Global giant Allen & Overy announced last week the launch of its first South African office in Johannesburg, which is to make the firm one of the first to establish such a presence.
But one of its Australian representatives says the move will also be hugely beneficial Down Under as well.
Geoff Simpson, A&O’s managing partner in Perth and the global co-head of its mining practice, says the establishment of the office spells great news for the firm’s Australian clients across a number of industries.
“Africa is one of the world’s leading destinations for resources companies with more than 750 Australian companies involved in either exploration, extraction or processing activities across the mining and energy sectors,” he says.
“Having strong on the ground capability in Sub-Saharan Africa will enhance the long and successful track record Allen & Overy has when it comes to providing legal and commercial advice to clients operating in what is a complex and diverse region.”
The Johannesburg office is set to comprise a team of leading South African lawyers, led by partner Lionel Shawe and Michael Duncan, one of the City of London’s leading banking lawyers and former head of A&O’s banking practice, who will be relocating to Johannesburg.
The office will open on 20 October and it is anticipated it will grow to about 40 lawyers in 2015.
Already, over 100 partners and associates across the A&O network, including Australia, the UK, France, UAE, U.S., China, Japan, Spain, Netherlands and Germany are actively engaged in advising clients on Africa-related work on a regular basis.
The South African launch will take its global network to 45 offices in 31 countries around the world – the largest global footprint among the leading global law firms.