Eversheds has returned to South Africa to tie-up with Mahons Attorneys and strengthened its North African presence through closer ties with partner El Heni in Tunisia.
The move means that the firm will have offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Louis in Mauritius. The domestic firm will rebrand and take Eversheds’ name in the New Year.
The firm was previously in the market in 2008 when it formed an association with Routledge Modise. In 2009 the association was changed simply to Eversheds, which provoked South Africa’s Northern Province law society to order a name reversal. Eversheds took up the fight claiming that the law society was being anticompetitive and eventually won. Despite this it eventually split with Routledge Modise who have since tied-up with Hogan Lovells.
Eversheds chief executive Bryan Hughes said: “We have extremely strong and long standing relationships with many of the Mahons’ team, including senior partner Peter van Niekerk who was deputy chairman of our previous business [Routledge Modise] in South Africa. Having a strong platform in South Africa is vital to our growth plans in the region and this is a significant addition to our global offering.”
Such developments are further evidence of the rapid transformation in South Africa’s legal market, which is increasingly globalised.
In October 2013 Eversheds unveiled a robust pan-African strategy to create five hub offices in francophone and Sub-Saharan Africa and establish the Eversheds African Law Institute (EALI), an organisation sharing best regional practices.
In line with this regional strategy, the firm today also strengthened its North African presence by co-opting the firm El Heni in Tunisia, which used to be in cooperation with Eversheds.
El Heni co-founder Mohamed Raouf said: “Eversheds has shown real leadership and innovation in its approach to developing a presence across Africa – which we are very excited about being a part of. We believe this relationship will be of benefit to our diverse existing client base and will create further domestic and international opportunities in the future.”