Our history.

Since 1853, CDH has evolved through a series of mergers, and with a reputation for legal excellence, become a highly regarded feature on South Africa’s legal and business landscape.

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1853 - 1926

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 - 1970

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 - 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 - 1979

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.

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 - 1998

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.

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 - 2006

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 - 2015

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

31 August, DLA Piper and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr agree to end formal alliance.

2015

1 September, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (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.