The cream of the African legal community was out in force to celebrate the achievements of Africa’s lawyers at the African Legal Awards.

Hosted by Legal Week in association with the Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa (CLASA), the event was held at The Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on 16 October.

The evening, which was hosted by compere Michael Mol (pictured below), a doctor, television personality and campaigner for health education in sub-Saharan Africa, featured the presentation of the CLASA Achievement Award to The Honourable Judge Dikgang Moseneke, Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

It was an excellent night for Baker & McKenzie, which was named International Law Firm of the Year after also securing the hotly contested Banking, Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year category.

michael-molKenya-based Anjarwalla & Khanna was named African Law Firm of the Year in the large firm category after the judges praised it for being the ‘beating heart’ of the Africa Legal Network (ALN), an alliance of independent firms set up by Anjarwalla in 2004. Top Ghanaian firm AB & David was also celebrating after receiving two awards: African Law Firm of the Year (Small Practice); and the Diversity, Transformation and Economic Empowerment Award.

Meanwhile, Life Healthcare Group secured the Legal Department of the Year – Small Team award, with South African Reserve Bank winning the large team category.

Pieter Badenhorst, of agricultural services and processing giant AFGRI, was named General Counsel of the Year.

A strong showing for South African firms saw Bowman Gilfillan win the IP and Competition and Regulatory awards, while ENSafrica was named Employment Law Team of the Year.

The Innovation Award went to Barefoot Law, a not-for-profit group, for a project to use new media to provide legal advice to isolated communities in Uganda.

Alongside Bakers, the international firms to receive awards were DLA Piper, which secured the TMT award, Hogan Lovells (Property, and Transportation and Infrastructure), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (M&A) and Chadbourne & Parke (Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources).

The night saw a total of 23 awards handed out. The judging panel, which was chaired by CLASA chief executive Alison Lee, included Shibishi Maruatona, general counsel of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, and Vinodh Jaichand, head of the school of law at the University of the Witwatersrand.

African Legal Awards winners in full

Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa (CLASA) Achievement Award, sponsored by ENSafrica – The Honourable Judge Dikgang Moseneke
International Law Firm of the Year – Baker & McKenzie
African Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice, sponsored by AfricaLegalJobs.com – Anjarwalla & Khanna
African Law Firm of the Year – Small Practice – AB & David
General Counsel of the Year, sponsored by Eversheds – Pieter Badenhorst – AFGRI
Legal Department of the Year – Large Team, sponsored by Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group – South African Reserve Bank
Legal Department of the Year – Small Team – Life Healthcare Group
Legal Counsel of the Year – Jonathan Maphosa – South African Reserve Bank
Assistant/Associate Solicitor of the Year – Ghassan Sader, Hogan Lovells
Innovation Award – Barefoot Law
CSR Award, sponsored by AfricaLegalJobs.com -AFGRI; Baker & McKenzie
Diversity, Transformation and Economic Empowerment Award – AB & David
M&A Team of the Year – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Banking, Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year – Baker & McKenzie
Competition and Regulatory Team of the Year – Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year – Webber Wentzel
Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Team of the Year – Chadbourne & Parke
TMT Team of the Year – DLA Piper
Employment Law Team of the Year – ENSafrica
IP Team of the Year – Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group
Transportation and Infrastructure Team of the Year – Hogan Lovells
Property and Construction Team of the Year – Hogan Lovells