DLA Piper ally completes South Africa merger

The merger between DLA Piper ally Cliffe Dekker and Hofmeyr Herbstein & Gihwala has gone live today (1 September), following regulatory clearance by South African authorities.

The combined firm, which will practise as Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, has a total of 130 directors and 280 lawyers evenly spread between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The firm has also rebranded to incorporate the DLA Piper logo.

The merger has created one of the country’s largest firms and will compete against local leaders Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs and Webber Wentzel Mallinicks – also both combinations of recent mergers.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr will be led by CEO Chris Ewing of Cliffe Dekker and chairman Dines Gihwala, the former head of Hofmeyr.

The firm will have ten core practice groups: corporate and commercial; competition; dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration; employment; environmental; finance, projects and banking; real estate; tax; technology, media, telecoms and trusts and estates.

The merger was cleared in July and received unconditional approval by the South African competition commission.

Gihwala said: “I am excited about the future of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. This combination is the product of two firms of similar size with almost identical cultures, values and solid reputations.”

The referral relationship between DLA Piper and Cliffe Dekker was first established in 2005. Earlier this year City rival Eversheds sealed an alliance in South Africa, with 60-partner Routledge Modise joining the UK firm’s international network in April.

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