Chief Executive Officer, Director
Brent Williams has been the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Partner of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr since April 2011. He is currently in the third year of his second term of office in this capacity. Brent has been responsible for leading Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s strategic direction, rebranding, repositioning in the corporate legal services market and the firm’s day to day management since he took office. At the time of his appointment, he was the first black legal professional to be appointed the Managing Partner of a major national corporate law firm in the history of the legal profession in South Africa.
Under his direction, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has undergone significant innovation of its internal economics and business systems that has translated into material improvement of the firm’s financial performance; it has grown its service offerings and, in particular, has entrenched its dominance as the go to M&A and capital markets law firm in South Africa. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is renowned for being home to the most impressive cohort of black and women partner/directors who are recognised experts in their fields relative to its peer firms and Brent has had the privilege of working with and growing this talent pool as an important component of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s transformation initiatives. He is also, through his inclusive, consultative and non-hierarchal management style, credited with maintaining the firm’s well-earned reputation of having an exceptionally collegial environment and being a commercially pragmatic and client centric law firm.
Brent is a member of the firm's Executive Committee and while he remains a director in our Corporate and Commercial practice, he no longer practices actively. Prior to his appointment as Managing Partner, he practised and specialised in general corporate and commercial law with particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions, corporate action; and capital markets advice for listed clients in the mining, property loan stock and financial services sectors. He has significant experience with South African economic indigenisation (BBBEE) legislation and its application to corporate and commercial transactions, having contributed to the development of aspects of this legislation and advising on the effective structuring of such transactions. Brent is an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa with rights of appearance in the High Courts of South Africa.
Brent began his career in 1989 as a Candidate Attorney at Y Ebrahim & Co. He remained at Y Ebrahim & Co as an Associate, becoming a Director in 1995, where he conducted a generalist commercial practice. In 2003, Y Ebrahim & Co was absorbed into the practice of Cliffe Dekker (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) where Brent became a Partner/Director in its Corporate and Commercial practice area. He joined the firm's management committee a year later. Brent was a lecturer for the Professional Legal Training programme of the Law Society of South Africa until 2004. He has served on outside boards of NGO’s and civil society organizations and has been the independent non-executive chairman of JSE listed Sephaku Holdings Ltd since 2012.
Past selected Commercial, M & A, Capital Markets practice experience