At Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr we believe in partnerships. As one of the largest business law firms in South Africa, the partnerships we cherish and value the most are those we have forged through time and experience with our clients, our people and our communities.

We are committed to providing a high degree of client care and relationship management. Getting to know our clients is our priority. In this way, we are able to support their strategic and operational needs by offering high quality legal advice across our full range of legal services, tailored to their requirements. We have the depth of skills to respond to a client's business operations locally or anywhere else in the world.

Through an established network Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr brings together the resources and expertise of leading law firms across Africa. This combined experience and geographical spread produces an extensive Africa capability.

We value training, learning and skills development as important elements of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's corporate culture.  This applies not only to our lawyers and candidate attorneys, but also to our clients.

We are a truly South African law firm where transformation is about living our values and principles.

Our brochure



At a glance

Global Service Offering

We support our clients’ strategic and operational needs by offering innovative, integrated and high quality legal advice across our full range of legal services, tailored to their requirements. We have the depth of skills to respond to our client’s business operations locally or anywhere else in the world.

We are able to project manage
complex cross border,
multijurisdictional activity and our
clients work through a single point
of contact with a trusted Cliffe
Dekker Hofmeyr advisor who
understands their business and


Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acknowledges that South Africa's apartheid and gender discrimination legacy has adversely impacted on the legal profession and has inhibited access to both the profession and legal services.

We face the challenge of transformation and empowerment head on. We are a truly South African law firm where transformation is about living our values and principles.

We aspire to be a firm:

  • whose partners, professional and support employees are representative of the racial, gender, cultural and religious diversity of the people of South Africa;
  • where men and women at all levels within the firm enjoy equal opportunities and treatment in relation to access to work, recruitment, promotion and remuneration; and
  • that creates a working environment that is sensitive to the particular challenges faced by previously marginalised groups such as women and black people.

Our values


We connect our people, our clients and our communities through our values and are committed to responsible stewardship.


We value diversity and respect for the individual. We believe in teamwork for the good of the firm and our clients. We are an employer of choice who believes in the development of our people that helps them achieve professional and personal fulfilment.


We believe client satisfaction is at the heart of our business and we strive to achieve excellence in everything we do for them. We are committed to long-term relationships with our clients that are based on openness, honesty and integrity.


We believe in living our core values and investing in our communities. We strive to make a meaningful difference within the communities where we live and do business.

Market recognition

Knowledge Management

We emphasise managing, applying and sharing our considerable knowledge assets, for the benefit of our clients and our lawyers, through continuous training and skills transfer. Our Knowledge Management initiatives include:


  • Value added services
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Training sessions
  • Updates

Our history

  • 1853

    1853 - 1881.
    The firm's roots are established in Cape Town as W E Moore & Son, which later becomes Syfret Godlonton-Fuller Moore.

  • 1895

    Harold Blore establishes a law firm in Johannesburg.

  • 1902

    Blore and Cliffe is established in Johannesburg.

  • 1926

    Carl Todd becomes a partner; the firm is now known as Cliffe Dekker & Todd and remains one of the few law firms that can trace its beginnings to before the Boer War.

  • 1926

    Herbsteins, a commercial law firm, is established in Cape Town and also has a presence in London. Phillip Herbstein served as President of the Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope.

  • 1949

    Billy van der Merwe establishes a legal practice in Johannesburg.

  • 1964

    Hofmeyr van der Merwe & Botha is established through a merger.

  • 1970

    1970 - 1974. Mergers are formed with, and acquisitions made of some of South Africa's leading Johannesburg-based legal practices Heimann Maasdorp & Barker; and McEwan Fearnhead Pinkerton & Paver, eventually becoming absorbed into Cliffe Dekker & Todd.

  • 1972

    Yusuf (Joe) Ebrahim commences practice for his own account in Athlone, a suburb on the Cape Flats, as Y Ebrahim & Co. Joe was appointed a judge of the Eastern Cape bench in 1997 and the practice was continued by his partner, Brent Williams, who subsequently relocated the practice to Cape Town CBD in 1998. In 2003, the partners and staff of Y Ebrahim & Co merge with Cliffe Dekker.

  • 1978

    Dines Gihwala joins Wilkinson, Van der Ross & Joshua and the firm was renamed Wilkinson Joshua & Gihwala.

  • 1979

    Syfret Godlonton-Fuller Moore comes into being through the merger of two of Cape Town's oldest practices: Fuller Moore & Son and Fuller De Klerk & Osler, founded in 1885, and Syfret Godlonton & Low, founded in 1887.

  • 1988

    Wilkinson Joshua & Gihwala merge with Abercrombie & Sonn, a firm originally established by the late Dullah Omar, the first Minister of Justice in the new South Africa.

  • 1994

    South Africa holds its first democratic elections. Dines Gihwala serves as Director: Monitoring for the Northern Cape and is later awarded the Gold Merit Award for dedication and excellence.

  • 1997

    On 1 September 1997, Hofmeyr van der Merwe in Johannesburg, Herbsteins in Cape Town and Gihwala Abercrombie in Athlone merge to become Hofmeyr Herbstein & Gihwala, becoming one of SA's largest full service, black-empowered national law firms.

  • 1998

    Johannesburg-based firm, Cliffe Dekker & Todd merge with Cape Town-based, Syfret Godlonton-Fuller Moore. The firm becomes known as Cliffe Dekker Fuller Moore.

  • 1999

    Cape-based Silberbauers is merged into the practice.

  • 2002

    The firm, Cliffe Dekker Fuller Moore changes its name to Cliffe Dekker, operating out of Johannesburg and Cape Town.

  • 2003

    The partners of Y Ebrahim & Co merge with Cliffe Dekker.

  • 2005

    1 September 2005, Cliffe Dekker becomes the exclusive member in South Africa of the DLA Piper Group and part of global law firm, DLA Piper.

  • 2006

    Jeftha Twala, one of the largest black law firms in Cape Town, merges with Cliffe Dekker.

  • 2008

    1 September 2008, Cliffe Dekker and Hofmeyr Herbstein & Gihwala merge to become Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, a national firm with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and a member of the global DLA Piper Group.

  • 2015

    1 September - The relationship between Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) and global law firm, DLA Piper is terminated by mutual agreement.

    CDH launches refreshed branding to reflect our unique identity, as well as our innovative and integrated service offering. The firm’s new brand focuses on its position as a known and trusted top tier South African legal advisor with strong networks across Africa.


Firm leadership

Attie Pretorius
Chairman, National Practice Head and Director
Brent Williams
Chief Executive Officer, Director
Gasant Orrie
Director, Cape Managing Partner

View all