Baker & McKenzie Adds Leading Disputes Team in South Africa

04 Dec, 2012

Baker & McKenzie’s fast-growing Johannesburg office has been joined by all 23 lawyers and staff from leading disputes-focused firm Rudolph, Bernstein & Associates (RB&A).

Gerhard Rudolph, Darryl Bernstein and Kate Daniels join Baker & McKenzie as partners, bringing their entire team of lawyers and staff. They join Baker & McKenzie with immediate effect. The three partners join with a team of six associates and trainees, with a further seven joining in January 2013, plus seven support staff.

The team acts for a variety of clients on contentious matters in the energy, mining, construction, infrastructure and banking sectors. They have extensive experience of international and domestic arbitration and litigation, and also offer high-level expertise in business rescue and insolvency matters.

Both Gerhard Rudolph and Darryl Bernstein are named as leading individuals for dispute resolution byChambers Global. RB&A was established in 2008 and is regarded as one of South Africa’s leading firms for high-end specialist disputes work.

“Gerhard and his team are leading players in the market and we welcome them to Baker & McKenzie”, said Wildu du Plessis, co-managing partner of the Johannesburg office. “We have ambitious strategic growth plans in South Africa and are excited to be delivering so soon on one of our key targets, which was to add disputes capabilities to complement our established client offering in M&A, Banking & Finance, Projects and Capital Markets.”

Gerhard Rudolph added: “Joining Baker & McKenzie allows us to offer our clients greater scope of services while keeping continuity of the team they deal with. It also provides our team with new possibilities for international work. It’s an exciting time to become part of the growing internationalisation of the South African legal market, where Baker & McKenzie is already a leading player.”

The expanded team will be moving to new, larger offices in early 2013 to accommodate the growing team and in expectation of further hires over coming months.

The new partners

  • Gerhard Rudolph is one of South Africa’s leading dispute resolution lawyers. He founded RB&A in 2008, focusing on dispute resolution work. Prior to that he worked at a leading local corporate firm and previously also worked in-house at Gold Fields, one of the largest gold mining companies in South Africa.
  • Darryl Bernstein founded RB&A with Gerhard and previously worked at a leading local corporate firm. He focuses on dispute resolution work primarily in the corporate/commercial area.
  • Kate Daniels joined RB&A in 2012 after 10 years as a partner at an international firm. She focuses on dispute resolution work, including pensions litigation.

Baker & McKenzie opened in South Africa in May 2012. Recent deals the office has worked on include acting for sponsors and lenders on 13 renewables projects that form part of the South African government’s ambitious plans to add power capacity and reduce reliance on coal for its energy needs. The office has also closed a number of corporate transactions in the mining sector.

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