South Africa has been hit by a flood of global law firms seeking lucrative new markets. In 2014 alone, Allen & Overy, Clyde & Co, and Dentons—firms that have a combined global revenue of $4.8 billion—opened offices in South Africa. In 2016, Herbert Smith Freehills and DLA Piper both entered the market, hiring big-name partners from local firms. And this year, Pinsent Masons, a global firm based in the U.K., plans to open its first African office in South Africa.
The legal market in South Africa, once made up of a small group of domestic firms isolated by apartheid, has been transformed into a legal hub, serving as a base for global firms seeking to counsel clients throughout Africa. But as these global firms continue to set up shop in Johannesburg, the well-established domestic firms are adapting so that they, too, can compete for the increasing international business and investment flowing across the continent.
The first wave
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