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 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.


Harold Blore establishes a law firm in Johannesburg.


Blore and Cliffe is established in Johannesburg.


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


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.


Billy van der Merwe establishes a legal practice in Johannesburg.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Cape-based Silberbauers is merged into the practice.


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


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


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.


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

2008 - 2021


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.


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


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.


CDH incorporates Kieti Law LLP, Kenya