  5. ^ http://www.martindale.com/Cliffe-Dekker-Inc/1266536-law-firm-office.htm CDH Retrieved 6 March 2011
  6. ^ "Contact us - Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr". www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  7. ^ https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/en/people/index.html DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Updated 6 January 2017
  8. ^ http://www.hrfuture.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2605&return=L2luZGV4LnBocD9vcHRpb249Y29tX2NvbnRlbnQmdmlldz1jYXRlZ29yeSZsYXlvdXQ9YmxvZyZpZD0xMTQmSXRlbWlkPTY5Mw== ENS Retrieved 6 March 2011
  9. ^ http://www.ensafrica.com/contact Contact Us Updated 6 January 2017
  10. ^ http://www.ensafrica.com/about-us Retrieved Updated 6 January 2017
  11. ^ http://www.deneysreitz.co.za/index.php/index/content/profile Profile Retrieved 6 March 2011
  12. ^ http://www.nortonrose.com/za/about-us/about-norton-rose-south-africa/ Norton Rose South Africa Retrieved 24 June 2011
  13. ^ http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/za/ Norton Rose South Africa Updated 6 January 2017
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2010.  Webber Wentzel Retrieved 31 December 2010
  16. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/ww/ww-who-we-are Webber Wentzel Updated 6 January 2017
  17. ^ http://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/index.php/lb-blog-view/4525-dla-piper-ends-south-african-alliance-as-it-eyes-launch-in-jo-burg
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ http://www.webberwentzel.com/wwb/content/en/ww/ww-africa-overview Africa Overview Retrieved 6 May 2012
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-40029 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 21 March 2012
  22. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-73632 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 27 May 2013
  23. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/UK/Firms/3753-73632 Webber Wentzel Retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  24. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/132639-73565 Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Retrieved 23 May 2013
  25. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/132639-73565 Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  26. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/2677-73565 Bowman Gilfillan retrieved 4 June 2013
  27. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/2677-73565 Bowman Gilfillan retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  28. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3733-73565 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr retrieved 4 June 2013
  29. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3733-73565 Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  30. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Werksmans retrieved 4 June 2013
  31. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3754-73565 Werksmans retrieved 26 March 2014 - updated 5 November 2014
  32. ^ http://www.chambersandpartners.com/firm/309/2 Norton Rose Fulbright 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/
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  42. ^ http://www.legal500.com/c/south-africa/developments/15772 Accolades Retrieved 6 May 2012
  43. ^ http://www.hg.org/attorney/Bowman-Gilfillan/56503 Accolades Retrieved 6 May 2012
  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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  57. ^ http://www.martindale.com/Routledge-Modise-Attorneys/law-firm-987929.htm Routledge Modise Retrieved 6 March 2011
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  69. ^ http://www.werksmans.co.za/43/about-us/ About Us Retrieved 6 March 2011
  70. ^ http://www.werksmans.com/contact-us/general-enquiries/ General Enquiries Updated 6 January 2017
  71. ^ http://www.legal500.com/firms/11982-werksmans-attorneys/13253-johannesburg Werksmans Updated 6 January 2017