Prominent black owned law firm, Jeftha Twala Inc merged with Cliffe Dekker in July 2006. Led by Alan Jeftha and Zithulele (Zithu) Twala, Jeftha Twala's team of two directors, an associate, three candidate attorneys and their administrative support staff has joined the Cape Town practice in a move that further strengthens Cliffe Dekker's position as one of South Africa's most empowered large law firms.
Black directors now hold 24.1% of the firm's equity, with 12.1% being owned by black women. With seven black women in this position, Cliffe Dekker now has the highest number of black women directors in any South African law firm.
In Cape Town, black directors now own 36% equity. This follows from Cliffe Dekker's Cape Town practice being joined by black law firms Y Ebrahim & Co in 2003, Rekha Jaga and Associates earlier this year and several individual black lawyers in the past three years.
Cliffe Dekker chairman Chris Ewing says that he is delighted that the Jeftha Twala team has joined the firm. "They bring added skills, particularly in intellectual property, and experience in government and parastatal work, which broadens our existing services and creates an attractive foundation for growth."
Ewing says that the firm has made great strides towards achieving the strategic transformation aspirations set some years ago. "These recent appointments and continuing promotions within the firm underline a series of progressive growth measures. They complement a number of wide-ranging diversity awareness and training initiatives."
Alan Jeftha is renowned for championing the transformation of the legal profession. Over the past 20 years he has helped a number of black lawyers advance their careers. In the last two years Alan and his team built Jeftha Twala into a successful national law firm providing a broad range of commercial legal services.
He says Jeftha Twala has enjoyed a good working relationship with Cliffe Dekker over the last two year and sees the merger as providing benefits for clients and his team. "We are impressed by Cliffe Dekker's transformation policy and genuine steps to implement that policy."
He believes that Jeftha Twala's clients will benefit from access to Cliffe Dekker's full range of corporate and commercial legal services and exposure to international markets and skills resulting from Cliffe Dekker's affiliation to DLA Piper Group - the world's second largest legal services organisation.