Business law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has announced that Gasant Orrie, a director in the firm's Corporate and Commercial practice group, has been appointed as managing partner in the Cape region.
This appointment heralds a further streamlining of the firm's executive leadership roles announced in April 2011 following the appointments of Chris Ewing as chairman and Brent Williams as CEO of the national firm, which has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. According to Williams, Orrie's appointment marks another milestone in Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's growth strategy and underscores further progress towards achieving the firm's transformation aspirations.
Williams was the first black chief executive officer to be appointed in the top large law firms in South Africa. Orrie is the first black managing partner appointed in one of the largest Cape law firms. Both lawyers have well established reputations as leading corporate and commercial lawyers in South Africa through rankings in international professional publications such as the Legal 500 and Best Lawyers International. Both Williams and Orrie have played integral roles in the firm's strategic growth.
The Cape managing partner role was previously jointly shared between Orrie and Jo Neser following the merger of Cliffe Dekker and Hofmeyr Herbstein and Gihwala in September 2008 to form Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Neser, who is also a director of the firm and recognised as a leading corporate lawyer, remain an active member of the firm's national executive committee.
"I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to manage the Cape offices and guide the region's strategic growth," said Orrie. "Jo has supported me enormously over the past few years and he has made a significant contribution to consolidating Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's excellent reputation in the Western Cape. The firm's corporate practice recently notched up the highest number of M&A transactions for the second year running in the annual DealMakers M&A award rankings, he adds.
Orrie says the firm's Cape Town roots go back more than 150 years and it is today one of the largest commercial law firms in the region with more than 60 qualified lawyers at its offices in the CBD and Claremont.
"Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is also one of the largest, national business law firms in South Africa. We are, in addition, part of the global law firm DLA Piper, which is now the world's biggest law firm. It has over 4,200 lawyers across 76 offices and in 30 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the United States as well as additional DLA Piper Group firms across Africa. DLA Piper has just been ranked number one among the world's leading global law firms," Orrie added.
Williams said that reorganisation within the firm is in line with DLA Piper's global 'best practice' model and signifies "further steps in aligning our firm with the DLA Piper structure as we simultaneously adapt to our clients business needs to deliver a global service."
"Our firm is also unique in South Africa from a management perspective in that it has for a long time been managed by a diverse team, from the perspective of race, gender and seniority. We are a firm that celebrates its diversity and are proud of our progress towards our transformation aspirations. Our Level Two Contributor BEE rating clearly demonstrates this. We also have more women partners and more black partners than any other law firm in the country," said Williams.