18 September 2003

Transformation in action at Cliffe Dekker Attorneys

One of the country’s leading law firms, Cliffe Dekker Inc, announced today that the directors and staff of attorneys Y Ebrahim & Co have joined the firm in Cape Town.

Cliffe Dekker is a major commercial legal services firm celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and this transaction is consistent with the objectives of Cliffe Dekker’s transformation policy.

Joe Ebrahim started Y Ebrahim & Co in Athlone, Cape Town in 1973 having completed his articles with Dullah Omar at AM Omar & Co. His firm rendered a variety of legal services as a generalist practice and despite being a small suburban practice, developed a reputation for its legal rigour, its tenacity in litigation and scrupulous integrity. Ebrahim was politically active in the liberation struggle as an administrator within the non-racial sports movement (including a term as President of SACOS) and was a founder member of NADEL (National Association of Democratic Lawyers).

Cliffe Dekker’s predecessor firms in Cape Town, Syfret Godlonton Fuller Moore and Silberbauers, were major city law firms, which were also instrumental in initiatives such as the establishment of the city’s Legal Resources Centre.

Shortly after Cliffe Dekker was born from the merger of Cape Town and Johannesburg firms in 1998, Y Ebrahim & Co moved to Cape Town to develop its profile as an emerging commercial legal practice after its founder was appointed as a judge of the High Court in 1997.

Jo Neser, Deputy Chairman of Cliffe Dekker comments says, “we are truly excited about this transaction, the quality of the people who will be joining us, and the promise that it holds for the future of Cliffe Dekker. This move is consistent with our objectives and is an important milestone in developing the company into a truly South African, premier commercial legal services firm.”

Brent Williams, who has been a director of Y Ebrahim & Co since 1995 and has recently completed further studies at the Harvard Law School in the USA, comments, “professional excellence and integrity have always been of the utmost importance to both firms. We also share the vision of deepening our constitutional democracy. The firm is extremely well positioned to meet the needs of clients locally, nationally as well as internationally,”

New directors, Craig McLeod joins the litigation team with a special focus on provincial and local government law and Brent Williams will be part of the commercial team. Both Williams and Mcleod remain actively involved in community work.

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