Allen & Overy has taken an 11-lawyer team, including four partners, from Baker McKenzie’s Johannesburg office—after recruiting the firm’s office co-head last year.
Baker McKenzie litigation partners Kate Daniels, Michelle Porter-Wright, Widaad Ebrahim and Callum O’Connor are following former colleague Gerhard Rudolph to the Magic Circle firm, along with a team of seven other lawyers. The four former Baker McKenzie partners are joining Allen & Overy as consultants.
Allen & Overy hired Rudolph, who was Baker McKenzie’s local litigation head, in November of last year—a move that added a disputes element to its previously finance-focused Johannesburg base.
The new hires demonstrate Allen & Overy’s commitment to having litigation capability in South Africa. Allen & Overy launched an office there in 2014 with a four-partner finance team from the South African firm Bowmans, and bolstered that team with former finance head Michael Duncan and finance partner Kathleen Wong, both of whom relocated from London.
“These appointments increase our capacity to provide globally-integrated litigation, international arbitration and contentious regulatory support to our clients,” said Allen & Overy global litigation head Tim House. “This demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our already leading Africa practice and our view that Africa is a key growth area for our clients and our firm.”
Last year, the firm also enhanced its Lusophone Africa capabilities with the posting of two Portuguese-speaking associates to its Johannesburg office. Projects senior associates Filipa Serra and Goncalo Noronha Andrade moved to Johannesburg from Allen & Overy’s Dubai base.