South Africa: New Legal Alliance for Africa
Last Updated: 8 December 2004

8 December 2004 -Any investor doing cross-border business in Africa knows that finding legal services that are of a global standard and charged at locally competitive rates is often difficult.

Recognising this, Deneys Reitz, one of South Africa’s largest and most respected commercial law firms, has established Africa Legal, an Africa-specialised division providing an international pan-African legal service by English solicitors and other practitioners with African deal experience.

Joe Whitfield, a director of Africa Legal, says: "The African continent offers investors a wealth of opportunity. Like all emerging markets, however, Africa can be a complex business environment, subject to a plethora of laws, regulations and business practices. This makes it difficult for international investors to find quality legal services.

"Nevertheless, we believe that Africa-based law firms are best placed to help investors achieve their business goals in Africa. We have therefore established Africa Legal’s centre of operations in Johannesburg, to ensure proximity to the African markets. To help service our international client base we also have a smaller London presence."

Africa Legal has assembled an experienced team that can provide advice in all key commercial practice areas under English Law (increasingly the law of choice for international contracts and the basis of the legal systems of much of sub-Saharan Africa) and Roman-Dutch Law (the basis of the legal systems of a number of SADC countries, including South Africa). It also has French law capability.

"We have also established an alliance with leading law firms throughout the region in key African jurisdictions to ensure our clients have access to the highest quality local legal advice," explains Whitfield.

A further advantage of Africa Legal’s local cost base is that its charge rates are very competitive – up to half those of US/ European firms.

"We understand both the challenges of doing cross-border business in Africa and the standards international investors want to achieve. Our aim is to ensure that our clients receive the appropriate legal advice and protection in relation to the countries in which they operate," he concludes.

Africa Legal’s clients include major international and South African corporates, financial institutions and private equity funds.

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About Africa Legal

Africa Legal, an Africa focused legal advisory service, was formed by Deneys Reitz and English solicitors to offer a comprehensive English legal advisory service to investors (both overseas and South African) in Africa that is (i) of an international standard in terms of quality, capacity and responsiveness; (ii) provided by lawyers with both international and local market experience and who are familiar with international standards of governance/best ethical practice, as well as local conditions and business practices across the region.

The service slots seamlessly into Deneys Reitz's "traditional" South African law service and together we offer a resource of some 180 legal professionals, including English ex-City lawyers and other experienced South African attorneys with genuine African expertise.

About Deneys Reitz

Established in the early 1920s, Deneys Reitz is one of the largest law firms in South Africa with offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The firm’s corporate client base includes the major financial institutions, mining houses, insurance companies, industrial conglomerates as well as professional firms and overseas companies. The firm’s 180 lawyers provide corporate clients with expert professional advice and assistance in all areas of law affecting these corporations.

Issued by: Jacqui Hampton, Deneys Reitz
Tel: 27 11 685 8721

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