20 March 2006 by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Three times a winner – Cliffe Dekker voted South Africa’s No. 1 Large Law Firm for third successive year

National corporate legal services firm Cliffe Dekker has scored a hat trick and made history. Not only is Cliffe Dekker the first ever law firm to have been ranked No. 1 over three consecutive years, in 2004, 2005 (joint winner) and again in 2006 in the annual Professional Management Review (PMR) survey of top legal firms, but it has also won the premier award, the Diamond Arrow Award, and been rated as ‘outstanding’ by corporate South Africa for three years in a row.

PMR presented the legal firms’ awards at a breakfast function in Johannesburg today (17 March). It is unprecedented, in PMR’s history of assessing the top legal firms in SA, for any law firm to have achieved these results over three consecutive years.

For its 2006 survey, PMR.Research interviewed more than 300 respondents randomly selected from the top 800 corporate clients of SA legal firms and sourced 576 ratings across a range of 18 attributes. For the third successive year, Cliffe Dekker achieved the highest mean score in the Large Legal Firm category.

“These results point to consistency and progression for the firm,” says Cliffe Dekker chairman, Chris Ewing. “They show that clients continue to be receptive to what we can do for them. We are proud that corporates have rated s so highly and delighted to have achieved the leading law firm ranking for the third year in a row.”

According to Ewing, the PMR Award underlines the firm’s commitment to client relationships. “Much of the firm’s focus over the last few years has been directed at advancing strategic goals. At the heart of these priorities is a commitment to strengthen relationships with clients and ensure excellent service delivery”, he adds.

In 2005, Cliffe Dekker delivered the best year in the firm’s 153-year history. If that performance is a yardstick, then the focus on service delivers appears to be working. The firm was runner-up in the UK Chambers Global Law Firm of the Year, Africa awards category (being beaten to the top accolade by a US-based firm). And the 2006 Chambers Global Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers has ranked Cliffe Dekker at the top of the Mergers and Acquisitions premier league table.

In November 2005, Cliffe Dekker became the exclusive member in South Africa of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary (DLA Piper), the world’s second largest legal services organisation. The partnership gives Cliffe Dekker’s clients immediate access to DLA Piper’s global network of over 3,100 lawyers in 58 offices in 22 countries operating across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US, as well as firms in Africa.

Earlier this month (6 March 2006), DLA Piper Group announced that it had consolidated its reach across the African continent by signing an agreement with Zambian firm Chibesakunda & Co, making it the Group’s third alliance agreement with an African-based law firm following on fro, its tie up with Cliffe Dekker in South Africa and DLA Matouk Bassiouny in Egypt.

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