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DLA raids former partner firm in SA

The international law firm has established a presence in Johannesburg with nine-strong hiring spree.

Law firm DLA Piper has raided two local firms to add nine lawyers to its nascent Johannesburg office.

The hires, which include transactions, banking and finance specialists, are part of a concerted effort by the firm to establish itself on the continent; it opened its first African office in October 2015 in Casablanca, Morocco.

In its efforts to build a practice in South Africa, the firm has hired teams from two local firms: Weber Wentzel and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

From Weber, DLA has hired a corporate team led by partner Peter Bradshaw, who advised South African firm Brait on its acquisition and subsequent sale of retail giant Steinhoff International Holdings. Bradshaw brings with him two directors and two associates. DLA has also poached Weber’s competition law specialist Janine Simpson as director.

From Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the firm has poached Jackie Pennington, who joins as partner in the firm’s finance and projects team. Pennington’s practice focuses on financial services, private equity and debt capital markets and she brings with her two senior associates.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr had for 10 years been DLA’s formal partner in South Africa, an agreement which was brought to an end at the end of August last year, just before DLA announced its intention to grow its African footprint.

DLA’s efforts in South Africa are being led by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s former COO, Michael Whitaker, who switched firms last year.

DLA, which is dual-headquartered in the US and UK, has lawyers in more than 30 countries, according to its website. Earlier this year the firm hired Andrew Wylie in London to lead its investment funds practice.