Four-partner Baker McKenzie team follows former Johannesburg co-head to A&O

Allen & Overy (A&O) has taken an 11-lawyer team, including four partners, from Baker McKenzie’s Johannesburg office, after recruiting the firm’s office co-head last year.

Bakers litigation quartet Kate Daniels, Michelle Porter-Wright, Widaad Ebrahim and Callum O’Connor are following former colleague Gerhard Rudolph to the magic circle firm, along with a team of seven other lawyers. The four former Bakers partners are joining A&O as consultants.

A&O hired Rudolph – who was Bakers’ local litigation head – in November last year, a move that added a disputes element to its previously finance-focused Johannesburg base.

The move marks A&O’s first foray into disputes work in South Africa, following its launch in 2014, when it took a four-partner finance team from South African firm Bowmans. The team was bolstered by former finance head Michael Duncan and finance partner Kathleen Wong, both of who relocated from London.

A&O global litigation head Tim House said: “These appointments increase our capacity to provide globally-integrated litigation, international arbitration and contentious regulatory support to our clients. This demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our already leading Africa practice and our view that Africa is a key growth area for our clients and our firm.”

Last year, the firm also enhanced its Lusophone Africa capabilities with the posting of two Portuguese-speaking associates to its Johannesburg office. Projects senior associates Filipa Serra and Goncalo Noronha Andrade moved to Johannesburg from A&O’s Dubai base.