22 March 2011 by , , , , , , and

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr rankings in Chambers Global 2011

The Chambers Global Guide 2011 rankings were published on March 21. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is ranked in six practice areas again this year, and 18 individual rankings were achieved (up from 15 in 2010).

Our top ranked practice area is IT & Telecommunications, retaining its Band 1 ranking for a second year.

Preeta Bhaghattjee, National Head of the TMT practice, has also achieved a Band 1 ranking. Chambers comments, Preeta's "professionalism and deep understanding of the sector are amazing," according to peers.

Kathleen Rice's domain is the telecoms and broadcasting sector. She is praised for being "quick, professional and always accessible."

This established firm has a booming practice, advising clients on their contentious and non-contentious technology law, dealing with legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to telecoms, and handling all licensing work in this area. The firm is well known for its representation of major financial institutions and technology service providers in South Africa, as well as other large corporate users of ICT. Clients include Eskom and Transnet, with the firm providing services covering corporate and technology issues.

Ranked in Band 2 this year, are: Banking and Finance, up from Band 3 in 2010, and holding their Band 2 status from 2010: Competition/Antitrust; Corporate/M&A; Dispute Resolution; and Tax.

Chambers had this to say about these practice areas:

Banking and Finance

This quality firm's banking and finance practice has grown steadily in strength, with peers rating the team's "highly skilful lawyers and very impressive service." Work has included several deals for Anooraq Resources, including acquisition financings and capital markets transactions, and representing IFC on an ZAR82 million loan.

Ludwig Smith is a recent addition to the firm and something of a star hire. He represents many South African banks and insurers.

The immensely experienced Craig Whitley is praised for his "impressive commerciality."

Joz Coetzer heads up the finance, projects and banking department and is well received for his "expert handling of client relationships."

Competition/Antitrust

This eight-partner team has had a highly active year, representing clients in many of the industries under Competition Commission investigation. These included South African Airways and SA Airlink, both of which were advised in relation to a recent dawn raid. Other mandates have come from clients including Pioneer Foods, Shoprite Checkers and Coca-Cola. The "impressive, professional and knowledgeable" team earns client plaudits for its "highly nuanced" approach, which has seen the lawyers responding to an increased interest in leniency applications and compliance training. The head of the practice, Mondo Ntlha represented Willowton in food sector investigations, and is praised for her "quick grasp of pertinent issues" and "well-rounded holistic advice." Nick Altini is an assertive negotiator who specialises in litigation, recently acting for SA Airlink and Pioneer Foods. Merger-related activity has formed the core of Natalie von Ey's recent work, including mandates from Harmony Gold Mining and Independent News & Media. Chris Charter has established an excellent reputation amongst clients, impressing them with his "highly intelligent and practical advice."

Corporate/M&A

This large corporate team of over 70 lawyers deals with M&A, BEE and restructuring issues, and is especially active in the mining and resources area. It benefits from its excellent access to African networks thanks to its association with DLA Piper. Work highlights include advising Mvelaphanda Resources on its acquisition of shares in Gold Fields, and acting for Casinos Austria on the disposal of its stake in Gold Reef Resorts.

Head of the corporate and commercial department is Ian Hayes, and he is celebrated for his commercially savvy guidance on mining, private equity and healthcare.

David Thompson is a key lawyer in the Cape Town office, and one of the team's regional practice heads.

Johan Latsky is commended for his ability to "cut through to the real issues," while David Pinnock is rated for his "user-friendly style and sound commercial advice."

Highly regarded for his negotiation skills, Willem Jacobs is regarded as a "commercially astute and very pragmatic practitioner who gets things done."

Dispute Resolution

The broad range of expertise within this team has garnered mandates from a variety of industries and sectors, including retail, media, construction and telecoms. The group advised Nedbank on a number of matters, including an action brought against the bank worth ZAR1.5 billion, and successfully defended Vodacom against an attempt to frustrate its Johannesburg stock exchange listing, valued at over USD26 million. The Spar Group, Sasol and Sun International number among other recent clients.

Pieter Conradie is commended for ensuring that proceedings are as cost-effective for the client as possible, and also for being "thoroughly knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with."

Sam Oosthuizen has a "passion for litigation - he immediately sees where the problems are, and stays confident throughout."

Tax

This firm is a key player in the tax law arena, and clients appreciate the strength of its advice. It handles both local and international taxation matters, including corporate, personal and indirect tax. Its notable client roster includes Shell, Virgin Active and Pan African Capital.

Highly respected tax law expert Emil Brincker (Band 1) is praised by clients for his "thorough approach and ability to give an instant answer."

Ludwig Smith (Band 1) is a recent addition to the firm and provides tax advice in conjunction with his banking practice.

Intellectual Property

Eben van Wyk of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised Amstel Brouwerij, Heineken and Brandhouse Beverages on comparative advertising matters, as well as successfully representing Reckitt Benckiser in complaint hearings.

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