Baker & McKenzie has opened a new office in Johannesburg with immediate effect with partners, lawyers and staff from Dewey & LeBoeuf South Africa.
The firm now has 70 offices in 43 countries.
It is Baker & McKenzie's third office opening in the past 12 months, following the launch of offices in Istanbul, Turkey, and Doha, Qatar.
The team in South Africa includes partners Wildu du Plessis, Scott Brodsky, Chris Moraitis and Morné van der Merwe, and a team of senior lawyers including: Astrid Berman, Esme Ferreira, Amelia Heeger, Rajen Ranchhoojee, Muhammad Sader and Mike van Rensburg. In total, the office comprises 16 lawyers and 15 professional staff.
The office has a focus on energy, mining and infrastructure, project finance, banking and capital markets, securitization, mergers & acquisitions and private equity.
The office is Baker & McKenzie's second in Africa after Cairo. But the firm said its lawyers from Paris, London, New York, Chicago and other European, Asia Pacific and Latin American offices have long advised clients on transactions in Africa. According to mergermarket, the firm has advised on more cross-border transactions in Africa over the past four years than any other leading M&A firm.
"As the continent's largest economy and biggest recipient of foreign direct investment, South Africa is the linchpin for our expansion plans for the continent. We are pleased to add such a strong team to better serve clients' growing interest in this fast-growing region,” said Eduardo Leite, chairman of Baker & McKenzie's executive committee.
The team joining Baker & McKenzie is led by a team including Wildu du Plessis, a South African banking and finance lawyer.
He said he and the other Dewey & LeBoeuf lawyers joining the firm had been approached by some leading firms. "Baker & McKenzie stood out with its unmatched global platform, leading law firm brand, and its highly collaborative, professional approach and team."