Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa

Allen & Overy (A&O) has hired a team of litigators from Baker McKenzie in South Africa, adding a disputes element to its previously finance-focused Johannesburg base.

The team is led by Gerhard Rudolph, who was co-managing partner of Baker McKenzie’s Johannesburg office, as well as head of litigation. He will be joined at A&O by three associates.

The hires mark the magic circle firm’s first foray into litigation work in South Africa, following its launch in 2014.

The firm hired a four-partner finance team from the South African firm Bowmans to open the office in 2014. The team was supported by former finance head Michael Duncan and finance partner Kathleen Wong. Both relocated from London.

Rudolph spent five years at Baker McKenzie after joining in 2012, when the international firm acquired litigation boutique Rudolph Bernstein & Associates, where he was a name partner.

He has been replaced as head of the firm’s Johannesburg office by his former co-head and current corporate head Morne van der Merwe, with litigation partner Daryl Bernstein taking over as disputes head.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank Gerhard and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Van der Merwe said.

A&O has also recently posted two Portuguese speaking associates to its Johannesburg office to enhance its Lusophone Africa capabilities. Projects senior associates Filipa Serra and Goncalo Noronha Andrade moved to Johannesburg from A&O’s Dubai office.