Cape Town, South Africa ()
In a busy week for law firm combinations, Norton Rose Fulbright has acquired four-lawyer commercial law boutique Keller Snyman Schelhase in Cape Town, a move that comes six years after the global legal giant absorbed one of South Africa’s largest firms.
Norton Rose Fulbright welcomes KSS partners Andrea Keller, Anton Schelhase and Lauren Fine as directors for its South African partnership, according to a Thursday release by the global legal giant. KSS, formed in 2012, advises clients in the energy, infrastructure, real estate, retail, transportation and financial services sectors. The moves bring Norton Rose Fulbright’s Cape Town head count to 33 lawyers.
“Our strong market in the Cape, together with Norton Rose Fulbright’s established global position means that we can provide unrivalled legal services in the region,” said a statement by Schelhase. Norton Rose Fulbright’s South Africa managing director Donald Dinnie noted that the addition of KSS will bolster the firm’s energy and infrastructure capabilities.
Dinnie joined Norton Rose Fulbright in 2010 from Deneys Reitz, where he headed the disputes practice at the top South African firm, which was absorbed into the Swiss verein structure of what was then known as just Norton Rose. The London-based firm subsequently acquired Montreal-based Ogilvy Renault, Calgary-based Macleod Dixon and Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski. Norton Rose Fulbright’s appetite for expansion has continued.
On Jan. 1, the firm finalized its combination with Vancouver-based Bull, Housser & Tupper, just after it opened an outpost in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and announced plans to open another office in Monaco for its shipping practice some time in 2017.
Norton Rose Fulbright also struck an alliance with Kenya’s Walter Kontos in July, the firm’s latest outreach in Africa, where it already has relationships with Burundi’s Shonubi, Musoke, Gilbert & Partners, Uganda’s Shonubi, Musoke & Co Advocates and Zimbabwe’s Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans. The firm’s Africa arm already has offices in Cape Town, Casablanca, Dar es Salaam, Durban and Johannesburg. (The American Lawyer did report earlier this month on Norton Rose Fulbright’s closure of its Pittsburgh office, where two partners joined Blank Rome on Thursday.)
Norton Rose Fulbright isn’t the only firm getting a fast start to another law firm merger season.
The American Lawyer reported late Thursday on Squire Patton Boggs’ addition of Palo Alto, California-based IP boutique Fernando & Partners, while Boston-based Casner & Edwards merged with two-lawyer boutique Fort Point Legal. New Orleans-based Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann hit the 68-lawyer mark Thursday after acquiring Houston’s Cogan & Partners.
Jericho, New York-based SilvermanAcampora, which saw four partners leave last month for rival Long Island firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, announced Tuesday its tie-up with three-lawyer Alan B. Pearl & Associates in nearby Syosset. In Australia, Sparke Helmore Lawyers expanded to the country’s west coast by absorbing Perth-based boutique Jarman McKenna.