Hogan Lovells has added capacity to its new South African operation with the hire of a finance partner and two associates. The firm has also announced that it would be transferring a sizeable proportion of its traditionally London based support network to Johannesburg.
Anina Boshoff joins the firm from ENSafrica and will lead the new operations banking and finance team in Johannesburg. Also moving across are associates Candice Morgan and Sanrie van Tonder.
Boshoff focuses on advising lenders and borrowers on finance and restructuring transactions across Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular specialism in mining and energy. She is dual qualified in both South Africa and England & Wales and before joining ENSafrica had spent three years at Allen & Overy in Singapore.
Hogan Lovells entered the South African market in late 2013 following a merger with domestic firm Routledge Modise. The operation currently has 120 lawyers and 40 partners (directors).
Speaking about the reasons for the move Boshoff said: "I have been watching the market and the foreign entrants into it and for me Hogan Lovells has so far got the closest to a workable model. It is a truly South African firm but also has a close alliance with an English firm. I wouldn’t have made the move if it weren’t the fact there was a English law firm with an English infrastructure and everything that Hogan Lovell brings with it in terms of experience and processes."
The announcement of the transfer of support operations was coupled with a statement from the firm in which it said that existing positions would not be transferred from London, but future new positions may be based in South Africa.
EMEA regional managing partner Susan Bright said of the decision: “We have concluded that a significant number of the business services we receive need to remain close to our lawyers. However, it is also clear that we have a number of roles that can be easily performed from a remote location but that in order to provide high-quality support we need to continue to provide it from locations in time zones on both sides of the Atlantic.
”We chose Johannesburg as it has an excellent supply of talented people, is well placed in terms of time zones and offers good opportunities for cost savings when compared to London and a number of our other existing office locations.”
When asked about the transfer of services Boshoff explained that in her eyes it showed a commitment by the firm to its African operations: "It is very, very important because there is no benefit to being in a large English firm if you don’t have access to all the services it offers. It means we won’t be a second-rate citizen dealing with old technology but will have the same technology London would have as part of any of their offices.
"The financial commitment to moving here shows they are willing to invest in Africa and have confidence in Africa. It’s one thing to do pitches and extract from the continent but it’s another thing entirely to invest in here. To me that shows their commitment."