Fiona Leppan
Office:
1 Protea Place
Cnr of Fredman Drive and Protea Place
Sandton
2196
City:
Johannesburg
Country:
South Africa
Tel:
+27 11 562 1152
Fax:
+27 11 562 1652

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

Fiona Leppan is a director of the employment practice. She has extensive experience in the field of employee relations, both from a litigation perspective and in terms of strategic planning. Training and development in this field has been a focal point. She has actively trained clients on how to deal with internal disputes and to conduct inquiries and arbitrations. She has also established entire dispute resolution processes for a number of mining houses where disputes were dealt with by way of private conciliation and arbitration. Fiona works in various industries including mining, metals, engineering, retail, broadcasting, financial services and the commercial distributive trade.

Describe your career to date.

It has been a particularly rewarding one. I continue to increase my knowledge base and my career has encouraged me to constantly remain on that growth path. My LLM degree, obtained with distinction, is an example of that commitment that my career has promoted. I have met some truly outstanding business people, trade unionists and other stakeholders and always promoting the resolution of some really difficult issues.

What do you enjoy most about working in the field of employment law?

Employment law impinges upon many other fields of law. This promotes challenges and a deep understanding of legal principles beyond the basics of this field. Human capital is a key asset in any business and hence the pre-eminence of this field of law.

On what types of matters are clients most frequently coming to you at present?

Sexual/racial harassment; transformation; employment equity compliance; organisational rights disputes; complicated collective bargaining disputes; and occupational health and safety advice.

You work on both the contentious and advisory sides of employment law. How do these two parts of your practice complement one another?

In difficult disputes that are often contentious, the challenge is how to bring parties closer together to resolve matters. Even the most intractable positions can result in a resolution. The key is to find that middle ground.

How has employment law changed since you started practising?

In the 70s and 80s, employment law was merely governed by the 1956 Labour Relations Act, whereas now there is a raft of legislation – and, indeed, our Constitution – that impacts this area, making it a mature and comprehensive body of law that is fully abreast of international developments. In line with this, we have dedicated courts staffed by judges of the highest standard with a concomitant body of case law.

What do clients look for in an effective employment lawyer?

Efficiency; speed; effective advice, especially advice that can resolve matters at the earliest point in time to avoid unnecessary litigation.

What is your proudest achievement to date?

Representing and participating in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry for a major client. In as much as that remains a scar on South Africa’s constitutional democracy, it was a humbling experience and the opportunity to work with some outstanding jurists.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in the field?

You must be committed to the fundamentals of employment law. You must be prepared to work very hard and often your time is not your own. It is a rewarding career if you are prepared to constantly seek creative new ways to deal with workplace issues.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Labour, Employment & Benefits

Fiona Leppan is a director in the firm’s employment practice. She has extensive experience in the field of employee relations, both from a litigation perspective and in terms of strategic planning. Training and development in this field has been a focal point. Fiona has actively trained clients on how to deal with internal disputes and to conduct inquiries and arbitrations. She has also established entire dispute resolution processes for a number of mining houses where disputes were dealt with by way of private conciliation and arbitration. Fiona works in various industries, including mining, metals, engineering, retail, broadcasting, financial services and the commercial distributive trade. She has also been involved in occupational health and safety work.

Fiona's experience includes employee benefits, health and safety, and mining and minerals.

Fiona began her career as registrar to Mr Justice Margo in the then Supreme Court. In 1983 Fiona joined Webber Wentzel Bowens as a candidate attorney where she was later promoted to partner. She subsequently joined Deneys Reitz as a partner. In 1998, she left Deneys Reitz to establish the law firm Leppan Beech. In 2007 Fiona joined Cliffe Dekker (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) as a director.

Fiona is recommended in the labour and employment sections of Chambers Global (2018, band 2; 2016–2017, band 3); The Legal 500 EMEA (2012–2017); IFLR1000 (2012); WWL (2011–2018); and Best Lawyers International (2018).

Fiona was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (BA LLB HDip, advanced company law; LLM, with distinction) and the Mandela School of Law (certificate in mining and prospecting law, with distinction).

WWL says: Fiona Leppan is an expert on employment disputes, including arbitrations. She is active in mining, engineering and financial services where she is “probably one of the best and most recognised names in labour law”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Labour, Employment & Benefits which can be purchased from our Shop.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Firms

Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100

Awards

News & Features

Special Reports

Events

Shop

About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

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.

Copyright © 2018 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. | http://www.lbresearch.com

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910

http://www.whoswholegal.com | editorial@whoswholegal.com

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK