Baker & McKenzie has launched in South Africa with the hire of Dewey & LeBoeuf's 31-strong Johannesburg office, one of the disintegrating firm's last remaining international bases.
The move, which comes as Dewey filed for bankruptcy Monday night, will gift Bakers a fully operational South Africa presence.
The eight-partner Johannesburg team, which joined Dewey earlier this year from local firm Werksmans, includes co-managing partners Morne van der Merwe and Wildu du Plessis, projects partner Scott Brodsky and banking partner Chris Moraitis.
The rest of the team includes partners Astrid Berman, Esme Ferreira, Amelia Heeger, Rajen Ranchhoojee, Muhammad Sader and Mike van Rensburg. It is currently being decided who will join Bakers as salaried and equity partners. In total, the office comprises 16 lawyers and 15 professional staff.
The team has a particular focus on energy, mining and infrastructure, project finance, banking and capital markets, securitization, M&A and private equity work.
The new office for Bakers marks the second Africa base for the firm, which launched in Cairo in 1985. Bakers also operates Africa desks from financial centers including Paris, London, New York and Chicago.
Bakers Chairman Eduardo Leite commented: "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."
The news comes after Dewey's Moscow, Almaty and part of its London office confirmed a move to Morgan Lewis & Bockius at the start of this month, while the majority of the U.S. firm's Dubai base opted to join Dechert. Dewey's Hong Kong operation, which comprised three partners, recently joined DLA Piper.
Greenberg Traurig has taken on Dewey's highly touted Warsaw office, while the firm's Italian arm has spun off to rebrand under the name of corporate heavyweight Vittorio Grimaldi, who joined earlier this month.
Other beneficiaries of the fallout from Dewey's collapse have included Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, McDermott Will & Emery, Simmons & Simmons and Holman Fenwick Willan, all of which have taken on partners from the firm's international network. Dewey's remaining Middle East lawyers in Riyadh are currently in talks to join SNR Denton.
The news comes after Dewey's demise was confirmed Monday night via a Chapter 11 filing submitted in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. The firm's London and Paris offices, which are operated through a separately incorporated U.K. entity, were Monday officially placed into administration, with BDO business restructuring partners Mark Shaw and Shay Bannon appointed joint administrators.