This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2013
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FIRM OF THE YEAR - SOUTH AFRICA
Emerging as the most highly-regarded South African law firm for the third consecutive year, Webber Wentzel has expanded its presence in our research considerably over the past year, earning a total of 41 listings across 18 practice including entirely new appearances for the firm in out capital markets, commercial litigation and corporate tax sections. On 1 February 2013 Webber Wentzel entered into a collaborative agreement with magic circle firm and fellow Who’s Who Legal 100 nominee Linklaters . Billed as “a vote of confidence in South Africa and Africa” by the larger firm, as well as “a strong endorsement for Webber Wentzel”, the alliance seeks to offer international clients better access to African markets and to open up a global network of legal support to African entities looking to conduct business overseas.
|TOTAL LISTINGS IN WHO’S WHO LEGAL: 41|
|Practice Area Breakdown|
|Aviation||3||Internet & e-Commerce||3|
|Banking||2||Labour & Employment||2|
|Capital Markets||1||M & A||2|
|Competition||4||Oil & Gas||2|
|Corporate Tax||2||Private Funds||1|
|Insurance & Reinsurance||4||Regulatory Communications||2|
The latest edition of Global Competition Review’s “GCR 100” survey names Webber Wentzel as one of three “elite” competition law firms in South Africa, and this practice area proves to be one of the firm’s strongest suits in our research overall. Among the four lawyers listed in this section, Desmond Rudman and Robert Wilson both advised Walmart in its controversial $2.4 billion acquisition of Massmart.
The firm performs equally well in the insurance and reinsurance chapter. Daniël Le Roux is the head of the firm’s insurance and legal liability group and has earned a “world-class” reputation for his work in matters related to the financial markets, directors’ and officers’ insurance, medical malpractice and product liability, and particularly aviation: he receives a further listing as one of three Webber Wentzel lawyers in the latter practice area section. Johann Scholtz heads the firm’s financial regulatory practice and adds a listing in the environment section – where his climate change and sustainable energy work is praised as “top tier” – to his appearance in the insurance chapter.
Head of the project development and finance practice Bridget Baillie has recently advised Standard Chartered and Absa Bank in the financing of major coal projects, as well as acting for the South African government in its procurement of renewable energy feed-in tariff IPPs, and she gives the firm a prominent listing in the project finance section. Also recognised for her “exceptional” financial services and governmental work, Baillie earns further listings in the banking chapter, alongside Johan de Lange, and the public procurement section, with Glenn Penfold and Jason van der Poel.
Webber Wentzel’s mining practice is the national leader according to our research, with four lawyers earning listings, despite a disastrous year for the sector in South Africa over the course of 2012. Co-head of the firm’s mining, energy and natural resources practice, Manus Booysen is a former in-house legal adviser to the Rand Mines Group, and a “first-rate” lawyer according to peers. Counting Royal Bank of Canada, Eskom, Uranium One and Ferro Metals among his recent clients, he also features in the oil and gas section alongside francophone practice group leader Steven De Backer.
Peter Grealy is the head of the firm’s media and technology practice whose recent engagements include acting for Vox Telecom in its 500 million rand buyout and delisting by a consortium comprising the Lereko Metier Capital Growth Fund and Investec Bank, and advising Anglo American, De Beers Group and the MTN Group on outsourcing of data processing and information technology services and infrastructure. One of three Webber Wentzel lawyers to rank highly in our internet, e-commerce and data protection research, Grealy also appears, alongside disputes specialist Dario Milo, in the regulatory communications section.
Further recognition in the franchise, M&A and private funds sections highlights the range of internationally respected services the firm has to offer.
Webber Wentzel is a leading law firm in Africa, being consistently ranked at the top by a diversity of international ratings agencies in 2012.
With a staff complement of approximately 800 people (including over 150 partners and more than 450 professionals in a variety of legal disciplines), the firm serves a blue-chip client base from offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Webber Wentzel’s strategy is to help its clients wherever they do business. Work on the African continent represents a growing area of practice and, together with a network of best-friend law firms, the firm has assisted clients in cross-border deals in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Webber Wentzel has entered into a collaborative alliance with global law firm, Linklaters, which is recognised for its leading African practice – having worked on numerous landmark transactions in almost every country on the continent over the past 30 years. The alliance will see the two firms working closely together for the benefit of clients in Africa.
Webber Wentzel is also associated with ALN, a group of leading law firms in Africa.
Specialist areas of practice
Banking & Finance: advises most of the major South African banks and several of the local institutions who participate in senior and mezzanine financings.
Competition: provides world-class legal services across the full spectrum of competition law, including merger notifications, cartel investigations, competition litigation, exemptions and compliance, and regulatory advice.
Dispute Resolution: specialises in complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes covering commercial, regulatory and constitutional issues. Clients include national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and government entities.
Employment & Employee Benefits: offers advice on all aspects of employment law including discrimination in the workplace, corporate governance, black economic empowerment and employee benefits such as pension and provident funds and medical schemes.
Financial Regulatory & Carbon Trading: specialises in financial services law and regulation and has advised a number of local and foreign institutions on the financial regulatory implications of carbon trading.
Insurance, Shipping & Transport: acts for national and international insurance companies, underwriters, underwriting managers, brokers and insureds in a range of complex commercial insurance matters; some of the most experienced and respected maritime practitioners in South Africa who advise on all areas of admiralty jurisdiction and practice.
Mergers & Acquisitions: advises both local and international corporate clients on structuring, negotiating and documenting complex and innovative cross-border transactions.
Mining, Energy & Natural Resources: has the largest dedicated mining practice on the African continent and is uniquely positioned to provide mining clients with comprehensive legal services covering all aspects of mining and resources law.
Private Equity: has more than 20 years’ private equity advisory experience in the South African and wider African markets and is widely regarded as a market leader in fund formation and transactional work, locally and throughout the rest of Africa.
Projects – Finance, Environment & Development: is, and has been, involved in a number of high-profile project finance transactions, many of which are the first of their kind on the African continent.
Public Law: known for providing excellent service and comprehensive, in-depth legal advice to both the public and the private sector.
Real Estate: includes property lawyers, notaries and conveyancers equipped to deal with any property-related transaction on behalf of a national and international client base, ranging from individuals to developers to multinational corporates.
Tax: includes highly qualified tax specialists with extensive experience in developing bespoke solutions to the various tax issues encountered by clients.
Technology, Media, Telecommunications & Intellectual Property: at the forefront of the multimedia industry and the increasing convergence of media and communication technologies. Intellectual property experts deal with all aspects of this specialist area of law.
These practices work together to harness the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to assist with the legal challenges facing individual clients.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.