Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr business law firm announces new Chairman

10 Mar 2014 3 min read Article

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr business law firm has announced that Attie Pretorius was to become Chairman of the firm from 1 April 2014. Pretorius is currently a director and the National Practice Head of the firm’s Real Estate Practice. Pretorius has been a director at the firm since 1984.

After a long and illustrious career spanning 40 years at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Chris Ewing, the current Chairman, will retire as a partner but will remain closely associated with the firm. He will be freed up to focus specifically on the firm’s relationship with DLA Piper and its key  role as one of the member firms of the DLA Piper Africa Group. He will also continue to serve as a mentor and adviser to younger lawyers in the firm.

Pretorius graduated from the University of the Free State with a B.Com LLB in 1978. Then served articles with a firm of attorneys in Bloemfontein and was admitted in 1980. In 1984 Attie made his best career move by joining Hofmeyr van der Merwe (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). Since being admitted he has followed his passion for Real Estate and is currently the National Practice Head of the Real Estate practice area in the firm which employs approximately 100 people in the Sandton and Cape Town offices respectively.

Pretorius is a highly respected and recognised real estate lawyer in both South Africa and globally.  Best Lawyers International 2013 South Africa listed Pretorius as the Johannesburg Lawyer of the Year for Real Estate. Who's Who Legal - International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers 2011 and 2012 nominated Pretorius as a leading lawyer in Real Estate. Practical Law CompanyPLC Which Lawyer? 2007 to 2011 endorsed Pretorius as  a leading individual in Corporate Real Estate and in the Expert Guides: Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers 2009 and 2011, Pretorius was nominated by in-house counsel and peers as one of the pre-eminent practitioners in the world in Real Estate.

Commenting on his appointment, Pretorius said, "I have to fill the very big shoes that Chris will be leaving behind and that is a daunting task.  I want to pay tribute to Chris who has served the firm as an inspiring leader over many years.  Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is a fantastic firm and it holds wonderful opportunities for all of its people.  My duty is merely to build on that – I see this as a team effort and will be working in close co-operation with the rest of a very capable management team."

Ewing said of his future role in the firm, "With Foreign Direct Investment into Africa expected to grow significantly to US$150 billion by 2015, the DLA Piper Africa Group was formed to meet the increasing demand for seamless legal services across Africa, combining national and regional knowledge with top global expertise.  The DLA Piper Africa Group firms have worked together on a number of the largest and most exacting transactions and projects in Africa in the last few years, forming excellent relationships along the way. My focus will be specifically on these important relationships and transactions in Africa, buoyed by the fact that we were recently awarded the highest rating of "gold for client satisfaction amongst African firms” in the Legal Week Client Satisfaction Survey.

"I look forward to having the time to spend on this new role and I wish Attie every success as the new Chairman of our firm .”

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